Warming Up

Warming Up

Friday, July 1, 2011

Holiday With Hendrix

So the Fourth of July is almost here and as is tradition in my house (my wife and kids have to bear with me), I will be blasting several versions of Jimi Hendrix playing the Star Spangled Banner to celebrate the 4th. Most people have heard the Woodstock version, and yes, it is awesome. I will spin this one for sure. Here’s a video that someone made with the concert audio (I guess the Hendrix Estate won’t allow the film footage on YouTube):

 Some people thought that Hendrix’s rendition of the Woodstock anthem was unpatriotic and offensive. Naturally, Jimi disagreed. He was a paratrooper in the Army, remember. A Screaming Eagle. He was actually a pretty big patriot. He thought his playing of the Star Spangled Banner was a fitting tribute to his country (as do I). Check out Jimi on the Dick Cavett Show stating his case post-Woodstock:
Mad beauty indeed!!

But for my money, a more interesting, but lesser-known version is the one Jimi played at the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970 – a year after Woodstock. The Atlanta version has a darkness and level of anguish to it that the Woodstock one doesn’t have. It’s moodier and more urgent. Jimi’s life was spiraling out of control at this point and he had less than three months to live. Check it out:

The whole entire show from the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival is amazing and if you ever see a bootleg of it or if you come across the four CD (now out-of-print) set “Stages,” buy it! The fourth CD is the whole Atlanta concert. Worth every penny and then some.

And now here’s a treat that you may not have heard, unless of course you have the Rainbow Bridge Soundtrack album (I’ve got it on vinyl and CD) – the studio version of the anthem (mind the occasional cheesy graphics):  

There will be, and there can only ever be, one Jimi Hendrix. I am grateful everyday that I have his music as a big part of my life. Best wishes for a fun and safe and music-filled Fourth of July holiday!!

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