A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Are You Experienced?, Hendrix's debut double-album, a blockbuster in music history and a classic that influenced generations of guitarists, was one of the Summer of Love's most dramatic arrivals. Some of the material, especially the title track, does merit a heads-up for the sex-and-drugs references in which the period's music was steeped (the last line includes the phrase "not necessarily stoned, but beautiful"). And "Purple Haze" could be a metaphor for being high or for romantic experience. But there's more sexuality and psychedelia communicated in the nasty guitar chords and the sheer attitude in Hendrix's delivery than any explicit lyrics.
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What's the story?
When he burst on the scene in 1967, no one had ever heard or seen anything like Jimi Hendrix, whose stage antics of literally setting his guitar on fire were eclipsed by his ability to get unprecedented sounds out of the instrument. Blues, rock, psychedelia and amplifier feedback collided in his music, fusing in an otherworldly brew that made him a superstar and continues to influence musicians generations after Hendrix's death in 1970 at age 27.
Is it any good?
Not every track on the double-album ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? is a standout, but it's one of the finest debuts of all time and widely viewed as Hendrix's best and most consistent work. There are legacy tracks ("Purple Haze," "Red House," "Foxey Lady," "The Wind Cries Mary"), a long, spacy jam ("Third Stone from the Sun"), and the dark classic "Hey Joe." As an introduction to a legend, there's no better place to start.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how today it's not too hard to make all these weird sounds with computers. In 1967, no one had ever heard a guitar make these noises. How do you think people reacted when they heard it for the first time?
Have you heard Hendrix's version of "The Star Spangled Banner"? What do you think of it?
Why do you think Hendrix and so many other stars of the time died young?
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