In a Nutshell
"Purple Haze" has just about everything. One of the most iconic opening notes in the history of rock. Perhaps the greatest mondegreen
of all time (did he just say, "Scuse me while I kiss this guy"?). Enough electric guitar gymnastics to compete in the Olympics. So much psychedelic craziness that an entire strain of marijuana was named after it.
"Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?" With this song ringing in our headphones, we honestly have no idea.
About the Song
||Musician(s)||Jimi Hendrix (vocals, guitar), Noel Redding (bass, backup vocals), Mitch Mitchell (drums).
|Label||Track Record (UK), Reprise Records (US)|
Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
If you wanted to make a soundtrack to the history of drugs in America
, "Purple Haze" – which has been adopted as a kind of stoner national anthem – would surely play over the credits. But the true story of the song is a bit more complicated; the strain of pot called "Purple Haze" was named after the song, not vice versa, and Hendrix had never even tried LSD yet when he wrote the song's famously psychedelic lyrics. So hat if "Purple Haze" isn't really about drugs at all but is actually just an old-fashioned love song? What if Hendrix really ought to be remembered less for his wild-man image than for the immense technical skills that made him perhaps the greatest guitar player in the history of rock n' roll
On the Charts
"Purple Haze" only reached #65 on the US pop chart, but it reached #3 in the UK.
The song ranked #17 in Rolling Stone
's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."