From Sting to Pat Boone, Jimi Hendrix has had his fans amongst musicians. Stands to reason. Many covers exist. These are among the weirder ones for the most part and would probably interest Jimi since he always seemed to be looking for new sounds and approaches.
Then again, how do I know? Maybe Jimi would've gotten cranky as he got older and hated everything on principle. You can't ask him and neither can I, so we just have to make things up as we go along. Facts are for sissies.
10) Rickie Lee Jones--"Up From The Skies": From her album Pop Pop, Rickie Lee Jones somehow turns "Up From The Skies" into a jazz number. There's a good chance you could hear this and not even realize what is going on. Sometimes, we're all Mr. Jones.
Red Hot Chili Peppers--"Fire": Well, this might not be great, more like a warning to bands attempting to cover Jimi. This sounds more like a band racing through the supermarket while trying to win one of the contests where you shove as much expensive crap as you can into the cart. They might even "win."
8) Roy Buchanan--"If Six Was Nine": Buchanan is one of the few guitar players who could play in Hendrix's league. He could've used better producers. But so could many great musicians. As the album this cover is from--A Street Called Straight--features an all-star cast and then Arif Mardin behind the board, which is a bit like finding a million dollars and then burning it.
Richard Lloyd--"I Don't Live Today": With his album The Jamie Neverts Story, Television guitarist Richard Lloyd pays tribute to his musical hero and to a friend who once received guitar lessons from Mr. Experienced. Any number of tunes from this album could make this slot, but "I Don't Live Today" is one I haven't gotten to pump yet and it deserves a mention here. I'm all product placement these days. Contact me for more details.
6) Emmylou Harris--"May This Be Love": Daniel Lanois produces an album of covers and Harris swerves all over the place, picking up this grand Hendrix tune and making it sound exactly like you might imagine what would happen if you put Lanois and Harris in a recording studio together. She sings like an angel on helium and he produces it within a layer of its life.
P.M. Dawn--"You Got Me Floatin'": In the mid-'90s there was a Hendrix tribute album called Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix that included a number of interesting covers of his material along with some others that merely showed how much they liked the original records. These gents took this tune to their own personal hiding spot.
4) Chris Whitley--"Drifting": Whitley was one of those suffering guitar players who could sing the blues because he lived with them nearly every damn day of his tortured life. His records are almost all more amazing than the standard bluesman. "Drifting" is one of Hendrix's finest ballads and while Whitley can't match Hendrix's layers of guitars, he sings it from the heart. What was left of it.
Devo--"R U Experienced?": Plenty of Hendrix fans hated this "deconstruction" of his classic, which is all the more reason to enjoy it. What is music if you can't have fun with it and poke it with a stick or a synthesizer once in awhile?
2) Stevie Ray Vaughan--"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)": There was never any doubt who influenced Stevie Ray. This tribute to one of his heroes is one of those amazing feats that served notice that SRV was technically in the same league. He'd use his own tunes to shore up evidence for those who wanted more. But at one time covering Hendrix could help your career.
The Cure--"Purple Haze": The Cure also covered "Foxey Lady" and with their monstrous studio sounds turned this radio standard into a trip into Dante's Inferno. Which level is unclear. But Robert Smith always loves to sound like he's a having an orgasm in reverse.
- Rickie Lee Jones