You know that feeling you get when you hear unknown music and you think, Wow. This changes everything. That’s the reaction I had upon hearing Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Its release came only a couple of months after Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles, and the comfortable walls of singles-oriented rock had effectively been blown away.
Are You Experienced contains several of Jimi Hendrix’s (Great American Things, June 15, 2009) best-known songs, including “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” “The Wind Cries Mary,” and “Foxy Lady.” Everyone knows about Hendrix’s talent, of course, but the Experience was a three-person group. Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass both contributed significantly to the album’s unique sound. As did the expert production by Chas Chandler, a British musician who made his name as the bass player for the British blues-rock band The Animals.
Rolling Stone named Are You Experienced the number 15 album in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. And a poll in Guitar World magazine named it the greatest album of the millennium. (Must have been crushing to Greatest Gregorian Chants and The World of Madrigals.)