The 5 Jimi Hendrix riffs that Ritchie Blackmore praised
Jimi Hendrix first started his musical career in 1962 and was part of the backing band of many artists in the 60s, including Little Richard. It was only in 1966 that he formed his own group The Jimi Hendrix Experience also featuring Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding. The songs composed by the trio were a huge inspiration for countless artists over the decades including the classic Rainbow and Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.
Over the decades the musician talked a lot about Jimi Hendrix and Rock and Roll Garage selected the 5 Hendrix guitar riffs that Ritchie Blackmore praised over the years
The 5 Jimi Hendrix riffs that Ritchie Blackmore praised
The track “Stone Free” was also released as a single in 1967 and it has one of the guitar riffs that Blackmore praised in interview with Vintage Guitar magazine in 2017.
In the conversation with Inglez de Souza for Guitar Player magazine back in 2010, he also praised the guitar solo in that track. “‘Stone Free’s solo is exceptional! He always tuned his guitar half a step down, which helped him to have a very strong vibrato, since the strings became looser,” Ritchie Blackmore said.
At the time the song became a hit and reached number six on the United Kingdom Singles Chart. But in the United States it didn’t had the same success, not appearing on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.
In an interview SiriusXM’s Guitar Greats in 2022, Blackmore revealed that wild vibrato in “Stone Free” was an inspiration and recalled he had the opportunity to meet him once.
“I only met him once. It was in the Whiskey in Hollywood. I was going into the toilet and he was playing with his hair or something. That was the only time I met him. We kind of nodded to each other and that was it. So I never really got to know him. Yet he certainly set the world on fire,” Ritchie Blackmore said.
“Manic Depression” is the second track of The Jimi Hendrix Experience 1967 debut album “Are You Experienced” and the guitar riff of that song was praised by Ritchie Blackmore in an interview with Vintage Guitar magazine in 2017.
“I would often play Hendrix stuff. But I always thought of Jimi not as a technician but more of a brilliant singer that could emote amazing stuff on the guitar. He would come up with riffs that nobody else would,” Blackmore said.
Talking with Inglez de Souza for Guitar Player magazine back in 2010, Blackmore also mentioned that track, saying that Hendrix was a genius and that his voice was special.
“Hendrix came out in 1966, and he was probably 20 years ahead of his time. What makes him a genius is his phrasing and his originality; his construction of songs, his very innovative riffs, like those of ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Manic Depression’; his presence on stage. But, oddly enough, one of the things that I think made him so special was his voice, since he never wanted to be a vocalist.”
“I never get tired of listening to ‘Crosstown Traffic’ instruments. I think he’s playing octaves on the piano as well as the guitar, which sounds really weird,” Ritchie Blackmore said.
“Are You Experienced” spent 33 weeks on the charts in the United Kingdom, peaking at number two. In the United States it reached number five on the Billboard Top LPs, remaining on the charts for 106 weeks.
Another song released in 1967 by Jimi Hendrix that has a guitar riff praised by Blackmore is “Purple Haze”. Melody Maker played some songs to the ex-Deep Purple in 1971 without telling him which band it was. After they played a little bit of “Purple Haze”, he said: “Oh yes. The voice seems well back here. There is nothing much you can say. He was the gov’nor and that’s it.”
“It’s a fantastic record. The riffs are so good. Did you know he hits a false harmonic right in the middle if this by pulling a string. It’s very hard to do. But he was brilliant, wasn’t he?” Ritchie Blackmore said.
“Purple Haze” is one of Hendrix’s most famous songs and it was released as a single in 1967. It peaked a number 3 on the United Kingdom singles charts and number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In an interview with VH1 back in 2000 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), had also praised Hendrix’s choice of notes when playing.
“He just reached into his soul and retched out those notes. He would hit maybe a wrong note. (But) he would just bend that note until it was relative to something that was in our lives,” Ritchie Blackmore said.
Hey Joe was another successful single released by Jimi Hendrix, which became the most famous version of the track that was originally written by Billy Roberts.
In an interview made available by Marco Soverini (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Blackmore revealed that he always listened to the track to get inspiration.
“He had the music down, he had the composing down, he had the singing down, plus the showmanship. So nobody can compete with something like that. I don’t think really anybody can come up to what he could do. Because he could do everything. That was the thing that I thought it was very interesting.”
“Most of the people that I know that play the guitar very well, very subdued and refuse to get into showmanship. They think that is below them. But Jimi was part of the whole thing of learning the guitar.”
Ritchie Blackmore continued:
“When I need some stimulation, ‘Hey Joe’ is the one that does it. Because I think with Jimi, he loved life, he loved to live and it showed in his playing. I think if there are any comparisions to make, I think he is the Rock and Roll Errol Flynn.”
“I think it was Jimi’s hands, because they were very big and very strong hands. He had an amazing neck with the vibrato. There only one other person that has a similar vibrato, which is Johnny Winter.”
“But I think that Jimi had that vibrato down so well, it was absolutely amazing. I think again, it was the big hands. He had really big hands to kind of grab the guitar,” Ritchie Blackmore said.
“Burning of the Midnight Lamp”
The third guitar riff praised by Blackmore in interview with Vintage Guitar magazine in 2017 was “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”, that was first released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience as a single in 1967.
The track features the R&B group Sweet Inspirations on the backing vocals and it peaked at number 32 on the United Kingdom Singles Chart. One year later, it was released in the United States as the b-side for “All Along The Watchtower”.