10 Best Jimi Hendrix Songs Released After His Death
Join us as we take a look at the 10 best posthumously released Jimi Hendrix studio recordings, or in other words, songs that weren’t yet released when he died. Hendrix created an incredibly brilliant catalog of material in just a handful of years. So much so, that unheard demos are still being released today, the most recent collection of which being ‘People, Hell and Angels.’ Whether or not those tracks are “new” as they are being billed by the Hendrix Estate, there were some really incredible songs left unreleased at the time of his death over 4 decades ago. In fact, some of our favorite Jimi tracks were ones that he hadn’t even finished yet. So we’ve decided to look at that late Hendrix period and pick our 10 favorite songs.
This instrumental might be a good indicator of where Hendrix was headed musically, as it was recorded just 3 months prior to his death. Unfortunately, we’ll never know where that journey would have taken us. Everything Jimi did was ahead of its time, but the overall sound and feel of ‘Pali Gap’ was light years beyond anything going on in 1970.
It’s no secret that Jimi was a big fan of Bob Dylan, but it really shows through on this Dylan-esque tune that’s meant to sounds as if it were performed at a bar or house party. He even made sure to include some harmonica for good measure.
‘Hear My Train A Comin” (Acoustic)
Hendrix recorded ‘Hear My Train A Comin” many times and with many different arrangements. The definitive version is this rare 12-string acoustic performance of the song that would later appear on several albums, including Jimi Hendrix ‘Blues.’
‘Freedom,’ like most songs included with ‘First Rays of the New Rising Sun,’ is among the few completely finished gems that Jimi left behind at the time of his death.
‘Midnight Lightning’ is similar to the above version of ‘Hear My Train a Comin” in arrangement, but seems a little more focused lyrically. This song is laid back, but has one of the most infectious grooves of his catalog… and that’s without drums!
‘Drifting’ is among the more beautiful songs of the 20th century, let alone Hendrix’s posthumous selections. The subtlety with which he delivered little accent riffs and chord embellishments was always one Jimi’s strong suits, used to here to tremendous effect. Nothing he does here is all that flashy, but the way it all comes together is astounding.
This song is straight up, unfiltered rock n’ roll. There are few Hendrix songs that match the intensity and urgency of this riff-oriented, lead guitar showcase. Everything from the intro to the bridge builds perfectly into a screaming guitar solo (around 2:20). Take note guitarists: this is how you set up a guitar solo. You’d be hard-pressed to find another song that sets the scene for a guitar solo this well.
‘Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)’
Though this song was never completed in the studio, there was enough for Eddie Kramer to piece together a relatively complete vision of the song. Using studio demos, vocals from a recorded live performance and other re-recorded portions, Kramer managed to Frankenstein one hell of a song for what would have served as the title track (of sorts) for Hendrix’s final release. Even in its incomplete form, it rivals the epic grandeur and scale of fully realized songs like ‘1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)’ and ‘Bold As Love.’
This upbeat riff-rocker was performed several times throughout Hendrix’s career, perhaps most notably during his fiery set at Woodstock. The studio version’s overdubs add immensely to the song’s infectious groove. ‘Izabella’ also features one of the best guitar solos of Jimi’s career… easily top 5.
Hendrix wrote this song about a dream he had about his deceased mother. A beautiful sentiment and an even more beautiful song. Anyone who has purchased any posthumous Hendrix release knows that Jimi recorded this track about 700 different times. This slower version allows the song’s beauty to fully develop (unlike some of the more upbeat demo versions released over the years) and after Hendrix’s many attempts to complete this song (a journey that began as far back as 1967), he finally finished this delicate, beautiful and brilliant masterpiece on August 20th, 1970… less than one month prior to his untimely death.