Spanish Castle Magic
|"Spanish Castle Magic"|
|Song by The Jimi Hendrix Experience from the album Axis: Bold as Love|
|Released||December 1, 1967|
|Recorded||October 27 and 28, 1967 at Olympic Studios in London, England|
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, acid rock, blues rock|
|Axis: Bold as Love track listing|
"Spanish Castle Magic" is a song by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Written by Jimi Hendrix and produced by Chas Chandler, it is the third track from their second studio album Axis: Bold as Love. After the release of the album, it was a staple on their live shows.
The lyrics were inspired by Jimi's high school days (roughly 1958-1961), when he regularly visited a dance hall called "The Spanish Castle". The club was south of Seattle in what was then unincorporated King County (now Des Moines, Washington). The Spanish Castle was built in the 1930s outside Seattle to avoid the city's then restrictive nightclub laws. By 1959 it began featuring top local rock groups, such as The Wailers and occasional touring stars. Events at the Spanish Castle were hosted by Seattle's best known DJ of the time, Pat O'Day. Jimi had the opportunity to play with other musicians at the club on several occasions.
Hendrix would later describe his frustration getting to the club, saying, "(The bass player) in the band had this beat-up car, and it would break down every other block, on the way there and back..." hence the line, "Takes 'bout a half a day to get there..." In the days when Jimi visited the club there was no freeway between Seattle and Des Moines, so the drive was much longer than today. It was not until the mid-1960s that Interstate 5 linked the two towns. The Spanish Castle was demolished in April 1968.
Rock critic Dave Marsh said about the song “Once you know the legend of the Wailers at the Castle and the facts of Jimi’s attendance there, the lyrics of his Spanish Castle Magic seem haunted by homesick nostalgia. It’s very far away, it takes about half a day/to get there/if we travel by my...uh...dragonfly, he sings, in the voice of a kid stranded a couple continents from home.”
The music alternates between aggressive, thickly textured guitar lines during the intro, choruses, and solos, and a riff played in rhythmic lock step by guitar, drum and bass during the verses.
- Guitarist Carlos Santana
- Finnish band Hay and Stone
- Guitarist Yngwie J. Malmsteen,who performed the song live on his album Trial by Fire
- MDC recorded a cover of "Spanish Castle Magic" on their album, Millions of Dead Cops/More Dead Cops
- Spin Doctors covered the song on the 1993 album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix.
- Hiram Bullock covered the song on his World of Collision album.
- Warren Haynes Band covered the song on the "Live at the Moody Theatre" album.
- Fly (band) (Jeff Ballard, Larry Grenadier, Mark Turner) recorded a rendition on their album "FLY"
- 1967 Radio One, 1968-03-19 Ottawa, 1968-10-12 Winterland, 1969-4-26 LA, 1969-5-24 San Diego (stages), 1970-7-4 Atlanta (stages)
- Because the Hendrix estate did not want Hendrix's distinct voice to be impersonated, a cover instrumental version is featured in Guitar Hero.
- Master recording is downloadable content for Rock Band.
- It is featured in As Good as It Gets.
- Information about The Spanish Castle in Des Moines, Washington, a legendary Seattle area dance hall where Jimi Hendrix gave some of his earliest performances
- More information about The Spanish Castle and Jimi Hendrix's early days