This article is free to read, but it isn't free to produce! Make a pledge to support the site (and get special perks in return.) LEARN MORE...

Today, November 27, would have been Jimi Hendrix’s 75th birthday! And what should turn up in my email this morning but a version of Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”sent to me by the illustrious classical guitarist, composer, and guitar professor at Yale, Ben Verdery. That song came out on Jimi’s still-incredible and influential debut album, Are You Experienced.

Verdery writes: “Last May, 50 years after the release of the groundbreaking album Are You Experienced, my dear friend Ray White called me to see if I would do an interview discussing my thoughts on Jimi Hendrix. Talk to Ray about my love for Jimi? Are you kidding? I was in! Ray is one of America’s most beloved music radio personalities. I listened to Ray on WNEW-FM when I was teenager. As it turned out Ray’s film crew consisted of two Parisians, Pierre Mitz and Eric Stockplus. We all had so much fun doing the interview that I suggested we do a “Purple Haze” video here in town. A day later, on quite a foggy purple afternoon, we borrowed a friend’s down town rooftop, complete with a pirate flag (!) and shot the video. It is both a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, whose music deeply moves me 50 years later, and a small tribute to the city he loved so!”


Jimi fans will also notice a little quotation from another classic Are You Experienced song at the end of the performance.   —Blair Jackson