The album was called Axis: Bold as Love and it was released in the year 1967. Arguably, it is one of the most important and influential albums of all time. The album itself is spectacular and full of stories and music but first, I would like to get the more boring stuff out of the way. As many should already know, the album was recorded by Jimi Hendrix and his bandmates under the name “The Jimi Hendrix Experience”. It was released on a single vinyl disc that had two full sides. The album contained a total of 13 songs, seven on the front and six on the back.
This was the groups second studio album and was recorded and released only seven months after their first album came out. Their first album was called “Are you Experienced?” and was a hit in the United States as well as other countries. Axis: Bold as Love came after this hit album and also reached the top ten charts in the United States. So, now that most of the stats and numbers are out of the way, let’s talk about how this album was made.
Recording for the album started on May 4th, 1967 at Olympic Studios in London and finished later the same year. The band had recorded their previous album at Olympic Studios and once they finished that album they just continued their regular recording schedule and started work on Axis. The album started slow at first but after a while it started to come together. One thing that was amazing about Jimi Hendrix and his band was their ability to record a song so quickly. For many bands, recording was a long process that took many takes and then even more time engineering the songs. However, Jimi and his band would record final songs in only a handful of takes and little mixing was required for these tracks.
The band consisted of Jimi Hendrix, who was the lead guitarist and main star of the band, Mitch Mitchell, who was the drummer, and Noel Redding, who played the bass. It is important to note that Mitch Mitchell was not just a background drummer for Jimi and was actually a fantastic drummer. He is in fact considered to be one of the best drummers of all time having changed much of the way that people though about drums. Noel Redding played the bass and was also a writer and much of the bands music was co-written by Noel. Together, they made an amazing trio and created some of the best music to have ever been released.
The album had a total of 13 tracks, all of which were fantastic. In my opinion, this was the album that created the ‘Jimi Hendrix Sound’. It had as much variety as one could want from an album. It was in this album that Jimi Hendrix showed his true ability as a musician, a guitarist, and a writer. To add to that, in each one of these categories he gave something, through the album, to rock and roll. Let’s start with the guitar though as it what he will always be the most known for.
For anyone who plays guitar, you know that Jimi Hendrix is often respected as a god of sorts among guitarists. However, many people may not know why exactly this is. Before Hendrix, there was no oversized speaker or wailing pedal sounds. There were no screaming wah-wah pedals in almost any of the music of the time. And before Hendrix, there were some chords that were not even known on the guitar. Hendrix was one of the most inventive musicians to ever live, and he changed the world of guitar forever.
In much of his music he opted to use pedals to control the sound of the guitar. The pedals allowed him to manipulate the output in the amp and craft the sound to his liking. Hendrix didn’t just use the pedals like other musicians though, he pushed them to their limits and tried to create sounds that had not yet been heard before. This led to a revolution in guitar that may not have happened without Hendrix! For some reference to really understand what I am talking about, Axis: Bold as Love was released in 1967. That same year, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band which, when compared to the Hendrix album, was rather mellow.
Hendrix had created a newer, louder, and more innovative sound than anyone before him, and he used it to create some great albums. However, it is important to understand that this album was actually a lot more mellow than his first album. Many people consider this to be a much more mature album. He still had some of the loud and brash guitar but many of the songs took more inspiration from Blues, Jazz, and psychedelic experiences. The lyrics in many of the songs such as Little Wing, Bold as Love, and Spanish Castle Magic are one part poetry and one part psychedelic art. In this album, Hendrix offers us a hand and pulls us into another galaxy with him.
It was this writing that encouraged other musicians to venture farther from the normal and create art that is truly new. In fact, Hendrix still inspires today as many modern musicians still cite him as a major source of inspiration. His music still sells thousands of albums every year as he still manages to attract new fans. Maybe it is the revolutionary style that helps to keep his music alive, or maybe it is his anti-establishment sentiments that resound with many young people today. Whatever it is, Jimi Hendrix was one of the best guitarists to ever live and his memory will always live on through his songs and albums.
If you would like to read this article on the blog, you can do so here: 1969 Inc.