Hendrix: The Final Year

Greg Kot

1 Min Read

In the final 12 months of his life, Jimi Hendrix retooled his band several times, toured extensively and recorded frequently as he tried to unlock the music that would comprise his never-realized fourth studio album. In preparing the follow-up to his classic third studio album, “Electric Ladyland,” released in 1968, Hendrix aimed to reinvent himself yet again, to expand his already widescreen vision. He ran out of time, but left behind a trove of compositions that would reveal the new directions he was pursuing. These would filter out across the decades on countless compilations. Here’s a Hendrix playlist of some key tracks that span September 1969 to September 1970.

“Belly Button Window” (“The Cry of Love” album, 1971):

The singer has never sounded more intimate, as he imagines himself in the womb, uncertain if the world is ready for him, or he for it.

Greg Kot is the editorial director of The Coda Collection. He is also the cohost of the nationally syndicated public-radio show and podcast “Sound Opinions” with Jim DeRogatis, and previously the music critic at the Chicago Tribune for 30 years. His books include acclaimed biographies of Mavis Staples (“I’ll Take You There”) and Wilco (“Learning How to Die”) and a history of the digital music revolution (“Ripped”). He also coauthored “The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones: Sound Opinions on the Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Rivalry” and has written extensively for Rolling Stone, BBC Culture and Encyclopedia Britannica. When he takes off the headphones, Kot coaches in his Chicago-based youth travel basketball program (OTEhoops.com). In addition, he has coauthored two best-selling editions of the book “Survival Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball.”

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