Third Stone from the Sun
|"Third Stone From the Sun"|
|Song by The Jimi Hendrix Experience from the album Are You Experienced|
|Released||May 12, 1967 (UK)
August 23, 1967 (US)
|Genre||Space rock, psychedelic rock, jazz fusion, acid rock|
|Label||Track Records (UK)|
|Are You Experienced track listing|
(UK) Side 1
(UK) Side 2
"Third Stone From the Sun" is a song written and originally recorded by Jimi Hendrix and released as "3rd Stone from the Sun" on the 1967 Are You Experienced album by Jimi Hendrix Experience. It is mostly an instrumental, but includes pieces of spoken word, performed by Hendrix, over the music.
Because the song mixes the styles of rock and jazz, it is often cited as one of the earliest examples of fusion. The title is a direct reference to Earth, which is the third planet away from the Sun in the Solar System.
The song features slowed-down voices and dialogues between Hendrix and his manager Chas Chandler. They wanted to reproduce the spacy sounds from Star Trek. The word "Stone" in the title was a way to depict the Earth from an alien point of view.
With the track sped-up by a factor of two (or playing the 33⅓ RPM LP at 45 RPM), one can clearly hear what is said, especially at the beginning of the song. The version heard on The Jimi Hendrix Experience: 1966–1967 begins with the overdub session for the dialogue, including Hendrix and Chandler's first "verse" at regular speed, including two incomplete outtakes:
- Hendrix : Star fleet to scout ship, please give your position. Over.
- Chandler : I am in orbit around the third planet of star known as sun. Over.
- Hendrix : May this be Earth? Over.
- Chandler : Positive. It is known to have some form of intelligent species. Over.
- Hendrix : I think we should take a look (Jimi then makes vocal spaceship noises).
On the original mono version (titled "3rd Stone From The Sun") the last line is buried by a normal speed overdub of Jimi saying "War, speak water" followed by a very quiet "Speak" (he later used this unusual phrase in 'Freedom' - "You've got my heart, speak electric water"); this was removed from the stereo version in favor of revealing the last line - "I think we should take a look".
The later stereo mix reveals more slowed talk, e.g. "Yeah, a acid drop can make people fly", etc.
Towards the end of the song, which was the only instrumental on the album, Hendrix, in what has been popularly perceived to be a taunt to the popular music of the period, says, "To you I shall put an end, then you'll never hear surf music again." However, according to popular surf musician Dick Dale in the liner notes of Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology, the line "Then you'll never hear surf music again" was Hendrix's reaction upon hearing that Dale was battling a possibly terminal case of colon cancer, intended to encourage his comrade to recuperate. Dale, in gratitude to his late friend, later covered this song as a tribute to Hendrix. This interpretation is given some credence in the aforementioned overdub sessions which reveal two additional sentences:
- Hendrix: ...Then you'll never hear surf music again. That sounds like a lie to me. Come on, man; let's go home.
Notable covers 
- Pat Metheny recorded a cover of "Third Stone from the Sun" for the 1993 album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix. "Third Stone", along with "Purple Haze", was frequently covered live by Jaco Pastorius.
- Stevie Ray Vaughan played a live cover medley of "Little Wing" / "Third Stone from the Sun", on the 2004 compilation cover album, Power of Soul: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix.
- Gary Clark Jr. recorded a cover of "Third Stone from the Sun" for his 2012 debut album Blak and Blu.
- Psychograss recorded a cover on their album, Like Minds.
- "Third Stone from the Sun" figures prominently in the soundtrack of the 2003 film The Dreamers, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.
- Carlos Santana sometimes played the chorus melody riff during the second half of Black Magic Woman at live performances.
- Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas plays the chorus in the style of Jaco Pastorius on the Earthsuit song, "Outro Medley" from The Rise of Modern Simulation.
- Utilized by German disco group Boney M. as an instrumental introduction to "Rasputine", released 28 August 1978.
- Punk band The Cortinas included the riff in live performances of "Gloria".
- * Part of the guitar chorus melody has been quoted on other records, amongst them:
- -- The Amboy Dukes ( "Baby, Please Don't Go" ),
- -- Cozy Powell ( "Dance with the Devil" ),
- -- Weather Report ( "Slang" ),
- -- The Allman Brothers ( "Mountain Jam" ),
- -- Bruno Blum ( "Bruno Blum Bruno Blum Bruno Blum" ),
- -- Right Said Fred ( "I'm Too Sexy" ).
- Dick Dale, Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology (Rhino Records, 1997), liner notes to Disc 2, Track 12.