The sheer emotional impact of Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” sparked my fascination. His squealing guitar effects depicting the incoming descent of bombs that were soon “bursting in air,” grabbed me, especially as intensified on film when Hendrix “lip synched” the resulting cries and screams. His performance makes the abstract so very human. For me Hendrix’s Woodstock anthem of August 18, 1969, remains atop the list of the most powerful performances of Francis Scott Key’s song ever created.
The Woodstock anthem gets even more interesting when compared with the other 40 or so surviving recordings of Hendrix performing the song. They reveal Hendrix’s artistic as well as political evolution and define the critical and patriotic extremes of his expression to place Woodstock firmly in the middle as a combination of both. Here's a look at five incredible Hendrix versions of "The Star Spangled Banner.' Want more Hendrix? Catch Mark Clague going deep on all-things Hendrix at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives on Wednesday, March 25, 2015!
Hendrix first references the anthem melody a year ...
In the pantheon of rock and roll's greatest guitarists, there is a cadre of fabled axemen who consistently bubble to the top, including such Hall of Fame Inductees as Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, BB King and Jimmy Page – all artists represented at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. And no discussion of six-string masters would be complete without Eddie Van Halen, the innovative firebrand that turned the world of guitar playing on its ear in the late 70s and early 1980s. "I was so used to doing old blues licks with the first three fingers," Van Halen once explained to a reporter. "When I started using my pinky and finding more spread things, that's when I started getting my own style." That style went on to influence millions of budding shredders. Here are five tracks that contributed to that influence:
Guitar Solo, from Live Without a Net (1986)
Van Halen went out with something to prove during the live tour for the 5150 album. With new singer Sammy Hagar, the band had to show fans and critics alike that it could keep rocking without Diamond Dave ...
On October 26, 2013, a once-in-a-lifetime collection of musicians gathered in Cleveland, Ohio, for the Rock Hall's Music Masters tribute to the Rolling Stones. That evening's concert at the Playhouse Square State Theater was anchored by a group of top flight musicians who have performed with the Rolling Stones over their 50-year career and contributed to shaping the band’s extraordinary sound.
Grammy Award-winning drummer Steve Jordan led the house band as musical director, assembling a group of critically-acclaimed musicians, including 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Ian McLagan.
McLagan had played on the Rolling Stones' Some Girls album and toured with the group in 1978, 1981 and 1982.
Among the incredible performers sharing the stage with McLagan that night was the incomparable Bobby Keys, the legendary sax player for Elvis Presley, Joe Cocker, B.B. King and others, including the Rolling Stones. Keys had been recording and touring with the Rolling Stones since 1970, appearing on Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goats Head Soup, Emotional Rescue and several live albums.
WATCH: In the clip below, Bobby Keys delivers a fiery solo during a jam on the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers cut ...
On January 9, 1944, Jimmy Page was born in England. A talented multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer, Page is best known for his incomparable guitar virtuosity, and is one of the most influential guitarists of all time. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: in 1992 as a member of the Yardbirds and in 1995 as a founding member of Led Zeppelin.
Page picked up his first guitar at a young age, seeking to emulate rockabilly guitarists of the Fifties, such as Scotty Moore and James Burton. His appreciation and tastes quickly expanded to include folk, blues and skiffle, and he would play in a band that favored the latter.
By the Sixties, Page was an in-demand session musician, playing on songs for Donovan ("Hurdy Gurdy Man"), Them ("Gloria") and the Who ("I Can't Explain"), among others. Page joined the Yardbirds in the mid Sixties, for a period sharing the stage with friend and fellow guitarist Jeff Beck, who had replaced Eric Clapton on lead guitar. "You'd listen to Jeff along the way, and you'd go - wow, he's getting really, really good," said Page during Jeff Beck's 2009 Hall of ...
More than any other musician, Jimi Hendrix realized the fullest range of sound that could be obtained from an amplified instrument. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound of rock and roll. Hendrix helped usher in the age of psychedelia with his 1967 debut, Are You Experienced, and the impact of his brief but meteoric career on popular music continues to be felt. With such an incredible catalog of work, it's impossible to overstate the impact of the 1992 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. The Rock Hall selected 10 songs that we feel are essential listening. What songs would be on your list?
"The Wind Cries Mary" (Are You Experienced, 1967)
"Hey Joe" (Are you Experienced, 1967)
"Red House" (Are You Experienced, 1967)
"Little Wing" (Axis: Bold As Love, 1967)
"Castles Made of Sand" (Axis: Bold As Love, 1967)
"If 6 was 9" (Axis: Bold As Love, 1967)
"All Along The Watchtower" (Electric Ladyland, 1969)
"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (Electric Ladyland, 1969)
"Crosstown Traffic" (Electric Ladyland, 1969)
"Machine Gun" (Band ...