Classic Rock News

For a guy whose recording career lasted just about five years, Jimi Hendrix’s influence is extraordinary. It’s not just that he influenced rock artists: his influence was felt in all forms of pop music, including jazz, blues, pop, funk and even hip-hop and dance music. But here are our favorite Hendrix covers.

  • 24. David Lee Roth - “If 6 Was 9” from ‘Diamond Dave’ (2003)

    Dave sprinkled a bit of “Diamond Dave” dust on this, bringing his “Little Dreamer” crooning and a trip-hop inspired backing track.

  • 23. Lenny Kravitz - “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)” from ‘Power of Soul: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix’ (2010)

    Power Of Soul - Jimi Hendrix tribute album

    You might have expected Lenny to do a raging electric rocker for this tribute album, but instead he went with a slow jam. Lenny gave it a bit of a late ‘70s smooth R&B “quiet storm” kind of vibe, and it works.

  • 22. Tom Morello - “Voodoo Child” from ‘Comandante’ (2020)

    Hendrix did a number of instrumental covers of other people’s music, including Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” and Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” So, fair enough: Tom Morello did an instrumental cover of Jimi’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” He discussed the song in an Instagram post, writing, “The first time I ever heard a wah pedal was on Jimi Hendrix’s #VoodooChild. And I didn’t know it was a pedal at the time, so I just thought there was this sorcerer who was LITERALLY a Voodoo Child making sounds that were just unbelievable on the guitar. And when he sang, ‘Stand up next to a mountain and chop it down with the edge of my hand,’ I thought, ‘Man. One day I hope to work hard enough on this instrument that I, too, can stand up next to a mountain with the confidence that I might chop it down with MY hand.’

  • 21. John Mayer - “Bold As Love” from ‘Continuum’ (2006)

    Whether or not you’re a fan of Mayer’s music, you have to admit that he brought new audiences to guitar-based blues music, as well as to Jimi Hendrix. His cover of “Bold As Love” was a bold move, coming at the peak of his popularity. “Continuum” surely found some fans that weren’t into Hendrix; the album went quadruple platinum. That aside, Mayer is great at mellow jams with fiery guitar playing, and he did a great job with this classic.

  • 20. Paul Rodgers and Slash - “I Don’t Live Today” from ‘Stone Free: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix’ (1993)

    Paul Rodgers is one of rock’s greatest and most underrated singers. Put him together with Slash (when Guns N Roses was still one of the biggest bands in the land) and you really can’t miss. The two attack the song with fire and swagger. Both dudes are pretty busy, but we’d love to see a Rodgers/Slash tour of Hendrix covers.

  • 19. King’s X - “Manic Depression” from ‘Dogman’ (1994)

    The Jimi Hendrix Experience was one of rock’s greatest trios ever. Somewhere on that list, King’s X definitely has a slot as well. Like Hendrix, King’s X combine rock, funk, blues and soul to create something unique and their version of “Manic Depression” is the best that we’ve heard, other than Jimi’s.

  • 18. Santana featuring Corey Glover - “Spanish Castle Magic” from ‘Power of Soul: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix’ (2010)

    Both Carlos Santana and Living Colour singer Corey Glover are huge Hendrix fans, and this is another inspired team up, which also featured legendary jazz musicians Stanley Clarke on bass and Tony Williams on drums.

  • 17. Sting with the Gil Evans Orchestra - “Up From The Skies” - B-side to “Englishman In New York” CD single (1988)

    In 1974, Miles Davis’ collaborator Gil Evans recorded a full album of Hendrix covers with his orchestra, including an expanded cover of the jazzy “Up From The Skies.” Hendrix’s original was less than three minutes, while Evans’ stretched past 10 minutes. Over a decade later, Sting contracted Evans and his orchestra for a few Hendrix covers, including this one which was originally released as a “b-side” on a limited edition 3” CD single (remember those? You needed a special adapter to play them in most CD players).

  • 16. Lizz Wright - “In From The Storm” from ‘Fellowship’ (2010)

    Proof that Hendrix’s songs are so strong, you can cover them without loud guitars. This cover by gospel/jazz singer Lizz Wright is sublime.

  • 15 Kenny Wayne Shepherd - “I Don’t Live Today” from ‘Trouble Is…’ (1997)

    Kenny Wayne Shepherd ends most of his shows with “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” and that’s a great cover, but “I Don’t Live Today” might be even better.

  • 14 Derek & the Dominos - “Little Wing” from ‘Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs” (1970)

    Probably one of the first big covers of a Hendrix song, it came out just weeks before Hendrix’s death. In some ways, Derek & the Dominoes guitarist/singer Eric Clapton was returning the favor: Hendrix had covered Clapton’s former band, Cream’s classic “Sunshine Of Your Love.” The Dominoes have their way with this lovely ballad: Jimi’s version is almost too short at 2:25, they more than double the length.

  • 13 Emmylou Harris - “May This Be Love” from ‘Wrecking Ball’ (1995)

    One of Jimi’s gentler ballads, Emmylou’s version was nevertheless a bit edgier than her prior material and saw her stretching in new directions. Her entire “Wrecking Ball” album was experimental and it’s fitting that she covered Hendrix here.

  • 12 The Cure - “Purple Haze” from ‘Stone Free: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix’ (1993)

    Many of the punk and post-punk bands from the Cure’s scene had a bit of a “year zero” mentality. In other words, they didn’t have much reverence for the rock music of the ‘60s and early ‘70s. The Cure’s Robert Smith, however, always loved Hendrix, and they even covered “Foxy Lady,” on their debut album, 1979’s Three Imaginary Boys. That cover was pretty weak. Here, they really reinterpreted a classic, using drum loops and moody synths, giving it a very ‘90s trip-hop feel. It’s probably the most radical reinterpretation on this list and one that Jimi surely would have approved of.

  • 11 Living Colour - “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” from ‘Biscuits’ (1991)

    Living Colour reimagined this classic as a dub reggae jam, and they enhanced their lineup with a turntablist named Lyvio G. Turntables as an instrument wasn’t a thing during Hendrix’s lifetime, but he surely would have appreciated the a new method of making music and manipulating sound.

  • 10 Buddy Guy - “Red House” from ‘Stone Free: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix’ (1993)

    Buddy Guy’s wild electric guitar playing and his incredible showmanship was a huge influence on Hendrix. There’s a story that says that the only time Hendrix ever missed a gig was because Buddy was playing across town and Jimi didn’t want to miss it. So he would have probably been flattered to know that Guy would one day cover him.

  • 9 Rod Stewart - “Angel” from ‘Never A Dull Moment’ (1972)

    Rod worked on this one with his Faces bandmate, Ronnie Wood (Wood played on a lot of Stewart’s early solo stuff). Wood shared a flat with Hendrix in the late ‘60s, and was likely aware that Jimi wrote it about his mother, Lucille. Rod’s cover was respectful but not overly reverential; he definitely made it sound like a Rod Stewart song.

  • 8 MeShell Ndegeocello - “May This Be Love” from ‘Bitter’ (1999)

    Many know bassist/singer MeShell Ndegeocello from her 1994 hit duet with John Mellencamp, “Wild Night.” But she’s had a fascinating career and her take on this Jimi deep cut is lovely.

  • 7 Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood - “Voodoo Chile (live)” from ‘Live At Madison Square Garden’ (recorded in 2008)

    In 2008, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood toured together. It wasn’t a co-headlining deal; they played as part of the same band. It was effectively a Blind Faith reunion (one that drummer Ginger Baker wasn’t invited to). They played lots of stuff from Blind Faith’s one album, material from their own careers, and three Hendrix covers, This one was the most intense. Interestingly, Winwood played keyboards on Hendrix’s original version of “Voodoo Chile.”

  • 6. Red Hot Chili Peppers - “Fire” - B-side of the “Fight Like A Brave” single (1987)

    As we mentioned with the Cure’s “Foxy Lady,” Hendrix was such a revered figure in rock that it made him uncool with punk rockers, as well as with genre’s various offshoots, including early “alternative rock.” That didn’t matter to Flea (who has a Hendrix tattoo) or the rest of the Red Hot Chili Peppers: the Flea/Anthony Kiedis/Hillel Slovak/Jack Irons version of the band recorded this (one of many Hendrix covers they’ve done). It was the B-side to the “Fight Like A Brave” single they later re-released it on the ‘Abbey Road EP’ and then again on ‘Mother’s Milk.”

  • 5. Ben Harper - “Remember” - bonus track from ‘Welcome To The Cruel World’ (1993)

    Another great example of Hendrix’s songs holding up without loud electric guitars. On his debut album, ‘Welcome To The Cruel World,’ Harper used only acoustic guitars. Years later, he did a raging cover of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” but this one was more unique.

  • 4. The Pretenders - “Room Full Of Mirrors” from ‘Get Close’ (1986)

    “Room Full of Mirrors” was a relatively obscure Hendrix song, before the Pretenders made a radio hit out of it. They gave it a very modern sound (by 1986 standards). It was a Band of Gypsys recording that Hendrix cut towards the end of his life, and wasn’t released until after he was gone, some fans may not have realized that it was a cover.

  • 3. Prince - “Purple House” (aka “Red House”) from ‘Power of Soul: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix’ (2010)

    Power Of Soul - Jimi Hendrix tribute album

    Obviously, this is “Red House,” but in putting his own spin on it, Prince changed the title. He stays true to the original, but just a few seconds in – even before he starts singing – you know that this is a Prince jam. You definitely get the impression that Hendrix would have loved Prince. 

  • 3. M.A.C.C. - “Hey Baby (Land Of The New Rising Sun)” from ‘Stone Free: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix’ (1993)

     

     

    Four-fifths of the Seattle supergroup Temple of the Dog got together as “M.A.C.C.” to pay tribute to the region’s greatest guitarist. Soundgaden’s Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron and Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament and Mike McCready brought a lot of attention to this rather obscure Hendrix song with their cover for the ‘Stone Free’ tribute. Temple of the Dog added this to the last few dates of their too-brief 2017 tour.

  • 2. Sting - “Little Wing” from ‘...Nothing Like The Sun’ (1987)

    Sting has covered Hendrix a number of times, and this is his best one. As with “Up From the Skies,” he took a more jazz approach, again teaming with the Gil Evans Orchestra, and using jazz guitarist Hiram Bullock on the track. Bullock splits the big solo with Sting’s saxophonist at the time, Branford Marsalis.

  • 1 Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble - “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” from ‘Couldn’t Stand The Weather’ (1984)

    Stevie Ray Vaughan brought the blues to arenas in the ‘80s, and here, he resurfaced one of Hendrix’s greatest songs and exposed it to a new audience. Stevie Ray was as passionate as Jimi, if not as experimental. So, he played it pretty straight here, the only big change was the fact that he added nearly three minutes to the song, as if he (and we) don’t want it to end. Yet he – and Double Trouble – still put their indelible stamp on it.