It might surprise some people to learn the guy who wrote and rocked out to “Purple Haze” also wrote, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful combinations of lyrics and music ever recorded. “Little Wing” is a fantastic, ethereal song which soars both musically and lyrically. There are some great covers of the song out there, but the original Jimi Hendrix-penned version is my favorite. One of the distinctive sounds on the original track is the use of the glockenspiel — pretty atypical for a power trio like The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Unfortunately, copyright issues seem to make the original version unavailable on YouTube. Booo! I’ll share a recent cover recorded by Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood.
One of the most unique covers of the ballad was released by Irish band The Corrs on their Unplugged album.
I never thought I’d have a conversation about Jimi Hendrix with my father, but someone turned him on to this Celtic version and we did discuss it. Another popular version of the ballad was released by Hendrix aficionado Stevie Ray Vaughan. You could think of this version as one “guitar god” paying tribute to another.
I’m sure the SRV version is a favorite for many, but I miss hearing the lyrics and, of course, the glockenspiel.
There are easily over 100 versions of “Little Wing” out there. From what I’ve read, the original Hendrix version was inspired by the “vibe” of the Monterey Pop Festival. The song is an interesting combo of fairy tale and Native American imagery along with astonishingly good guitar.
Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!