In October 1968, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released their third album Electric Ladyland. It was considered to be the group’s most ambitious album, as while it contained the group’s brand of psychedelic and blues rock, it would up the ante from their two 1967 albums Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold as Love in various ways.
Electric Ladyland was released as a double album, as it would contain Hendrix’s expanding musical vision, one that would two powerful epic tracks; the blues jam of “Voodoo Chile”, and the studio production of “1983…(A Merman I Should Turn to Be)”. The album also included a little bit of New Orleans-style R&B in the song “Come On”, as well as 1960s Britpop in “Little Miss Strange” (with bassist Noel Redding on lead vocal). But the standout tracks of Electric Ladyland were “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”, and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”.
Another reason Electric Ladyland was so ambitious, was the fact it was produced by Hendrix himself, following a fallout midway with Chas Chandler, who produced the Experience’s last two albums. Also, at a time where albums usually take a few weeks or months to complete, recording of Electric Ladyland took a little over nine months, as sessions began in December 1967, and lasted through August 1968. The cover art would be another story in itself. In the UK, the record sleeve contained a photograph of nude women lounging in front of a black background, something that Hendrix was not happy with. However, in the US a blurred red and yellow photo of Hendrix’s head was used for the cover.
Electric Ladyland would go on to be Hendrix’s first and only number one album in the U.S., topping the charts in November 1968, which would also be the same time Are You Experienced would still be in the top ten, long after it’s 1967 release. The accolades of the album continued throughout time, as it would be deemed one of the top 100 greatest albums in various sources, including Rolling Stone, Classic Rock UK, and even the Source magazines. It is even declared one of the 1001 albums one must hear before passing away.