|Hendrix claimed this was inspired by a dream
where he was walking under the sea. In the dream, he said a purple
haze surrounded him, engulfed him and got him lost. It was a
traumatic experience, but in his dream his faith in Jesus saved him.
|At one point, Hendrix wrote the chorus as "Purple
Haze, Jesus Saves," but decided against it. (thanks, Edward Pearce -
Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)
|Part of the lyrics were formed from some of
Jimi's free verse ramblings that he jotted down from time to time.
|This song was written under the guidance of
Hendrix' manager, ex-Animals bassist Chas Chandler. They had just
released Hendrix' first single, a cover of Tim Rose's "Hey Joe" and
were looking for a follow up. Chandler was impressed when he first
heard the riff, and inspired Jimi to finish writing the song.
|On the original recording, you hear the line
up of the Experience with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on
drums. (thanks, Willy - Winchester, MA, for above 3)
|The opening chord of two riffs then an
interval of flattened fifth is the d5 or "tritone," which has long
been regarded as the "Most imperfect of dissonances" and was
generally avoided in composition for that reason. (thanks, Roberta
Freund Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Musicology, University of
|Hendrix claimed this had nothing to do with
drugs, but it's hard to believe they weren't an influence. The
lyrics seem to vividly portray an acid trip, and Hendrix was doing
plenty of drugs at the time.
|Jimi and producer Chas Chandler used some
unusual studio tricks to get the unique sound. To create the
background track that sounds distant, they put a pair of headphones
around a microphone and recorded it that way to get an echo effect.
|Hendrix wrote the lyrics on the day after
Christmas in 1966. He wrote a lot more than what made it to the song.
|For one of the guitar tracks, Hendrix used a
device called an Octavia, which could raise or lower the guitar by a
|This contains one of the most misheard lyrics
ever, with "Scuse me while I kiss the sky" interpreted as "Scuse me
while I kiss this guy." Hendrix added to the confusion by sometimes
singing it that way and pointing to one of his band members.
|A month before Hendrix died, he opened a
recording studio in Greenwich Village called Electric Lady. One of
the studios is known as "Purple Haze" and contains a purple mixing
board. The studios have remained active with The Clash, Weezer,
Patti Smith and Alicia Keys all recording there at some point.
|This song is apparently referenced in an
episode of The Simpsons. Homer is shopping (for useless
garbage, of course) and finds a back massaging chair called the
Spinemelter 2000. Homer sits in the chair and orders the store clerk
to put it on full power. As the chair begins to massage Homer, he
tells his family, "Excuse me while I kiss the sky..." (thanks,
Collin - Midland, TX)