It is the 42nd aniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s American release of ‘Axis: Bold as Love’ recording. This often overlooked powerful contemporary groundbreaking artistry is unique and shows Hendrix at his best with both the poetry of his lyrics and powerful and emoting guitar antics that made him the innovator that to this day, no one has come close to copying, even with all of the advancement in electronics. He among others such as Jeff Beck, used the natural feedback of overdriven amplifiers to produce harmonic overtones and controlled them to produce sounds unheard of for that time. not to mention playing with his teeth, behind his back and setting his guitar on fire..but when Eric Clapton came to see him in England – (as he wasn’t accepted here in the States in the beginning of his career). Their chance came when Paul McCartney recommended the group to John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas, one of the principal organizers of the Monterey International Pop Festival) – Hendrix asked Clapton to tune his guitar for him, because he always had a hard time doing it himself. Bending those strings so violently would always cause them to go out of tune. Note: In an interview Clapton recalled this incident and was ’embarrassed’ to do so in front of the audience.
The lyrics reflect emotional ideas in terms of color- Hendrix stated, in explanation of his color-emotion interpretations, “Jealousy is purple; I’m purple with rage…”, paralleling the lyrical reference to the “purple armor” of a personified anger. ‘Little Wing’ is the Indian name of Hendrix’s guardian angel. Jimi himself said that it was his impression of the Monterey Pop Festival put into the form of a girl. It was also one of Hendrix’s most covered songs by other artists such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Phish, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Skid Row, Sting and the Irish band The Corrs.
Here in full from 1967 are the lyrics to the title song ‘Bold as Love.’
Bold As Love
Anger he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armor
Queen jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground
Blue are the life giving waters taking for granted
They quietly understand.
Once happy Turquoise armies lay opposite ready
But wonder why the fight is on
But they’re all bold as love they’re all bold as love
they’re all bold as love
Just ask the Axis
My Red is so confident
He flashes trophies of war and ribbons of euphoria
Orange is young, full of daring But very unsteady for the first go round
My Yellow in this case is not so mellow
In fact I’m trying to say that it’s frightened like me
And all this emotions of mine keep holding me from giving my life to a rainbow like you
But I’m, yeah, I’m bold as love
Well, I’m bold, bold as love I’m bold as love
Just ask the Axis, he knows everything, yeah, yeah, yeah……….
and just for the fun of it from the same album ‘If a 6 Was a 9’
If 6 Was 9 If the sun refuse to shine I don’t mind I don’t mind
If the mountains fell in the sea, Let it be It ain’t me
Got my own world to look thru, And I ain’t gonna copy you
Now if 6 turned out to be 9, I don’t mind I don’t mind
If all the hippies cut off all their hair, I don’t care I don’t care
Dig it Got my own world to look thru, And I ain’t gonna copy you
White collared conservative flashing down the street
Pointing their plastic fingers at me
They’re hoping soon my kind will drop and die
But I’m gonna wave my freak flag high, high
Fall mountain, just don’t fall on me Hello, Mr. Businessman, why you ain’t dressed like me?
I’m the one who has to die when it’s time for me to die
So let me live my life the way I want to
Sing on, brother,
Play on, drummer