Smash Hits (The Jimi Hendrix Experience album)

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Smash Hits
Greatest hits album by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Released April 16, 1968
Recorded October 1966-July 1967 (UK)
October 1966-May 1968 (US)
Genre Psychedelic rock, blues rock, acid rock, hard rock
Length 44:31
Label MCA
Producer Chas Chandler (UK)
Chas Chandler, Jimi Hendrix (US)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience chronology
Axis: Bold as Love
(1967)
Smash Hits
(1968)
Electric Ladyland
(1968)

Smash Hits is a compilation of singles by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the very first compilation album for Jimi Hendrix, released in mono in the United Kingdom in 1968 on Track Records 612004, and a year later in stereo in the United States on Reprise Records, catalogue 2276. It peaked at number four on the British album chart[1] and number six on the Billboard 200,[2] and has been certified double platinum by the RIAA.[3]

Content[edit]

The 'rest of the world outside of US/Canada' (and in this unique case Barclay France who released their own choice of 'Greatest Hits') version appeared only four months after the second studio album, Axis: Bold as Love, while the band worked on their third. It contained their first four UK hit singles, "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze", "The Wind Cries Mary", and Burning of the Midnight Lamp", along with respective B-sides, supplemented by four tracks taken from the debut LP Are You Experienced: "Fire", "Can You See Me", "Manic Depression", and "Foxy Lady". It marked the first appearance on album of "Burning of the Midnight Lamp", five months ahead of its placement on Electric Ladyland.

In the US, however, Reprise Records felt that a greatest-hits collection would have been premature in 1968, as up to then Hendrix had only had three low-charting singles in the US: "Purple Haze" peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #65, with "Foxy Lady" at #67 and a track taken from Axis, "Up From the Skies," at #82. Hendrix gained two more chart entries in 1968, tracks from Electric Ladyland "Crosstown Traffic" going to #52 and "All Along the Watchtower," his only US Top 40 'hit', at #20. A stereo version of "Fire" issued as a single in April 1969 missed the chart. As no new studio album was on the horizon in 1969, partly owing to the disbanding of the Experience by Hendrix exacerbated by tensions with Noel Redding, the label decided to issue a different compilation with the same title. To include three British hit singles on the American configuration of the debut album, there were also the tracks that had been elbowed off the UK Experienced which had yet to be released on album in the States, or in stereo.

The US version therefore contains five of the six singles released in the US, the three deleted tracks from the 'rest of the world outside of US/Canada' Are You Experienced — "Can You See Me," "Remember," and "Red House" — along with two European singles "The Wind Cries Mary" and "Hey Joe," "Stone Free" which had originally been the B-side of "Hey Joe" and would be released as a single in the US seven weeks after this LP, and the album track "Manic Depression." In fact, on the US version all but "Crosstown Traffic" and "All Along the Watchtower" had appeared on either the American or British version of Are You Experienced, with "Stone Free" the flip of one of its singles.

The Japanese Polydor release had a uniquely different print of the US/Canada Are You Experienced fish-eye photograph cover by Karl Ferris. The remastered US version of this compilation was released on compact disc on March 9, 2010. Neither the UK nor US version contained tracks from Axis: Bold As Love.

The CD release in the late 1980s from Reprise Records is notable for being one of the few CDs to use the CD+G technology that would display graphics while the CD plays on certain systems hooked into a television.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars link

In 2005, the US version was released under the 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection line.

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Jimi Hendrix, except where noted. The stereo take of "Red House" derives from a different session than the original mono take found on the UK Are You Experienced.

UK version[edit]

  1. "Purple Haze" – 2:52
  2. "Fire" – 2:45
  3. "The Wind Cries Mary" – 3:20
  4. "Can You See Me" – 2:33
  5. "51st Anniversary" – 3:16
  6. "Hey Joe" (Roberts) – 3:30
  7. "Stone Free" – 3:36
  8. "The Stars That Play with Laughing Sam's Dice" – 4:21
  9. "Manic Depression" – 3:42
  10. "Highway Chile" – 3:32
  11. "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" – 3:39
  12. "Foxy Lady" – 3:18

US version[edit]

  1. "Purple Haze" – 2:52
  2. "Fire" – 2:45
  3. "The Wind Cries Mary" – 3:20
  4. "Can You See Me" – 2:33
  5. "Hey Joe" (Roberts) – 3:30
  6. "All Along the Watchtower" (Dylan) – 4:00
  7. "Stone Free" – 3:36
  8. "Crosstown Traffic" – 2:19
  9. "Manic Depression" – 3:42
  10. "Remember" – 2:48
  11. "Red House" – 3:50
  12. "Foxey Lady" (sic) – 3:19

Personnel[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1968 Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart 1
Preceded by
The Seekers' Greatest Hits
by The Seekers
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
November 23–30, 1968
Succeeded by
The Graduate (soundtrack)
by Various artists

References[edit]