The Wind Cries Mary
|"The Wind Cries Mary"|
|Single by the Jimi Hendrix Experience|
|A-side||"Purple Haze" (US)|
|B-side||"Highway Chile" (UK)|
|Recorded||January 11, 1967|
|Studio||De Lane Lea, London|
|Experience UK singles chronology|
|Experience US singles chronology|
Background and recording
According to his then girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham's, account, he wrote the lyrics after an argument with her, using "Mary" (Etchingham's middle name). In a later interview, Hendrix commented that the lyrics represent "more than one person".
Billy Cox, Hendrix's long-time friend and later bassist, has noted Curtis Mayfield's influence on the song. Hendrix performed elements or an early version in the summer of 1966 with his band Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in New York City.
That was recorded at the tail end of the session for "Fire". We had about twenty minutes or so left. I suggested we cut a demo of "The Wind Cries Mary". Mitch Mitchell [drummer] and Noel Redding [bassist] hadn't heard it, so they were going about it without a rehearsal. They played it once through [and Hendrix then suggested overdubs]. In all he put on four or five more overdubs, but the whole thing was done in twenty minutes. That was our third single.
The single, backed by "Highway Chile", was released in the UK in May 1967 and reached number six on the UK Singles Chart. In the United States, the song was first released as the B-side of the "Purple Haze" single in June 1967. It was later included on the American Are You Experienced album, released in August 1967.
Hendrix often performed the song live in 1967 and 1968. A recording from the Monterey Pop Festival was later released on Jimi Plays Monterey (1986) and Live at Monterey (2007); another from the Paris L'Olympia Theatre appeared on Stages (1991), The Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000), and Live in Paris & Ottawa 1968 (2008). Stages also includes a 1967 recording from a Stockholm concert.
Impact and legacy
Rolling Stone magazine ranked "The Wind Cries Mary" number 379 on its list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". A variety of musicians have recorded the song, such as Jamie Cullum, John Mayer, Xavier Rudd, Richie Sambora, Sting, Popa Chubby, Pat Boone, and Caron Wheeler, and Johnny A.. Gil Evans later reworked the song as "Mademoiselle Mabry" for Miles Davis' album Filles de Kilimanjaro.
- Shadwick, Keith (2003). Jimi Hendrix: Musician. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. pp. 80, 97. ISBN 0-87930-764-1.
- Watts, Simon (February 3, 2013). "Kathy Etchingham: Life as Jimi Hendrix's 'Foxy Lady'". BBC News. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- Hoggard, Liz (September 16, 2010). "'I was Jimi Hendrix's Yoko Ono': Kathy Etchingham speaks 40 years on". London Evening Standard. London. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- Hall, Douglas Kent; Clark, Sue C. (1970). Rock, A World Bold As Love. Cowles Book.
- McDermott, John; Kramer, Eddie; Cox, Billy (2009). Ultimate Hendrix. New York City: Backbeat Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-87930-938-1.
- "Jimi Hendrix Experience – Singles". Official Charts. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
- The American album included the three UK experience singles in place of three other songs.
- Rolling Stone (December 9, 2004). "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone (963). Retrieved September 22, 2016.