Few people dispute that Jimi Hendrix’s musical DNA has proliferated throughout rock and roll. I would wager that Hendrix is cited as an influence by guitar players more often than any other musician in rock history. So when one of my students asked if we could study “Yellow Ledbetter” by Pearl Jam, a “Little Wing”-esque song very much in the Hendrix school of guitar playing, I was reminded of Hendrix’s widespread influence.
That got me wondering exactly how much influence Hendrix and “Little Wing” has had on rock history. So I conducted my own little un-scientific experiment. I listened to every song in my collection of over 2100 titles and earmarked all of the ones that were, in my opinion, unquestionably related to Hendrix and “Little Wing.”
How many did I find? The answer is six! And that’s not including the two “Little Wing” covers! I’m not sure I can name any other song that has sired so many offspring.
Take a listen to “Little Wing,” by Jimi Hendrix:
Here are the “Little Wing”-esque songs that I found in my library:
“For the Movies,” by Buckcherry
“F-Stop Blues,” by Jack Johnson
“While We Cry,” by Kenny Wayne Shepherd
“Under the Bridge,” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Yellow Ledbetter,” by Pearl Jam
“Lenny,” by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
Do you have any songs in your library that are not in this list? If so, post a comment and let me know!
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While I grew up during Jimi’s heyday, back then I had a favorite guitarist that took up most of my listening, namely the early recordings of Ted Nugent. He was my guitarist of choice back then, and I never gave Jimi much air time. Pity, because since then, I’ve realized what an innovative trailblazer he was! One tune that comes to mind that’s not on your list… “Bold as Love” by John Mayer, an obvious tribute to Hendrix that incorporates the “Little Wing” guitar sound. Guitarists the world over owe a lot to Jimi’s groundbreaking style…he truly was ahead of his time!
I would have added John Mayer’s “Bold As Love” but it didn’t quite qualify. Although it is a song very much in the vein of “Little Wing,” it is similar because it was written and performed by Hendrix first. Mayer’s version is a cover and therefore makes it more of a sister song than a descendant. Love that song!
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