Thursday, September 30, 2010

We are fair and balanced - a dissenting view on Jimi Hendrix's talents as a lyricist

Not too long ago, I wrote a blog post that contained the following introduction:

As a lyricist, Jimi Hendrix was with peer.

I went on to say:

His hippie 60's lyrical musings are not on a par with Dylan, Lennon, McCartney, Simon, or others of that decade.

I was curious to see if anyone ranked Hendrix highly as a lyricist, and I found someone who not only praised his prowess, but also chose to discuss the song that I had implicitly derided. Matt Coleman, the floor is yours.

Let’s look at one of my favorite Hendrix compositions, “The Wind Cries Mary.” Supposedly, Hendrix wrote this song after he and his then girlfriend Kathy Etchingham had an argument over her cooking. Kathy, I am so very happy your cooking did not please Jimi. Kathy, whose middle name is Mary, stormed out of the house and Jimi was left with a decision, eat the unpleasant food or write the song. Just kidding of course. Maybe Jimi was just not very hungry....

Hendrix demonstrates a great adroitness for metaphor and sensitive repetition. I, obviously am partial to the court references, but, they work quite well in the song. “Somewhere a queen is weeping, Somewhere a king has no wife.” These two lines in the second verse are by far the best in the song. The words elevate the song to an ethereal level and help represent Hendrix’s situation mystically.

Read more here.

Now I just have to find someone who thinks that Eddie Van Halen is a good guitarist - whoops, I forgot that some people actually think he IS a good guitarist.
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