Top 10 Posthumous Jimi Hendrix Albums
Jimi Hendrix released only three studio albums and one live LP before he died on Sept. 18, 1970, at the age of 27. His legacy is built on that classic trio of records, but it's grown over the past four decades thanks to dozens of albums that have been released since his death. Some of those records simply repackage the songs you're familiar with to make a quick buck; some of them contain outtakes and live cuts that are almost as important as 'Purple Haze.' Our list of the Top 10 Posthumous Jimi Hendrix Albums will help you sort though all these albums. You'll find everything from career-spanning box sets and live LPs to fully realized works that attempt to replicate the records Hendrix was working on when he passed away.
'Valleys of Neptune' (2010)
Remarkably, the dozen studio tracks on this 2010 album had never been released before. Mostly recorded with the original Experience after the release of 'Electric Ladyland' in 1968, 'Valleys of Neptune' includes reworked versions of Hendrix classics like 'Stone Free' and 'Fire,' as well as instrumental cover of Cream's 'Sunshine of Your Love' and a few bluesy originals. Highlights: the title tune and a cover of Elmore James' 'Bleeding Heart.'
'Live at Monterey' (2007)
This remastered version of 1986's 'Jimi Plays Monterey' features one of Hendrix's most significant performances: His breakthrough show at the Monterey Pop Festival on June 18, 1967. You can't see him set his guitar on fire here, but you can hear the electricity surging through the festival grounds. Most of the songs come from Hendrix's just-released debut album, 'Are You Experienced,' along with a few blues covers, like the scorching set-opener, Howlin' Wolf's 'Killing Floor.'
'Live at the Fillmore East' (1999)
'Live at the Fillmore East' is basically an expanded version of the 1970 live album 'Band of Gypsies,' which was recorded on New Year's Eve 1969 at the legendary New York club. Hendrix's new trio were bluesier and jazzier than the Experience, so the 16 songs here -- including reworked versions of 'Stone Free' and 'Voodoo Child (Slight Return)' -- swing harder. Highlight: the anti-war jam 'Machine Gun.'
'Live at Woodstock' (1999)
Hendrix's festival-closing set is the stuff of legend -- mostly because his instrumental take on 'Star Spangled Banner' sounds like a thousand bombs dropping on unsuspecting hippies at an ungodly hour. This 1999 album gathers almost his entire show (two songs sung by a rhythm guitarist are MIA), which was made up of familiar songs like 'Foxy Lady' and 'Purple Haze' as well as a few blues covers. And 'Star Spangled Banner,' of course.
'South Saturn Delta' (1997)
This 1997 album gathers a bunch of leftovers that had shown up on other posthumous albums over the years, like the out-of-print 'Rainbow Bridge' and 'War Heroes.' It's mostly a collection of demos, alternate takes and sketches of songs recorded between 1967 and the time of Hendrix's death, but it's an essential piece for collectors. Highlights: The unreleased 'Here He Comes (Lover Man)' and the 1967 B-side 'The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice.'
'BBC Sessions' (1998)
Everybody who is anybody in British music has performed for the BBC -- the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who, among countless others, have recorded live sessions for British radio. In 1967 and 1969, Hendrix and the Experience laid down more than three dozen tracks. This two-disc set gathers almost all of them. There's plenty of familiar Hendrix songs here ('Fire,' 'Hey Joe,' etc.), but the great covers -- including Bob Dylan's 'Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?' and the Beatles' 'Day Tripper' -- make it one of the Top 10 Posthumous Jimi Hendrix Albums.
'The Jimi Hendrix Experience' (2000)
This four-disc box set includes some previously released material -- mostly the songs you'd expect on an anthology like this. But it's also stuffed with lots of alternate versions, live cuts and other rare tracks making their first appearances. It's one of the best primers for fans who want to dive a little deeper into Hendrix's surprisingly vast catalog.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience performed six shows over three days at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom in October 1968. This four-disc set gathers 35 of the songs, plus a rambling interview Hendrix gave backstage from another venue a month later. Like so many of the LPs on our list of the Top 10 Posthumous Jimi Hendrix Albums, it's the cover tunes that make it worth hearing. Highlight: a bluesy, crawling take on Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone.'
'First Rays of the New Sun' (1997)
When he died, Hendrix was working on a followup to 'Electric Ladyland' that promised to be even more ambitious than that 1968 classic. 'First Rays of the New Sun' is the best attempt to reconstruct the record that most likely would have been Hendrix's fourth studio album. Most of the 17 songs here had shown up on other posthumous records (many of them are now out of print), but they make much more sense within this context. Other songs from the sessions appeared on 'South Saturn Delta' (see No. 6 on our list of the Top 10 Posthumous Jimi Hendrix Albums). Highlights: 'Freedom,' 'Angel,' 'Ezy Rider,' 'My Friend' and 'Stepping Stone.'
'West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology' (2010)
Like 2000's 'The Jimi Hendrix Exprience' box (see No. 4 on our list of the Top 10 Posthumous Jimi Hendrix Albums), the four-disc 'West Coast Seattle Boy' tells Hendrix's story through his music. But this terrific set plays out like a biography, starting with his session work for R&B stars like the Isley Brothers and Little Richard, and ending with some of the final recordings he made just months before his death. In between are tons of previously unreleased studio jams, concert performances and cover songs (like an acoustic cover of Dylan and the Band's 'Tears of Rage') that confirm Hendrix's legacy as one of the all-time greats.