Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

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"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"
Single by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
from the album Electric Ladyland
B-side "Hey Joe" and "All Along the Watchtower"
Released September 16, 1968 (album)
1970 (single)
Format 7" single
Recorded May 1968
Genre Acid rock, blues rock, hard rock, heavy metal
Length 5:12
Label Track, Polydor
Writer(s) Jimi Hendrix
Producer(s) Jimi Hendrix
The Jimi Hendrix Experience singles chronology
"No Such Animal"
"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"
Audio sample
file info · help

"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" is the last track on Electric Ladyland, the third and final album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The song is known for its wah-wah-heavy guitar work. It is #101 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs of all time.[1]

The song was recorded in 1968, and was re-released as a single after Hendrix's death in 1970. It was the A side on a three-track record, and reached Number 1 in the UK. It was catalogued as "'Voodoo Chiled" (Slight Return), and that is the title which appears on the single and is the title referred to officially. The term "slight return" refers to the song's initial role as a reprise of the 15-minute track "Voodoo Chile" featured earlier on the album Electric Ladyland.

Origins and recording[edit]

The genesis of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" was essentially in "Voodoo Chile", a long blues jam featuring guest Steve Winwood.[2] On May 3, 1968 (the day after "Voodoo Chile" was recorded), a crew from ABC filmed the Jimi Hendrix Experience while they played. As Hendrix explained it:

[S]omeone was filming when we started doing [Voodoo Child]. We did that about three times because they wanted to film us in the studio, to make us—"Make it look like you're recording, boys"—one of them scenes, you know, so, "OK, let's play this in E, a-one, a-two, a-three", and then we went into "Voodoo Child".[3]

The song became one of Hendrix's staples in live performances and would vary in length from 7 to 18 minutes. Notable live performances were at Woodstock and during his 1969 show at the Royal Albert Hall, originally released on the posthumous Hendrix in the West album, later re-released on the Experienced Box Set. On the Band of Gypsys live album Live at the Fillmore East, Hendrix refers to the song as the Black Panthers' national anthem.


Jimi Hendrix Experience


Hendrix's solo was named the 11th greatest solo of all-time in Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos; Guitar Legends Issue #46. Hendrix was listed 6 times, more than any other artist on the list.

In the same issue Joe Satriani listed this as his favorite guitar solo:

"It's just the greatest piece of electric guitar work ever recorded. In fact, the whole song could be considered the holy grail of guitar expression and technique. It is a beacon of humanity."[this quote needs a citation]

Kenny Wayne Shepherd:

"This is pretty much the guitar anthem of all time. From that amazing opening riff to the way he breaks it down in the middle and gets funky, the whole thing is incredible. There are things Jimi did on the guitar that humans just can't do. You can try all day, even if you're playing the right notes, it's not the same. It definitely seems as if he was coming from a higher place when he played."[this quote needs a citation]

Cover versions[edit]

Other usage[edit]

Samples of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" feature on the KMFDM song "We Must Awaken" from the Money album.The song has been featured in the films Payback, In the Name of the Father, Under Siege, Almost Famous, Lords of Dogtown, Black Hawk Down, Flashback and Withnail and I. Stevie Ray Vaughan's cover of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" was also featured in the 2002 film Black Hawk Down. The song has also been featured in a Nissan Xterra commercial. In addition, pro wrestler Hulk Hogan has frequently used this song as his theme music, most notably as a member of the New World Order in WCW, his return to WWE and his tenure in TNA.


  • Experience Hendrix: The Best Of Jimi Hendrix (Liner notes), Experience Hendrix, 1997.
Preceded by
"Woodstock" by Matthews Southern Comfort
UK number one single
November 21, 1970
Succeeded by
"I Hear You Knocking" by Dave Edmund's Rockpile