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Electric Ladyland is the third and final album of new material by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, released in October 1968 on Reprise Records. It is the only Hendrix studio album professionally produced under his supervision. It topped the Billboard 200 album chart for two weeks in November 1968.
Released as a double album, Electric Ladyland is a cross-section of Jimi Hendrix's wide range of musical talent. It includes examples of several genres and styles of music: the psychedelic "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", previously a UK single in the summer of 1967; the extended blues jam "Voodoo Chile"; the New Orleans-style R&B of Earl King's "Come On"; the epic studio production of "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"; the social commentary of "House Burning Down"; and the Sixties-era Britpop of Noel Redding's "Little Miss Strange". The album also features an electric reworking of the Bob Dylan classic "All Along the Watchtower", which has been well received by critics as well as by Dylan himself, and also "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", a staple of both radio and guitar repertoire.
Following the first installment of recordings from Olympic Studios in London, including part of "All Along the Watchtower" and the aforementioned 1967 single, production moved during the spring of 1968 to the newly opened Record Plant Studios, situated close to Hendrix's favorite New York clubs. Recording there was by Jimi's favorite engineers Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren. Despite a claim by Record Plant engineer Chris Stone that Kellgren engineered "90%" of Ladyland, the studio records show that most of the work was done by Kramer, only three tracks including the one by Redding having Kellgren as engineer.
During the recording of the album, Hendrix fell out with producer Bryan "Chas" Chandler and Redding. Both of them grew tired with the undisciplined way Hendrix was working in the studio, because he was constantly inviting his friends and acquaintances in there. Chandler hated spending so much time in the studio and partly blamed it on these guests, but Jimi was the creative genius behind "The Jimi Hendrix Experience". Chandler also complained that Hendrix's insistence on doing multiple takes of every song, combined with what he saw as Hendrix's drugged incoherence, led him to sell his share of the management company to his partner Michael Jeffery. Chandler quit in May 1968, leaving Hendrix sole producer on the project.
Hendrix' studio perfectionism was legendary – he and Mitch Mitchell recorded well over 50 takes of "Gypsy Eyes" over three sessions, Hendrix was generally insecure about his voice and often recorded his vocals hidden behind studio screens. Hendrix sang all the backing vocals himself on the title track and on "Long Hot Summer Night". He was said to be very happy with the vocal results on "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)".
Many of the album tracks show Hendrix's vision expanding far beyond the scope of the original trio and saw him collaborating with a range of outside musicians including Dave Mason, Chris Wood and Steve Winwood from Traffic; future Band of Gypsys drummer Buddy Miles; Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady; former Dylan organist Al Kooper; and members of 'the Serfs': Mike Finnegan on organ, Freddie Smith on saxophone, and Larry Faucette on congas. Cooperation between Hendrix and Redding, who was of the same opinion about time spent in the studio as Chandler, was strained during production. Hendrix plays bass on many tracks, including the bass solo on "1983". At times Hendrix recorded bass tracks simply to make things proceed faster. Redding plays acoustic guitar and sings lead vocals with Mitchell on "Little Miss Strange".
Hendrix wrote to Reprise describing exactly what he wanted for the cover art, but was mostly ignored. He expressly asked for a color photo by Linda Eastman of the group sitting with children on a sculpture from Alice in Wonderland in Central Park, even drawing a picture of it for reference. The company instead used a blurred red and yellow photo of his head, taken by Karl Ferris. Track Records had its own art department, which produced a cover depicting nineteen nude women lounging in front of a black background taken by photographer David Montgomery, who also shot the inside cover portrait of Hendrix. In interviews, Hendrix expressed displeasure and embarrassment with this "naked lady" cover, much as he was displeased with the Axis: Bold As Love cover which he found disrespectful. ==Release and reception==
Electric Ladyland was released on October 25, 1968 on Reprise Records in the US, and Track Records in the UK. The UK edition reached #6 on its release.
Tony Glover in a November 1968 review in Rolling Stone was hesitant with his praise, feeling that the album is "an extended look into Hendrix's head" and that "mostly it seems to have some pretty good things in it"; he wondered if Hendrix was all style with no substance - a "psychedelic superspade", or if he was genuinely "a damn good musician/producer", and concluded that if you approach Hendrix through the music rather than the image, that he is "amazing".
Electric Ladyland has been featured on many "greatest album" lists including #10 on Classic Rock UK's list of 100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever and #37 on the Times' 100 Best Albums of All Time. In 2005 Q magazine readers voted Electric Ladyland the 38th greatest album of all time; in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at #72. In 2003, Rolling Stone declared it the 55th greatest album of all time. The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Also, the Source magazine ranked it #40 on their Critics Top 100 Black Music Albums of All Time list in 2006.
All songs written by Jimi Hendrix, except where noted.
|1.||"...And the Gods Made Love"||1:21|
|2.||"Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)"||2:11|
|5.||"Little Miss Strange" (Noel Redding)||2:52|
|6.||"Long Hot Summer Night"||3:27|
|7.||"Come On (Part I)" (Earl King)||4:09|
|9.||"Burning of the Midnight Lamp"||3:39|
|10.||"Rainy Day, Dream Away"||3:42|
|11.||"1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"||13:39|
|12.||"Moon, Turn the Tides... Gently Gently Away"||1:02|
|13.||"Still Raining, Still Dreaming"||4:25|
|14.||"House Burning Down"||4:33|
|15.||"All Along the Watchtower" (Bob Dylan)||4:01|
|16.||"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"||5:12|
|Disc one, sides one and four|
|1.||"And the Gods Made Love"||1:22|
|2.||"Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)"||2:11|
|5.||"Still Raining, Still Dreaming"||4:25|
|6.||"House Burning Down"||4:33|
|7.||"All Along the Watchtower" (Bob Dylan)||4:00|
|8.||"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"||5:13|
|Disc two, sides two and three|
|9.||"Little Miss Strange" (Noel Redding)||2:51|
|10.||"Long Hot Summer Night"||3:27|
|11.||"Come On" (Earl King)||4:10|
|13.||"The Burning of the Midnight Lamp"||3:40|
|14.||"Rainy Day, Dream Away"||3:42|
|15.||"1983...(A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"||4:49|
|16.||"Moon, Turn the Tides...Gently Gently Away"||9:54|
As was common with some multi-LP albums, sides one and four were pressed back to back on the same platter, likewise sides two and three. This was called "auto-coupling" or "automatic sequence" and was intended to make it easier to play through the entire album in sequence on automatic record-changers. In this case it has led to some CD releases of Electric Ladyland that have the sides in the incorrect one-four-two-three order. The cassette tape version altered the running order to keep both sides of the tape as equal as possible, a standard practice.
On the original LP version, "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)" is 13:39 and "Moon, Turn the Tides... Gently, Gently Away" is 1:01, the total being 14:40. On the Nudes version, "1983" is 4:49 while "Moon, Turn the Tides" is 9:54, the total being 14:43, just three seconds longer than the original.
Credits taken from the 1993 MCA compact disc booklet.
- Jimi Hendrix – lead vocals, guitar, piano, percussion, comb and tissue paper kazoo, electric harpsichord, bass on "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)", "Long Hot Summer Night", "Gypsy Eyes", "1983", "House Burning Down", and "All Along the Watchtower"
- Noel Redding – backing vocals, bass on "Crosstown Traffic", "Little Miss Strange", "Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)", "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", acoustic guitar and lead vocals on "Little Miss Strange"
- Mitch Mitchell – backing vocals, drums (except on "Rainy Day Dream Away" and "Still Raining, Still Dreaming"), percussion, lead vocals on "Little Miss Strange"
- Jack Casady – bass on "Voodoo Chile"
- Brian Jones – percussion on "All Along the Watchtower"
- Al Kooper – piano on "Long Hot Summer Night"
- Dave Mason – twelve string guitar on "All Along the Watchtower", backing vocals on "Crosstown Traffic"
- The Sweet Inspirations – backing vocals on "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"
- Steve Winwood – organ on "Voodoo Chile"
- Chris Wood – flute on "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)"
On "Rainy Day, Dream Away" and "Still Raining, Still Dreaming":
- Producer - Jimi Hendrix
- Engineers - Eddie Kramer and Gary Kellgren
- Mixed by Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Kramer, and Gary Kellgren
- Arranged by Jimi Hendrix
- US cover liner note by Jimi Hendrix
- US cover design - Karl Ferris
- US cover inside photos - Linda Eastman and David Sygall
- US art direction - Ed Thrasher
- UK cover design - David King, Rob O'Connor
- UK cover inside photos - David Montgomery
- First CD remaster by Lee Herschberg (Reprise 6307-2)
- Second CD remaster by Alan Douglas - Remastering by Joe Gastwirt, Liner notes by Michael Fairchild
- Third CD remaster by Experience Hendrix - Remastering by Eddie Kramer and George Marino, Art direction by Vartan, Liner notes by Jeff Leve, Essay by Derek Taylor
|1968||Billboard Top 200 Albums||1|
|1968||UK Albums Chart||6|
|1967||"Burning of the Midnight Lamp"||UK Singles Chart||18|
|1968||"All Along the Watchtower"||Billboard Hot 100||20|
|UK Singles Chart||5|
|"Crosstown Traffic"||Billboard Hot 100||52|
|1969||"Crosstown Traffic"||UK Singles Chart||37|
|1970||"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"||UK Singles Chart||1|
|1971||"Gypsy Eyes/Remember"||UK Singles Chart||35|
|1990||"All Along the Watchtower EP (with "Hey Joe" & "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)")||UK Singles Chart||52|
|1990||"Crosstown Traffic"||UK Singles Chart||61|