Third Stone from the Sun

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"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)
Recorded 1967
Genre Space rock, psychedelic rock, jazz fusion, acid rock
Length 6:52
Label Track Records (UK)
Writer Jimi Hendrix
Producer Chas Chandler
Are You Experienced track listing

(UK) Side 1

  1. "Foxy Lady"
  2. "Manic Depression"
  3. "Red House"
  4. "Can You See Me"
  5. "Love or Confusion"
  6. "I Don't Live Today"

(UK) Side 2

  1. "May This Be Love"
  2. "Fire"
  3. "3rd Stone from the Sun"
  4. "Remember"
  5. "Are You Experienced"

"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[citation needed]. 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[citation needed] 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,[1] 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.
The often-quoted guitar chorus melody.

Notable covers [edit]


  1. ^ Dick Dale, Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology (Rhino Records, 1997), liner notes to Disc 2, Track 12.

External links[edit]