1001 Songs Challenge,  1960s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #265: Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1968)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…


The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1968)

We’re heading back to the US today, dear reader, after a brief trip away. It’s good to be back in the US of A and we are in the company of The Jimi Hendrix Experience having previously enjoyed such songs as Purple Haze and Fire. Today, we have Voodoo Child (Slight Return) from the Electric Ladyland album. This one isn’t to be confused with Voodoo Chile which appears earlier on the album and is 14 minutes long while today’s effort is the closing track on that album and comes in at 5 minutes. Confused? I’m not surprised. Anyway, let’s see what this song is all about.

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is open to interpretation but there is the possibility that this is psychedelia brought about by drugs. In the song, Hendrix talks about chopping down mountains with his hands and using the pieces to make islands before launching into the refrain that he is a voodoo child. In the second verse Hendrix is sorry for taking up someone’s time, whether literal or figuratively I am not sure, but he concludes by saying that he will see this person in the next life. Make of that what you will but to me it sounds like a drug trip of some sort. 

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is one of Hendrix’s classics I have heard before and along with All Along the Watchtower, it’s one of my favourites of his. The guitar work here which Hendrix is said to have improvised in the studio is sublime and you can really buy into the accolades that he has to this day as arguably the finest guitarist the world has ever known. Hearing that guitar riff always makes me think of Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I when an inebriated Withnail proceeds to drive back to London and falls foul of the police while this song plays in the background. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) reached no.1 in the UK a couple of months after Hendrix’s death in September 1970 though it was confusingly released under the title of Voodoo Chile. Head in hands!


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Who – Substitute (1966)

The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black (1966)

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)

The Doors – The End (1967)

The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset (1967)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1968)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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