Purple Haze (4:18)

Cover of Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix

From Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix and 46 other releases

Recorded in 1966, Purple Haze was the second single by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, released in both the UK and the US. It also appeared on the US release of their 1967 album Are You Experienced. ‘Purple Haze’ is often cited as one of Jimi Hendrix’s greatest songs; for many, it is his signature song. Purple Haze became the follow-up release to “Hey Joe” after his manager Chas Chandler heard him playing the riff backstage and suggested that he write lyrics to go with it.

Hendrix claimed this was inspired by a dream where he was walking under the sea. In the dream, he said a purple haze surrounded him, engulfed him and got him lost. It was a traumatic experience, but in his dream his faith in Jesus saved him.

Hendrix claimed this had nothing to do with drugs; instead it could refer to some themes in Sci-Fi comics he was fond of about purple rays. However the lyrics seem to vividly portray an acid trip, and Hendrix was doing plenty of drugs at the time.

The single peaked at number three in the UK but only number 65 in the US, where it was released on June 19, a month after the UK LP “Are You Experienced” and three months after the UK single. In March 2005, Q magazine ranked “Purple Haze” at number one in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at No. 17 in their “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

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