When Jimi Hendrix Walked In the Door

John Hughes’ movie Sixteen Candles ruled my world. Billy Joel and early-1960 song compilations littered my album collection. I am a sheltered 13-year-old girl.

We had just moved from an Ohio suburb to upstate New York. Finishing up the unpacking, my father pulled out the dozens of boxes he had filled to the brim with record albums.

These LPs were a new discovery to me, although I’m sure they had been sitting in the family room cabinet in our old home.

Cream. Jefferson Airplane. Crosby Stills Nash and Young. Steppenwolf.

It was like opening up a box full of candy. The album covers shown like jewels and shocked me with their images.

I had come across my father’s old college albums.

He hadn’t listened to them in years, but asked if I would be interested in them.

He shuffled through the cardboard covers and picked a choice few, suggesting I start with these and branch out from there.

Amid the five albums was a record entitled The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are Your Experienced.

Placing the needle on the record, Jimi Hendrix began to use the guitar like a weapon, creating searing sounds of joy, desire and heartache.

He created a pounding rock sound with an intensity I had never experienced. It blew me away.

While visiting my parents this year, I  went through my old boxes looking for Jimi’s breakthrough record. I couldn’t find it.

For my 41st birthday, my husband got me a new LP copy of Jimi’s Are You Experienced to add to our record collection we keep in the basement.

This past weekend, I was playing trains with my seven-year-old son and popped it onto the player. For me, it was like an old friend had entered the room.

For my son, it was like he had discovered a new sound of rock.

I wish I could remember the exact moment I first heard Jimi play.

Instead, the thousands of times his record spun on my player blur together into a love song of an awakening for a sheltered 13-year-old girl.

Need a refresher of all of the incredible songs on Are You Experienced? Here’s the play list:

  1. Purple Haze
  2. Manic Depression
  3. Hey Joe
  4. Love or Confusion
  5. May This Be Love
  6. I Don’t Live Today
  7. The Wind Cries Mary
  8. Fire
  9. Third Stone from the Sun
  10. Foxey Lady
  11. Are You Experienced?

This post was originally published on the blog Raised on the Radio. To read more stories about falling in love with music, visit them at www.raisedontheradio.com.

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