Jimi Hendrix Albums Ranked

Jimi Hendrix Albums Ranked

Photo: Marjut Valakivi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Jimi Hendrix albums ranked list takes a look at the Jimi Hendrix albums released while he was alive and a handful of the albums released after he passed away. It’s tough to compare albums released by an artist when their alive and in the prime of their career as opposed to albums that are put together by a record company after the artist has passed away. Of course there are exceptions when an album is released after an artist passed away but the album was actually just completed by the artist such as Janis Joplin’s Pearl. Nonetheless, they were many Jimi Hendrix albums released after he passed away some of them pretty good, but most of them just a mess of material put together. This will focus mostly on the albums that Jimi Hendrix put out while he was alive or had intended on putting out when he was alive.

What is most amazing about Jimi Hendrix and his legacy is that Jimi Hendrix career only lasted for years. Jimi Hendrix released his first album in 1967 entitled Are You Experienced. The second album was released that same year entitled Axis:Bold as Love: His final studio album released while he was still alive was the great double record set Electric Ladyland released in 1968. The live album Band Of Gypsys was released in March of 1970 six months before he passed away. It was the only album he released while he was alive without his original group The Jimi Hendrix experience. Only the Woodstock album that was released in May of 1970 that had some Jimi Hendrix live music on it was released while he was still alive. And that’s it as far as albums. Everything else released was issued after he passed away. This lists does not include the Jimi Hendrix LIVE albums with the exception of Band Of Gypsies and the BBC Sessions.

# 14 & 13 – Midnight Lightning /Crash Landing

Simply the worst Jimi Hendrix posthumous albums ever released. Albums that took Jimi Hendrix recordings and overdubbed them with musicians who had never ever played with Jimi Hendrix before. Why? We only listed them to help you stay away from them.

# 12 – Nine To The Universe

An album released in 1980 of five Jimi Hendrix jam sessions that were unnamed. Producer Alan Douglas wound up naming the songs himself. A long list of musicians appeared on the album including Larry Lee on rhythm guitar, Jim McCarthy on guitar, Larry Young on organ, Billy Cox on bass, Dave Holland on base, Roland Robinson on base, Mitch Mitchell on drums, Buddy Miles on drums, Rocky Isaac on drums, Al Marks on percussion, Juma Sultan on percussion come on Dorado Villas on percussion and Devin Wilson on backing vocals

# 11 – Both Sides Of The Sky

The most recent in a series of compilations of outtakes and unreleased material that the Jimi Hendrix family has been putting out. Released on March 9 2018. It’s hard to believe that Jimi Hendrix compilations are still being released from his private recordings. I guess it’s a good thing, especially for Jimi Hendrix fans. It’s good to keep his memory alive.

# 10 – People, Hell and Angels

More recordings from the sessions for the fourth album supposably all unreleased takes and demos but found on bootlegs through the years. Who knows? Nice cover.

# 9 – Valley of Neptune

Another album of supposably unreleased material. For die hard Jimi Hendrix fans only who don’t mind the rough stuff. Most of the material on the album was recorded just before the experimental Electric Ladyland album

# 8 – South Saturn Delta

An album of rarities, outtakes and demos that actually is very enjoyable to listen too. Presented  in a very nice package by the Jimi Hendrix family.Loved the album cove on this one.

# 7 – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun

The First Rays Of The New Rising Song album was released on April 22nd 1997. It supposedly was the ultimate version to define what was intended to be Jimi Hendrix’s fourth album including the title that Jimi Hendrix was supposedly going to name his fourth album. Since the album was overseen by the Jimi Hendrix family it was taking a bit more serious by fans and critics then the other fourth album releases. It contained all the songs from the other fourth album compilations including the Cry Of Love, Voodoo soup Rainbow Bridge and War Heroes.

# 6 – The Cry Of Love

The first posthumous Jimi Hendrix release was the Cry Of Love album. The album featured songs that supposedly Jimi Hendrix was working on for his fourth album. The album featured 10 new Jimi Hendrix songs that had not been released before. It’s really the most complete posthumus Jimi Hendrix album released even though it’s hard to say what Jimi Hendrix might have done with these songs if he was still alive. Would he have released them, wood have he re-recorded the solo, redid the vocals changed the arrangements who knows?  The Cry Of Love album sold a half a million copies eventually the record went platinum selling 1 million.

# 5 – Band of Gypsys

The Band Of Gypsys album was a Jimi Hendrix live album by featured his new group Band of Gypsies with Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums.  Billy Cox and Buddy Miles brought a funk Rock sound to the music of Jimi Hendrix that was very different from the Jimi Hendrix Experience.However, these musicians did not connect with Jimi Hendrix like Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell did. Where it was going, well we’ll never know because Jimi Hendrix passed away shortly after this album was released. Although the band break up when Jimi  Hendrix was still alive.The album was released on March 25th 1970. The album was recorded at the Fillmore East in New York City. The album contains some new Jimi Hendrix songs such as Machine Gun, Power Of Soul send message to love and “Who Knows”

# 4 – Radio One / BBC Sessions

In our opinion, Radio One stands as the best posthumous Jimi Hendrix Experience album ever released. The album wasn’t released until 1988 on CD on the great label Rykodisc. The Radio One CD compiled recordings performed by the Jimi Hendrix Experience on BBC Radio between February and December 1967. These were extraordinary live recordings by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in which Jimi Hendrix displays monstrous furious guitar playing that makes hims sounds as if he is not even human. Unbelievable CD that should be in every Jimi Hendrix Experience fan collection, if you can find it. The BBC Sessions 2 CD set was released about ten years later and contained many more BBC recordings. However, we liked the content of the Radio One album as a single CD just a little better. But they are both amazing Jimi Hendrix Experience releases.

# 3 – Axis:Bold as Love:

On the first day of December in the year 1967 the Jimi Hendrix Experience released their second album entitled Axis: Bold As Love. It was only seven months earlier when the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released their debut album Are You Experienced that completely shock the world upon hearing of this incredible new talent.  The Axis: Bold As Love  album was pretty much just a continuation of what the band had done on their first record. Of course it wasn’t as groundbreaking as their first album nor as their third album which completely shifted gears in experimentation. No, Axis: Bold As Love just continued the band’s success in presenting thirteen more incredible rock and roll songs performed by three musicians on top of the world and playing like no one else had ever played before.

The songs on the album Axis: Bold As Love begin to show a little more maturity in Jimi Hendrix’s songwriting especially on the ballads like “Little Wing,” and the mid-tempo numbers like “Spanish Castle Magic.” There is more of a depth in the songwriting and the playing then there was on the first album. It’s hard to realize that he was writing songs like this in his mid 20s and can only make us imagine what he would have done if he had lived longer.

# 2 – Electric Ladyland

Electric Ladyland was the Jimi Hendrix Experience band’s final studio album. Sadly it was only the band’s third studio album. The album was released on October 16th 1968. It was recorded both at Olympic Studios in London and the Record Plant in New York City. The album was only released about nine days apart in the United Kingdom and the United States. There are many rock and roll fans and critics who believe this was the greatest album The Jimi Hendrix Experience ever released. It was definitely the most groundbreaking album and the most experimental and now serves as a reminder of what might have come next if Jimi Hendrix had not passed away.

Much has been written deservedly so about how The Beatles influenced recording techniques with the release of their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. However, Jimi Hendrix did the same thing on this one when he and producer Eddie Kramer experimented with different microphone techniques and effects devices in creating a world of sound on vinyl that had never been heard before.

The songs themselves on Electric Ladyland really showcase all the different musical styles that had influenced Jimi Hendrix’s songwriting and guitar playing. Blues of course burns rapid on the album especially on the great jam tune “Voodoo Chile.” There is some R & B New Orleans style on the track “Come On.” Psychedelia is ever  present in songs  like “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp,” and the album opener “Have you ever been (To Electric ladyland)?” Of course one cannot fail to mention the Electric Ladyland album without bringing up the band’s biggest hit single of their career in the United States… a cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Overtime, the album Electric Ladyland has just grown more and more in statue and remains one of the great rock and roll gems of the 1960s. It’s one of the defining moments, and sadly, the final moment in the great career of Jimi Hendrix in the studio.

# 1 – Are You Experienced

The Jimi Hendrix Experience debut album Are You Experienced remains the legends greatest work. It could be argued that Are You Experienced may be the greatest album ever released in Rock and Roll History. It’s right up there with the Who’s Next and Led Zeppelin 4. But that’s an argument for another day. Are You Experienced was an earth-shattering groundbreaking rock and roll extravaganza that just blew everyone’s minds times 10. The album was released on May 12th 1967. Speaking of The Who, it was The Who’s managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp who signed the Jimi Hendrix Experience to their new rock and roll label Track.

The album Are You Experienced was first released in the United Kingdom in May of 1967. It was later released in the United States in August of that same year. There was a big difference between both versions. The United States version contained the UK singles that weren’t on the UK album including “Purple Haze, Hey Joe and the Wind Cries Mary.” That’s a pretty significant difference. The US version contained the tracks “Purple Haze, Manic Depression, Hey Joe, Love or Confusion, May This Be Love, I don’t Live Today, The Wind Cries Mary, Fire, Third Stone From the Sun, Foxy lady and Are You Experienced.” and if you’re familiar with those songs we pretty much don’t have to say one more word about this album. The music says it all.

Are You Experienced was an album that delivered a sound that no one had ever heard before. Not one guitarist in history had ever played like Jimi Hendrix. How some of the record industry people who turned him away did not recognize his incredible once in a lifetime talent is almost incomprehensible but actually really not surprising when you have met many record industry people throughout your life. Jimi Hendrix  fused elements of blues, progressive and psychedelic music into a guitar sound that made use of distortion and feedback all mixed and blended together in creating a truly unique guitar sound. And of course, wrapping around that sound and creating an incredible rhythm section that drove it all home was bassist Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell on drums.

Jimi Hendrix Albums Ranked article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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