THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
492-Jimi Hendrix Experience-Hey Joe.
1966-Number 6 single.
Best Bit-At 1.51. A warning to old ladies everywhere, don’t go messin’ round with another man. You might end up getting shot.
‘Hey Joe’ was originally written and performed in the mid 1950’s by Billy Roberts, who was born William Moses Roberts Jr., on August 16th, 1936, in Greenville, South Carolina, United States, he died on October 7th, 2017, at the age of 81. Roberts recorded the song himself, but never had it officially released, but he did have it copyrighted in 1962.Roberts was a folk singer, he was a member of the ‘Driftwood Singers’ between 1964-1965, who played on the same bill as artists such as Bill Cosby, Carmen McRae, and Johnny Cash. He released one studio Album in 1975 called ‘Thoughts of California’.It is thought that Robert’s got his inspiration for writing ‘Hey Joe’ from an earlier work by his then girlfriend Niela Horn, whose song ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go to Town’ uses the same chord progression. Also the 1953 US Country hit ‘Hey Joe’ written by Boudleaux & Bryant shares the same title, and ‘questioning’ format. There is also an early 20th Century traditional ballad called ‘Little Sadie’ that tells of a man on the run after he has shot his wife.
‘Hey Joe’ has been recorded in many different styles, by numerous artists over the years. The probable first commercially released ‘Rock’ version was in 1966 by the ‘Garage’ band the ‘Leaves’ who reached Number 31 on Billboard, the highest chart placing the song has reached in America. Jimi Hendrix (see also best songs 983) got to know about the song after seeing the Folk singer Tim Rose (1940-2002) perform a slower version. On the advice of Chas Chandler (see also best songs 851) (1938-1996) who was now Hendrix’s manager, the song became the first single release of the ‘Jimi Hendrix Experience.’ The song failed to chart in America, but made Number 6 in the UK.’Hey Joe’ is the story of a man who finds out his woman has been cheating on him, and he takes his revenge by purchasing a gun, and shooting the woman, and her lover.In order to not face a trial, and the hangman, he travels down south to Mexico. The Hendrix version omits the first verse. where ‘Joe’ buys the gun, and he also makes no mention of killing the woman’s lover, which is part of the original version by Roberts.
On May 12th, 2012, in the town square of Wroclaw, in Poland, a ‘Guinness Record’ was set when 7,273 guitarists played ‘Hey Joe’ simultaneously.
‘Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand. I’m goin’ down to shoot my old lady, you know I caught her messin’ ’round with another man.’