Castles Made of Sand (2:47)

Cover of Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix

From Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix and 4 other releases

A common interpretation of the lyrics is the message that nothing lasts forever (thus “Castles made of sand fall in the sea eventually”), not only the good things like love, dreams or life, but also the bads, like diseases, death and fears, as shown in the last part of the song.

Leon Hendrix, the younger brother of Jimi, has said that Jimi revealed privately to him that the song was about their family[1]. The first verse is their mother leaving their father Al again for the final time. The second verse is referencing his Native American heritage and the stories his grandmother (a quarter Cherokee)[2] would tell him. The boy who played “war games in the woods with his Indian friends” is said to be Leon (as stated by himself) but could also be about Jimi. The third verse recounts Jimi’s mother Lucille in the hospital suffering from liver disease, wishing to die so she would suffer no more, “to her legs she smiled you won’t hurt me no more.” Lucille did have cirrhosis of the liver, but was recovering outside of Hospital, when she was admitted unconscious to hospital, where she died from a ruptured spleen caused by a blow from an unknown source, not a liver complaint as is often repeated, although this was listed as a contributing factor on her death certificate. The song “Little Wing” is also about his mother Lucille as stated by Leon, although in interviews he gave an alternate interpretation, most likely so he would not have to recount painful memories for strangers. Jimi himself said the song was about the Monterey Pop Festival personified as a girl.

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