The abandoned US “Smash Hits” cover (which resurfaced later)
Apart from the UK and American versions of “Smash Hits” (see Other Releases In Jimi’s Lifetime section),
numerous retrospective albums have been released over the years.
Here is a list of the most important ones.
The BACKTRACK series of compilations were released by Track Records in the early seventies, featuring various artists that were on their label, for example The Who, Marsha Hunt, John’s Children, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Some albums were shared by only The Who and The Experience, others featured several artists. (Volumes 10 and 11 were simply re-releases of the Experience’s first two albums in plain covers)
THE ESSENTIAL JIMI HENDRIX
Released 1978 (Reprise/Polydor)
Are You Experienced?, Third Stone From the Sun, Purple Haze, Little Wing, If 6 Was 9, Bold As Love, Little Miss Lover, Castles Made of Sand, Gypsy Eyes, Burning of the Midnight Lamp, Voodoo Chile (Slight Return), Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland), Still Raining Still Dreaming, House Burning Down, All Along the Watchtower, Room Full of Mirrors, Izabella, Freedom, Dolly Dagger, Stepping Stone, Drifting, Ezy Rider + free one sided 7″ single – Gloria (Morrison)
Alan Douglas assembled this tasteful compilation. A daring first volume avoiding some obvious choices, in favour of other great tracks (including seven post Experience numbers). A free single of The Experience going through Van Morrison’s old Them song “Gloria”, live in the studio (the track’s first appearance on record) was included with the first volume in the UK and with the second in the US.
Great photo of Jimi who looks tough and determined – 7/10
THE ESSENTIAL JIMI HENDRIX VOLUME TWO
Released 1981 (Reprise/Polydor)
Hey Joe, Fire, Foxy Lady, The Wind Cries Mary, I Don’t Live Today, Crosstown Traffic, Wild Thing (Monterey), Machine Gun (Fillmore), The Star Spangled Banner (Woodstock)
The second volume (a single album) filled in the gaps and had a second side with Jimi’s most famous live performances.
Volume 1 & 2 were later combined to make a superb double CD.
12 LP BOX SET
Released 1980 (Polydor)
Are you experienced
Axis:Bold as Love
Band of Gypsys
Isle of Wight
The Cry of Love
In the West
Nine to the Universe
This hefty box set even included the (dreadful) Alan Douglas overdubbed albums and left out “Rainbow Bridge”! Insane.
The box also came with a poster of Jimi on stage at his last gig (Fehmarn Island in September 1970).
A sobre approach – 6/10
A six single pack was released at the same time featuring five original UK singles (omitting “Fire”) plus “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” which was a posthumous UK number 1, this time backed with “Gloria” (originally the flip was”Hey Joe”/”All Along The Watchtower”). The singles themselves had silver and black labels and no picture sleeves, just white paper bags, which I thought was a bit mean at the time.
Hey Joe / Stone Free, Purple Haze/ 51st Anniversary, The Wind Cries Mary / Highway Chile, Burning of the Midnight Lamp / The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice, All Along the Watchtower / Long Hot Summer Night, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / Gloria
THE SINGLES ALBUM
Released 1983 (Polydor/Reprise)
Hey Joe / Stone Free / Purple Haze/ 51st Anniversary / The Wind Cries Mary / Highway Chile / Burning of the Midnight Lamp / The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice / All Along the Watchtower / Long Hot Summer Night / Crosstown Traffic / Fire / Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) / Angel / Night Bird Flying / Gypsy Eyes / Remember / Johnny B. Goode (Berkeley) / Little Wing (Berkeley) / Foxy Lady / Manic Depression/3rd Stone From The Sun / Gloria
An expanded “Smash Hits” featuring all the original UK singles (plus the respective B-sides) plus a number of posthumous singles.
The Jimi puppet shot was previously seen on the back cover of the first UK release of “Band Of Gypsys” but this time the right way round to give a left handed figure. Awful design – 1/10
KISS THE SKY
Released 1984 (Polydor/Reprise)
Are You Experienced?, I Dont Live Today (San Diego 69), Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Stepping Stone* (Band Of Gypsys studio version), Castles Made from Sand, Killing Floor (Monterey), Purple Haze, Red House (U.S. Smash Hits version), Crosstown Traffic, Third Stone From The Sun, All Along The Watchtower
The first Hendrix album to feature digital processing. Alan Douglas saw this as an experiment, using some of his favourite tracks rather than issuing a classic “Best Of”. A nice selection of tracks and one previously unreleased tracks, Jimi’s tornado opener “Killing Floor” from Monterey.
* Slightly different from the actual mix/version that appeared on the Reprise single of 1970
Superb illustration of the man. – 10/10
Released 1990 (Polydor/Reprise)
Hey Joe, Purple Haze, The Wind Cries Mary, Foxy Lady, Crosstown Traffic, All Along the Watchtower, Voodoo Child, Have you ever been to electric ladyland, Star Spangled Banner, Stepping Stone (Band Of Gypsys studio version), Room full of mirrors, Ezy Rider, Freedom, Drifting, In from the storm, Angel, Fire (Atlanta 70) Stone Free (Atlanta 70)
Many post Experience tracks here and a couple of live rarities from the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970 (which re-appeared a year later on “Stages” – see Live Releases 90s). “The Star Spangled Banner” is the studio version originally on “Rainbow Bridge”. That Band Of Gypsys version of “Steppin’ Stone” (not exactly like the 1970 Reprise single) is the same one that was on Kiss The Sky.
A messy photo montage for a messy compilation. – 3/10
THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE
Released 1992 (Polydor/MCA)
All Along the Watchtower, Purple Haze, Hey Joe, The Wind Cries Mary, Angel, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Foxy Lady, Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, Highway Chile, Crosstown Traffic, Castles Made Of Sand, Long Hot Summer Night, Red House (version 2), Manic Depression, Gypsy Eyes, Little Wing, Fire, Wait Until Tomorrow, Star Spangled Banner (Woodstock), Wild Thing (Monterey)
The first remastering proper under the direction of Alan Douglas. Only “Angel” from the latter period. “Wait Until Tomorrow” was a curious inclusion.
Following the code of the first three albums which were re-issued at the same time, this has a striking photo illustration of the Wild Man who looks ready for a fight – “You talkin’ to me?” (Jimi came to London and repossessed the Blues)- 10/10
The catalog had already been remastered at least once prior to this. Alan Douglas is referenced in the booklets to the remastered Reprise discs. Also, this CD was reissued by Polydor, apparently in 1995, as a “Special Edition”. It came with a clear jewel case tray, silk screening on the disc itself, and was remastered using HDCD technology. The mastering on this is totally different from the original Polydor 1992/MCA 1993 issue. – Thanks again to Luke for that information.
Released 1969 (Track)
Purple Haze, Fire, The Wind Cries Mary, Hey Joe, All Along The Watchtower, Stone Free, Crosstown Traffic, Manic Depression, Little Wing, If 6 Was 9, Foxy Lady, Bold As Love, Castles Made Of Sand, Red House (version 2), Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Freedom, Night Bird Flying, Angel, Dolly Dagger, Star Spangled Banner (Woodstock)
The second remastering, this time by Eddie Kramer. Nice to see “If 6 was 9” and “Bold As Love” get a placing. “Night Bird Flying” ? I think “Hey Baby (New rising Sun)” or “Room Full Of Mirrors” would have perhaps been better choices.
2CD Special Limited Edition (MCA 2000)
Two years later, a second CD was included in a limed edition of extracts from the newly released 2000 MCA box set:
CD 2 – Highway Chile (stereo mix), Gloria (remix), It’s Too Bad, Spanish Castle Music (live rehearsal), Hear My Train a Comin'(live rehearsal), Lover Man (1970 studio version), I Don’t Live Today (Live LA Forum 69), Purple Haze (Live San Diego 69)
Great portrait of Jimi from the same photo session as on the interior of the UK “Ladyland” (which featured an slightly better shot). Good typo – 9/10
THE JIMI HENDRIX CLASSIC SINGLES COLLECTION – vinyl singles
Released 1969 (Track)
Stone Free /Hey Joe, Up From The Skies /Gypsy Eyes, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Room Full Of Mirrors, The Wind Cries Mary/Fire, Little Wing/Spanish Castle Magic, Purple Haze /Foxey Lady, All Along The Watchtower/Long Hot Summer Night, Crosstown Traffic/If 6 Was 9, Rainy Day, Dream Away/Still Raining, Still Dreaming, Freedom/Angel
A collection of 7″ singles (10,000 numbered copies) in a box set and features 10 reproduction 45 RPMs in picture sleeves, pressed on 180g vinyl.
The box is a Marshall stack ! Very neat – 8/10
Released 2001 (MCA)
Disc: 1 Studio :
Purple Haze, Hey Joe, The Wind Cries Mary, Fire, Highway Chile (box set version), Are You Experienced?, Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, Little Wing, All Along The Watchtower (Olympic mix), Crosstown Traffic, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Spanish Castle Magic (box set version), Stone Free (box set version), Izabella (Band of Gypsys Single Version), Stepping Stone (Band of Gypsys Single Version), Angel, Dolly Dagger, Hey Baby (New Rising Sun), Third Stone From The Sun*
Disc: 2 Live :
Fire (Winterland 1968), Hey Joe (Winterland 1968), I Don’t Live Today (Los Angeles Forum 1969), Hear My Train A Comin’ (Berkeley 1970), Foxy Lady (Maui 1970), Machine Gun (Fillmore East 1970 – 2nd set), Johnny B Goode (Berkeley 1970), Red House (Randalls Island 1970), Freedom (Isle Of Wight 1970), Purple Haze (San Diego 1969), Star Spangled Banner (Woodstock 1969), Wild Thing (Monterey 1967)
*Extra track only on the UK version (thanks to Bengt for the information).
This might look like a definitive 2CD “Best Of” but it’s in fact more like a sampler for various albums in the Experience Hendrix catalogue – for example “Stone Free” is the 1969 re-recording, “Spanish Castle Magic” is the Royal Albert Hall rehearsal version, “All Along The Watchtower” is the cruder Olympic mix, “Izabella” and “Stepping Stone” are the Band Of Gypsys versions from the withdrawn 1970 single (the mixes are not exactly the same however).
The live CD is a nice collection of pretty definitive performances but the big disappointment is the use of the inferior “Machine Gun” from the second show of New Year’s Day! Just to advertise the uneven “Live At The Fillmore East” album.
Here are the details :
Foxy Lady (Maui 07-30-70 previously unreleased – Mitch’s drums overdubbed in the studio.)
Izabella (Band Of Gypsys – 1970 single version – slightly different mix)
Stepping Stone (Band Of Gypsys – 1970 single version – slightly different mix)
Fire (Winterland 10-12-68, 1st show – previously on The Jimi Hendrix Concerts. Also appeares on “Winterland”)
Hey Joe (Winterland10-12-68, 1st show- previously on Live In Winterland. Also appeares on “Winterland”)
Highway Chile – stereo mix from the purple box set
Spanish Castle Magic – studio rehearsal before Albert Hall 69 gigs, from the purple Box Set
Stone Free – the 1969 re-recording from the purple box set
I Don’t Live Today (LA Forum 04-26-69) – previously on “Lifelines” and purple box set
All Along The Watchtower – the Olympic mix from “South Saturn Delta”
Machine Gun – previously on “Live At The Fillmore East”
Red House (New York Pop Festival, Randall’s Island 07-17-70) – previously on “”Jimi Hendrix Concerts” and “Variations on a Theme – Red House” (but with reverb).
Purple Haze (San Diego Sports Arena; San Diego, CA; 05-24-69) – previously on “Stages” and purple box set
Another great Jim Marshall shot from the series that was already used on “Hendrix In The West” (and in recent Hewlett Packard ads!) – 8/10
In 2002 MCA re-released “Smash Hits”. I’m a little confused about this one. I think the US and UK versions were released. Just to confuse matters, a version of the American album was even released somewhere with “51st Anniversary” and “Highway Chile” as bonus tracks. On the web I came across three different track listings, what are MCA up to ? They have already issued two compilations: “Experience Hendrix” and “Voodoo Child” (see above), which makes this re-release (aimed at the purists) all the more surprising.
“Stars That Play…” is featured on certain versions, presumably with the original Chas Chandler single mix.
2010 and The Sony Legacy reissues have come back to the tracklistings of the original UK and US versions.
THE SINGLES COLLECTION – CD singles
10 CD singles:
Hey Joe/Stone Free, Purple Haze/51st Anniversary, The Wind Cries Mary/Highway Chile, Burning Of The Midnight Lamp/The Stars That Play With Laughin’ Sam’s Dice, Foxy Lady/ Manic Depression, Crosstown Traffic/Gypsy Eyes, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)/Hey Joe/All Along The Watchtower, Stepping Stone/Izabella, Dolly Dagger/Night Bird Flying, Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night /Auld Lang Syne/Three Little Bears
What was the designer thinking, using such a goofy photo for this fine collection ? I suppose they do look like any pop chart band, which is what singles are about really. – 3/10
MARTIN SCORCESE PRESENTS THE BLUES: JIMI HENDRIX
Released 2003 (MCA)
Red House (Version 2), Voodoo Chile, Come On (Let The Good Times Roll), Georgia Blues, Country Blues, Hear My Train A Comin, It’s Too Bad, My Friend, Blue Window, Midnight Lightning
Not much new here but this is a sumptuous compilation in the “Martin Scorsese presents ..” series. It has an interesting selection of tracks and features two excellent previously unreleased jams. Both tracks give Jimi songwriting credits (which seems unlikely for “Georgia Blues”) and were recorded at the same time as the “Nine To The Universe” jams.
“Georgia Blues” recorded on March 19, 1969 at New York’s Record Plant studios has the spotlight rather on Jimi’s old friend Lonnie Youngblood on lead vocals and saxophone, presumably with his own backing band. Jimi provides backing and lead guitar but Youngblood dominates the proceedings. The track has nothing to do with all those (pre-Experience) Jimi Hendrix/Lonnie Youngblood albums (see “Before fame” section).
“Blue Window'” (also known as “Crying Blue Rain” I think) was also recorded in March 1969 at Mercury Studios in New York and features Buddy Miles on drums with what I think is his band (Buddy Miles Express): Duane Hitchings on organ, Bill Rich on bass, plus a five piece brass section ! It certainly blows away “South Saturn Delta”, Jimi’s other brass backed effort. With a brief vocal from Jimi, this track clocks in at nearly 13 minutes (originally it lasted 20 minutes). It’s a great jam and towards the end it sounds a bit like what Frank Zappa got up to with a big band on albums such as “The Grand Wazoo”.
Three numbers are taken from the 2000 Box Set (“Country Blues”,”Hear My Train”, “It’s Too Bad”). That “Hear My Train” is The Experience in the studio rehearsing for their Feb. 69 Albert Hall gigs. From “Ladyland” we have “Come On” and “Voodoo Chile” (the long version with Stevie Winwood on keyboards). “My Friend” is from “First Rays” and “Midnight Lightning” from “South Saturn Delta”.
Nice booklet with sleeve notes by Jimi’s ex-companion Fayne Pridgon, but a couple of errors in the track details which attribute original appearances of a couple of tracks (“Red House “ and “My Friend”) to only their first release on MCA albums. “Red House” (version 2) is used here presumably because version 1 was put on the other MCA blues compilation “Jimi Hendrix :Blues”.
> “Georgia Blues” cropped up later on the album Both Sides Of The Sky in 2018
Fashion note : framed within the graphic chart of this extensive series of Blues CDs is a nice shot of Jimi in a mohair waistcoat. – 7/10
RAINY DAY, DREAM AWAY
Released 2008 (Dv&a – for Starbuck’s)
Wait Until Tomorrow, Little Wing, Stone Free, Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland), Crosstown Traffic, The Wind Cries Mary, Bold As Love, One Rainy Wish, Rainy Day, Dream Away, Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, Remember, May This Be Love, In From The Storm, Foxy Lady
This was a weird compilation that was approved by the estate for sale in Starbuck’s cafés. It’s actually a nice selection of manly low key numbers.
The inclusion of “In From The Storm” is a little at odds with the rest. “Drifting” or “Angel” would have been more in-keeping with the rest.
> Thanks to Marty for reminding me about this one!
FIRE – THE JIMI HENDRIX COLLECTION
Released 2010 (MCA)
Purple Haze, Hey Joe, Fire, All Along The Watchtower, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Crosstown Traffic, Foxy Lady, Valleys Of Neptune*, Are You Experienced, The Wind Cries Mary, Freedom, Red House II, Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, Wait Until Tomorrow, Little Wing, Sunshine Of Your Love*, Castles Made Of Sand, Angel, Bleeding Heart*, Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)
*Valleys Of Neptune album versions
I think that this was rushed out to capitalize on British television company ITV’s use of Fire for their World Cup football tournament teaser.
A pretty good selection of tracks, covering all periods of Jimi’s short career but Experience Hendrix took the opportunity to slip in three tracks from the Valleys Of Neptune album (See Posthumous Studio Releases 2010s): the excellent 1969 studio rehearsal of Sunshine For Your Love, the studio outtake of Bleeding Heart (which is unfortunately inferior to the version that had appeared on War Heroes and South Saturn Delta) and Valleys Of Neptune (a Pro-Tooled composite of two takes – not really apt for a “best of” album!).
Note also that “Red House” is the second version that first appeared on the U.S. Smash Hits album in 1969.
Thanks to Michael S. for helping with this!
The classic, and utterly fantastic Jim Marshall photo of Jimi’s climax at Monterey, and the perfect illustration for the album’s title. – 10/10
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