Purple Haze

Purple Haze

Purple Haze is a song recorded in 1966 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, released as a single in both the United Kingdom and the United States. It also appeared on the US release of their 1967 album Are You Experienced. 'Purple Haze' is often cited as one of Jimi Hendrix's greatest songs. For many, it is his signature song. Purple Haze became Hendrix's second single after his manager Chas Chandler heard him playing the riff backstage and suggested that he write lyrics to go with it.

The single peaked at number three in the UK but only number 65 in the US, where it was released on June 19, a month after the UK LP "Are You Experienced" and three months after the UK single. In March 2005, Q magazine ranked "Purple Haze" at number one in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at No. 17 in their "500 Greatest Songs of All Time. A pop version by Dion even reached #72 in Canada in February 1969. Australian music TV channel MAX placed 'Purple Haze' at #17 on their 2008 countdown 'Rock Songs: Top 100'.


Hendrix said he was inspired by a dream where he was walking under the sea. In the dream, he said a purple haze surrounded him, engulfed him and got him lost. It was a traumatic experience, but in his dream his faith in Jesus saved him. An early song manuscript has the title "Purple Haze, Jesus Saves". He also mentioned that the song's colorful imagery came to him in the dream. "I dream a lot and I put a lot of my dreams down as songs" in a 1969 interview.

The line "Excuse me while I kiss the sky" is a famous example of the mondegreen, often misheard as "Excuse me while I kiss this guy." Eventually, Hendrix started singing "Excuse me while I kiss this pie" when playing the song live.


The song is known for the Hendrix chord as well as its prominent use of the distinctive tritone interval which appears in the intro. The guitar plays a Bb octave while the bass plays a E octave. Such a "dissonant" interval was unusual in popular music of the time. The guitar solo is played through an octavia, an effects pedal that increases notes by one octave. A dubbed guitar part can also be heard using it during the outro.

Purple Haze in Pop Culture


Wolfmother used the lyrics "Purple Haze is in the Sky" for their track Dimension on their 2006 self-titled album.

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