Jimi Hendrix ‘Electric Ladyland’ 50th Deluxe: Listen

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In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Jimi Hendrix Experience masterpiece Electric Ladyland, Experience Hendrix, LLC and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, released a Deluxe Edition box set on November 9. Available as either a 3-CD/1-Blu-ray set or a 6-LP/1-Blu-ray set, both packages include the original double album, now newly remastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analog tapes.

From the September 13 announcement: The collections include Electric Ladyland: The Early Takes, which presents demos and studio outtakes from this period in Hendrix’s career, plus a new 5.1 surround sound mix of the entire original album by Hendrix’s original engineer Eddie Kramer. This marks the first and only time this has been done with a Hendrix studio album, and gives listeners the original stereo mixes in uncompressed 24 bit/96 kz high resolution audio. For the LP set, Grundman prepared an all analog direct to disc vinyl transfer of the album, preserving the authenticity.

Listen to several demo versions below.

Watch the official trailer for the Deluxe Edition

Another exclusive component is Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At the Hollywood Bowl 9/14/68, part of Experience Hendrix’s Dagger Records official bootleg series. The never-before-released recording captures the band and the mounting excitement that took place just weeks before the release of Electric Ladyland. The Blu-ray also includes the acclaimed, feature length documentary At Last… The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland.

Listen to “Voodoo Chile (Demo)”

The Deluxe Edition also includes a full-color, 48-page book containing Hendrix’s handwritten lyrics, poem and instructions to his record label, as well as never-before-published photos from the recording sessions that were shot by Eddie Kramer.

“I had always dreamed of mixing Electric Ladyland in 5.1 surround sound,” says Kramer, who engineered every Hendrix album made during his life, and produced or co-produced nearly all of his posthumous material. “It always felt to me as the perfect vehicle for the kind of adventuresome stuff that Jimi and I were trying to do in 1968. The visceral thrill when we completed the first surround mix of ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’ was palpable. We viewed this song as the surround test and the moment I heard it I flashed back on those moments when Jimi and I were mixing the stereo album, laughing at our attempts to find that ‘elusive’ sound.” The Blu-ray for Electric Ladyland Deluxe Edition will contain these 5.1 surround sound mixes – a first for any studio album in the Hendrix canon.

Listen to a demo of “My Friend”

The new cover art – a Linda (McCartney) Eastman photograph of the band and children at the statue of Alice In Wonderland in New York’s Central Park – was Hendrix’s own choice of imagery for the album’s cover image. The shot was relegated to the inside of the original U.S. version on Reprise Records, printed in black and white. The U.K. version of the album released by Track Records didn’t include the photo at all, and instead featured a gatefold photo of 19 naked women, which Hendrix famously abhorred. For the first time ever, the Linda Eastman photo, in full color, will grace the cover of Electric Ladyland, true to Jimi Hendrix’s original vision.

The third album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland was the last Hendrix studio album to have been released during the classic rock icon’s lifetime and reflects his meticulous involvement in every facet of its creation.

Originally released on October 16, 1968, the album is the source of such legendary Hendrix tracks as “All Along The Watchtower,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “Crosstown Traffic,” and “Burning of the Midnight Lamp.” The only Hendrix album to have reached #1 on Billboard, it is considered the crowning achievement of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and underscored Hendrix’s abilities as singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer.

Watch a preview of the album, released on its 50th anniversary

Related: Electric Ladyland is in our story: 14 Best Studio Double Albums of All-Time

Notable for being the first album produced and directed by Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland was largely recorded after Hendrix split from Chas Chandler – the former member of the Animals who found Hendrix in New York and brought him to the U.K., co-managing his career and producing the first two Experience albums. There is also the introduction of outside players, namely Steve Winwood, Chris Wood and Dave Mason of Traffic, Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane (bass on “Voodoo Chile”), and Hendrix’s own future Band of Gypsys band mate Buddy Miles (drums on “Rainy Day, Dream Away” and “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”). As a result of the growing tension between Hendrix and Experience bassist Noel Redding (who parted ways the following year), Hendrix took it upon himself to play bass on most of the songs, including the cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” the only Jimi Hendrix Experience single to reach Billboard’s Top 20. Widely considered one of the greatest interpretations ever recorded, Dylan professed in 1995 that Hendrix “found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using.” By 1974, Dylan demonstrated the ultimate show of respect when he began using Hendrix’s template to perform his own song.

Watch Eddie Kramer talk about the Deluxe Edition

Electric Ladyland: The Early Takes consists of demos for song ideas Hendrix recorded himself on a Teac reel-to-reel tape machine in early 1968, as well as early sessions at Sound Center and the Record Plant in New York. Previously unreleased versions of “Angel Caterina” and “Little Miss Strange” feature guest appearances from Buddy Miles and Stephen Stills. “Long Hot Summer” features Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell with Al Kooper on piano, and “At Last . . . the Beginning” is an early version of what would become “…And the Gods Made Love.”

Listen to an early take of “Long Hot Summer Night”

The previously unreleased Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At the Hollywood Bowl 9/14/68 documents their triumphant Los Angeles concert held a few weeks before Electric Ladyland was released. The recently discovered two-track soundboard recording captures the energy that had the audience in such a frenzy that many concert goers jumped into the reflecting pool that separated the bandstand from the seats. The performance includes selections from all three Experience albums, as well as a cover of Cream’s smash hit “Sunshine of Your Love.” The accompanying book is filled with unpublished photos that follow the band at the Bowl, from afternoon rehearsal, to backstage to the performance itself.

At Last… The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland documents the creation of the legendary double album. Some of Jimi’s closest associates are seen on screen discussing their first-hand recollections of Hendrix and the project including Redding, Mitchell, manager Chas Chandler, Miles, Casady, Winwood, Mason and others who participated in the Electric Ladyland sessions.

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  1. JohnnyCNote
    #1 JohnnyCNote 14 September, 2018, 00:59

    Electric Ladyland, along with Are You Experienced, represent some of the greatest achievement in music. Many are unaware of how far away JH’s influence can be heard. At one time I had over 30 JH albums, and I can still listen to either of these albums and enjoy it. There are plenty of other songs he did scattered about all of his albums, but EL and AYE need to be taken as two complete works, and not just two collections of songs…

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  2. Bob Sled
    #2 Bob Sled 18 September, 2018, 13:15

    Before it came out I listened to music for the songs; afterwards I listened to music in a completely different way – music production had my attention now!

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