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Song Stories

“Voodoo Chile”

The Jimi Hendrix Experience | 1968

"Voodoo Chile" took the funky blues of greats like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker into the psychedelic age, the 15-minute track putting Jimi Hendrix's guitar improvisations into a loose jam-like setting. Backing him were Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady (subbing for usual Experience bassist Noel Redding) and Traffic's Stevie Winwood on organ, with guitarist Larry Coryell declining an invitation to join them. "Jimi asked me to play," Coryell recalled, "but for the first time in my life, I said, 'No. There is nothing I can add to this.'"

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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