Rainbow Bridge (album)

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Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow bridge 1971.jpg
Compilation album by Jimi Hendrix
Released October 1971 (1971-10)
Recorded October 1968 – July 1970
Venue Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, California
Genre Rock
Length 42:22
Label Reprise
Jimi Hendrix US chronology
The Cry of Love
Rainbow Bridge
Hendrix in the West
Jimi Hendrix UK chronology
Isle of Wight
Rainbow Bridge
Hendrix in the West
Singles from Rainbow Bridge
  1. "Dolly Dagger"
    Released: October 23, 1971

Rainbow Bridge is a compilation album[1] by American rock musician Jimi Hendrix. It was the second posthumous album release by his official record company and is mostly composed of recordings Hendrix made in 1969 and 1970 after the breakup of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Despite the cover photo and subtitle Original Motion Picture Sound Track, it does not contain any songs recorded during his (Maui) concert appearance for the 1971 film Rainbow Bridge.

Continuing in the vein of The Cry of Love, the first official posthumous Hendrix album, Rainbow Bridge explores new guitar styles and textures. All the songs, except for a solo studio version of "The Star Spangled Banner", are written by Hendrix and mostly performed with Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass.

The songs on Rainbow Bridge represent material in various stages of development and were never finalized or approved for release by Hendrix. Four of the songs on the album, along with the ten songs from The Cry of Love and three from War Heroes, were planned for Hendrix's follow-up album to the live Band of Gypsys, released in March 1970. These songs were later included on Voodoo Soup in 1995 and First Rays of the New Rising Sun in 1997, which were attempts at completing the double album Hendrix was working on at the time of his death.


Despite the title, Rainbow Bridge was not a soundtrack to the film of the same name but rather a compilation of one live song and studio recordings from a number of sources between 1968 and 1970, including some for his planned but unfinished double album First Rays of the New Rising Sun.[2] "Look Over Yonder" began as "Mr. Bad Luck" while Hendrix was performing in Greenwich Village, New York City, with his group Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in the summer of 1966.[3] The version included on Rainbow Bridge was recorded by the Experience in 1968.[3] Two songs by the 'Band of Gypsys', "Room full of Mirrors" and "Earth Blues" date from 1969, although the latter has subsequent drum overdubs by Mitchell.[3] "The Star Spangled Banner" is a 1969 solo studio recording by Hendrix. The remainder of the songs were recorded with the 'Cry of Love' group (Mitchell and Cox) in 1970: "Dolly Dagger", "Pali Gap", and "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)". "Hear My Train A Comin'" is a live recording from the first show on May 30, 1970, at the Berkeley Community Theatre.[3] An edited version appears in the 1971 concert film Jimi Plays Berkeley.[4]

The album was the second to be produced by Eddie Kramer and Mitch Mitchell, with John Jansen assisting. It was released in October 1971 in the US, and the following month in the UK where it reached numbers 15 and 16 respectively in the album charts.[5] "Dolly Dagger" with "The Star Spangled Banner" as the B-side was released as a single in the US in October 1971.[6] It appeared at number 74 in the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.[6] In 2014, the original Rainbow Bridge album was reissued in both CD and LP formats.[7]

According to Setting The Record Straight by John McDermott with Eddie Kramer, "Izabella" and "Stepping Stone" were pulled from the track listing in the final stages and replaced with the live version of "Hear My Train A Comin' " from Berkeley. "Izabella" and "Stepping Stone" were instead used the improve the next posthumous release War Heroes per Mike Jeffery. "Bleeding Heart" was also considered but ultimately used on War Heroes.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[8]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[9]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music2/5 stars[10]
Mojo4/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[12]

According to AllMusic's Sean Westergaard, "when Rainbow Bridge was originally released, it was actually among the best of the posthumous Hendrix releases ... a mix of excellent, finished studio tracks and a couple of live tracks."[8] In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone magazine, Tony Glover wrote favorably of the songs on side one, particularly the "really majestic version" of "The Star-Spangled Banner".[13] In Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau said while The Cry of Love (1971) highlighted Hendrix's abilities as a songwriter, Rainbow Bridge showcased his guitar playing:

Rich stuff, exploring territory that as always with Hendrix consists not merely of notes but of undifferentiated sound, a sound he shapes with a virtuosity no one else has ever achieved on an electric instrument.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jimi Hendrix, except where noted

Side one
1."Dolly Dagger"4:45
2."Earth Blues"4:20
3."Pali Gap"5:05
4."Room Full of Mirrors"3:17
5."Star Spangled Banner" (John Stafford Smith, arr. Hendrix) (Studio version)4:07
Side two
6."Look Over Yonder"3:28
7."Hear My Train A Comin'" (Live)11:15
8."Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)"6:05

Recording details[edit]

  • Tracks 1, 3 and 8 recorded at Electric Lady Studios, New York City, July 1, 1970
  • Track 2 recorded at Record Plant Studios, New York City, December 19, 1969 and Electric Lady Studios, July 1970
  • Track 4 recorded at Record Plant Studios, November 17, 1969 and Electric Lady Studios, July 1970
  • Track 5 recorded at Record Plant Studios, March 18, 1969
  • Track 6 recorded at TTG Studios, Hollywood, October 22, 1968
  • Track 7 recorded at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, California, May 30, 1970 (first show)


Songs included on later releases[edit]

All of the songs on Rainbow Bridge have been reissued on later Hendrix albums. These include:


  1. ^ Moskowitz, David (2010). The Words and Music of Jimi Hendrix. ABC-CLIO. p. 91. ISBN 0313375925. Retrieved August 11, 2015. The Rainbow Bridge album was a true compilation. 
  2. ^ Unterberger, Richie (2009). "The Legacy: 1970—Present". The Rough Guide to Jimi Hendrix. Penguin Books. ISBN 1405381094. ...the Rainbow Bridge album, which despite its title was not a soundtrack to the film of the same name. Instead, it was a rather hodgepodge compilation of 1968-1970 studio material (and one live track) from various sources, including but hardly limited to tracks in the running for First Rays of the New Rising Sun, among them the aforementioned "Dolly Dagger" and "Room Full of Mirrors". 
  3. ^ a b c d Shapiro 1995, pp. 540–541.
  4. ^ Shapiro 1995, pp. 702–706.
  5. ^ Shapiro 1995, p. 540.
  6. ^ a b Shapiro 1995, p. 541.
  7. ^ "The Cry of Love & Rainbow Bridge to Be Reissued on CD & LP September 16". JimiHendrix.com (official website). Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. September 16, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Westergaard, Sean. "Rainbow Bridge". AllMusic. Retrieved January 26, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Christgau 1981, p. 174.
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 4. Oxford University Press. p. 249. ISBN 0-19-531373-9. 
  11. ^ Alexander, Phil (November 2014). "Jimi Hendrix Rainbow Bridge". Mojo. p. 112. 
  12. ^ Evans, Paul; Brackett, Nathan (1992). "Jimi Hendrix". In DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (3rd ed.). Random House. pp. 374–75. ISBN 0679737294. 
  13. ^ Glover 1971.
  14. ^ Fairchild 1994, p. 24, backcover.
  15. ^ Loder 2001, p. 12.