Electric Ladyland

Electric Ladyland
Electric Ladyland
Studio album by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Released October 25, 1968
Recorded Olympic Studios, London and Record Plant Studios, New York, July 1967, December 1967, January 1968, April–August 1968
Genre Psychedelic rock, blues rock, acid rock, hard rock
Length 75:47
Label Reprise, Track, Barclay, Polydor
Producer Jimi Hendrix
The Jimi Hendrix Experience chronology
Smash Hits
(1968)
Electric Ladyland
(1968)
Electric Jimi Hendrix
(1968)

Electric Ladyland is the third and final album of new material by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, released in October 1968 on Reprise Records, catalogue 2RS 6307. It is the only Hendrix studio album professionally produced under his supervision. It topped the Billboard 200 album chart for two weeks in November 1968.[1] The original North American-only Reprise release album cover featured a "fiery" photo of Hendrix' head. The slightly later Track/Polydor International album release cover, controversially, was a photo of group of nude women, which was only replaced after Experience Hendrix took control of Hendrix' recordings. In most Francophone parts of Europe, Barclay Records used a cover showing a downward pointing arm at a very small photo of Hendrix' head.

Contents

Content

Released as a double album, Electric Ladyland is a cross-section of Hendrix's wide range of musical talent. It includes examples of several genres and styles of music: the psychedelic "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", previously a U.K. single in the summer of 1967; the extended blues jam "Voodoo Chile"; the New Orleans-style R&B of Earl King's "Come On"; the epic studio production of "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"; the social commentary of "House Burning Down"; and the Sixties-era Britpop of Noel Redding's "Little Miss Strange". The album also features an avant-garde reworking of the Bob Dylan classic "All Along the Watchtower", which has been well-received by critics as well as by Dylan himself,[2] as well as "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", a staple of both radio and guitar repertoire.

Recording and production

Following the first tranche of recordings to be included in the album from Olympic Studios in London, including part of "All Along the Watchtower" and the aforementioned 1967 single, production moved during the spring of 1968 to the newly opened Record Plant Studios, situated close to Hendrix's favorite New York clubs. Recording there was by Jimi's favorite engineers Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren. Despite a claim by Record Plant engineer Chris Stone that Kellgren engineered "90%" of Ladyland, the studio records show that most of the work was done by Kramer, only three tracks including the one by Redding having Kellgren as engineer.[3]

During the recording of the album, Hendrix fell out with producer Bryan "Chas" Chandler and bassist Noel Redding. Pressured by a hectic tour schedule, Hendrix still wanted to have a life, so he combined work with pleasure by inviting his friends and acquaintances to the studio. Chas Chandler hated spending so much time in the studio and partly blamed it on these guests, but Jimi was determined to have his way.[citation needed] Chandler complained that Hendrix's insistence on doing multiple takes of every song, combined with what he saw as Hendrix's drugged incoherence, led him to sell his share of the management company to his partner Michael Jeffery. Chandler quit in May 1968, leaving Hendrix sole producer on the project.

Hendrix' studio perfectionism was legendary – he and Mitchell recorded well over 50 takes of "Gypsy Eyes" over three sessions,[4] Hendrix generally insecure about his voice and often recording his vocals hidden behind studio screens. Hendrix sings all the backing vocals himself on the title track and on "Long Hot Summer Night". He was said to be very happy with the vocal results on "Have You Ever Been to Electric Ladyland."[5]

Many of the album tracks show Hendrix's vision expanding far beyond the scope of the original trio and saw him collaborating with a range of outside musicians including Dave Mason, Chris Wood and Steve Winwood from Traffic; future Band of Gypsys drummer Buddy Miles; Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady; former Dylan organist Al Kooper; and members of 'the Serfs': Mike Finnegan on organ, Freddie Smith on saxophone, and Larry Faucette on congas. Cooperation between Hendrix and bassist Noel Redding, who was of the same opinion about time spent in the studio as Chandler, was strained during production.[6] Hendrix plays bass on many tracks, including the bass solo on "1983".[7] At times Hendrix recorded bass tracks simply to make things proceed faster. Redding plays acoustic guitar and sings lead vocals with Mitchell on his own track, "Little Miss Strange."

Release and reception

Record sleeve of 1st UK 2LP edition (Polydor)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Uncut 5/5 stars[8]
Allmusic 5/5 stars[9]
Blender 5/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[11]
BBC (favourable)[12]
Robert Christgau 5/5 stars[13]

The UK edition reached #6 on its release amid considerable controversy. A letter Hendrix wrote to Reprise described exactly what he wanted for the cover art, but it was mostly ignored. He expressly asked for a color photo by Linda Eastman of the group sitting with children on a sculpture from Alice in Wonderland in Central Park, NY, even drawing a picture of it for reference.[14] The company instead used a blurred red and yellow photo of his head, taken by Karl Ferris. Track Records had its own art department, which produced a cover depicting 19 nude women lounging in front of a black background taken by photographer David Montgomery, who also shot the inside cover portrait of Hendrix.[15] Later reissues for compact disc in 1997 and 2010 feature the Ferris cover worldwide, and the Hendrix family has indicated that they will no longer use the nudes cover since Hendrix himself expressed his opinion against nude-cover saying that it was rather an opposite to what he had wanted.[citation needed]

In 2005 Q magazine readers voted Electric Ladyland the 38th greatest album of all time; in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 72. In 2003, Rolling Stone declared it the 54th greatest album of all time. The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Also, The Source magazine ranked it #40 on their Critics Top 100 Black Music Albums of All Time list in 2006.[16]

Track listing

US cover release

All songs written by Jimi Hendrix except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "...And the Gods Made Love"     1:21
2. "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)"     2:11
3. "Crosstown Traffic"     2:25
4. "Voodoo Chile"     15:00
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "Little Miss Strange"   Noel Redding 2:52
6. "Long Hot Summer Night"     3:27
7. "Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)"   Earl King 4:09
8. "Gypsy Eyes"     3:43
9. "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"     3:39
Side three
No. Title Writer(s) Length
10. "Rainy Day, Dream Away"     3:42
11. "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"     13:39
12. "Moon, Turn the Tides...Gently Gently Away" (instrumental)   1:02
Side four
No. Title Writer(s) Length
13. "Still Raining, Still Dreaming"     4:25
14. "House Burning Down"     4:33
15. "All Along the Watchtower"   Bob Dylan 4:01
16. "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"     5:12

UK cover release

Disc one, Sides 1 & 4
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "And the Gods Made Love"     1:22
2. "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)"     2:11
3. "Crosstown Traffic"     2:25
4. "Voodoo Chile"     15:02
5. "Still Raining, Still Dreaming"     4:25
6. "House Burning Down"     4:33
7. "All Along the Watchtower"   Dylan 4:00
8. "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"     5:13
Disc two, Sides 2 & 3
No. Title Writer(s) Length
9. "Little Miss Strange"   Redding 2:51
10. "Long Hot Summer Night"     3:27
11. "Come On (Part 1)"   King 4:10
12. "Gipsy Eyes"     3:43
13. "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"     3:40
14. "Rainy Day, Dream Away"     3:42
15. "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"     4:49
16. "Moon, Turn the Tides... Gently, Gently Away"     9:54

Notes

As was common with some multi-LP albums, sides one and four were pressed back to back on the same platter, likewise sides two and three. This was called "auto-coupling" or "automatic sequence" and was intended to make it easier to play through the entire album in sequence on automatic record-changers. In this case it has led to some CD releases of Electric Ladyland that have the sides in the incorrect one-four-two-three order. The cassette tape version altered the running order to keep both sides of the tape as equal as possible, a standard practice.

On the original LP version, "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)" is 13:39 and "Moon, Turn the Tides... Gently, Gently Away" is 1:01, the total being 14:40. On the Nudes version, "1983" is 4:49 while "Moon, Turn the Tides" is 9:54, the total being 14:43, just three seconds longer than the original.

Personnel

Credits taken from the 1993 MCA compact disc booklet.

Additional personnel

Production

  • Producer - Jimi Hendrix
  • Engineers - Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren
  • Mixed by - Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Kramer, and Gary Kellgren
  • Arranged by Jimi Hendrix
  • US cover liner note by Jimi Hendrix
  • US cover design - Karl Ferris
  • US cover inside photos - Linda Eastman and David Sygall
  • US art direction - Ed Thrasher
  • UK cover design - David King, Rob O'Connor
  • UK cover inside photos - David Montgomery

First CD remaster by Lee Herschberg (Reprise 6307-2)
Second CD remaster by Alan Douglas - Remastering by Joe Gastwirt, Liner notes by Michael Fairchild
Third CD remaster by Experience Hendrix - Remastering by Eddie Kramer and George Marino, Art direction by Vartan, Liner notes by Jeff Leve, Essay by Derek Taylor

Charts

Album

Year Chart Position
1968 Billboard Top 200 Albums 1
1968 UK Albums Chart 6[17]

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1967 "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" UK Singles Chart 18[18]
1968 "All Along the Watchtower" Billboard Hot 100 20
UK Singles Chart 5[18]
"Crosstown Traffic" Billboard Hot 100 52[19]
1969 "Crosstown Traffic" UK Singles Chart 37[18]
1970 "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" UK Singles Chart 1[18]
1971 "Gypsy Eyes/Remember" UK Singles Chart 35[18]
1990 "All Along the Watchtower EP (with "Hey Joe" & "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)") UK Singles Chart 52[18]
1990 "Crosstown Traffic" UK Singles Chart 61

See also

References

  1. ^ Billboard Archives retrieved 22-10-10
  2. ^ Dimery, Robert. 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, ISBN 0-7893-1371-5, p.136
  3. ^ McDermott, John with Cox, Billy, and Kramer, Eddie. Ultimate Hendrix: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Live Concerts and Sessions. Milwaukee: Backbeat Books, 2009, passim.
  4. ^ McDermott et al., Ultimate Hendrix, pp. 98-100.
  5. ^ Electric Ladyland, MCAD 10895, 1993, liner notes.
  6. ^ Appleby, Carol, and Redding, Noel. Are You Experienced? - The Inside Story of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. London: Fourth Estate, 1990, passim.
  7. ^ MCA 1993 liner notes.
  8. ^ Uncut Review
  9. ^ Allmusic Review
  10. ^ Blender Review
  11. ^ Rolling Stone Review
  12. ^ BBC Review
  13. ^ Robert Christgau Review
  14. ^ Electric Ladyland. Experience Hendrix/MCA 11600, 1997, liner notes.
  15. ^ Electric Ladyland. Track Records 613 010, 1968, cover photo.
  16. ^ Critics Top 100 Black Music Albums of All Time retrieved 22-10-10
  17. ^ "UK chart history - The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland". www.chartstats.com. http://www.chartstats.com/release.php?release=36664. Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f The Jimi Hendrix Experience in the UK Singles Chart, The Official Charts.
  19. ^ Jimi Hendrix Album and Song Chart History, Billboard.com.

External links

Preceded by
Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company
Billboard 200 number-one album
November 16–29, 1968
Succeeded by
Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell

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