I just found out that Jimi’s “Hey Joe” is actually a cover! It was written by The Leaves, a garage band out of L.A., a year before Hendrix first performed the song in 1966. Tim Rose, a folk rock singer, also covered the song before Hendrix, and was the first to slow it down. Rose’s version inspired Jimi to record the song later that same year. Countless other artists (including such beasts as The Who and…Cher) have since covered the song as well. What I find most interesting is how Jimi took the fast, punk-sounding guitar riff, slowed it down and played it on his Strat, turning it into a jammy, bluesy refrain. Not just anyone could pull that off. Good recordings of the original “Hey Joe” are hard to come by, so I’ve posted the highest quality video I could find.
“Hey Joe” by The Leaves:
“Hey Joe” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience: