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The Wind Cries Mary

by

Jimi Hendrix



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Jimi wrote this in 1967 for Are You Experienced?; it was inspired by his girlfriend at the time, Kathy Mary Etchingham. He'd gotten into an argument with her about her cooking. She got very angry and started throwing pots and pans and finally stormed out to stay at a friend's home for a day or so. When she came back, Jimi had written "The Wind Cries Mary" for her.

Kathy Mary recalled, "We'd had a row over food. Jimi didn't like lumpy mashed potato. There were thrown plates and I ran off. When I came back the next day, he'd written that song about me. It's incredibly flattering." (Source Q magazine February 2013)
Jimi wrote the song quietly in his apartment and didn't show it to anybody. After recording "Fire" (which was about his sexual relationship with Kathy), he had 20 minutes to spare in the recording studio, so he showed it to the band. They managed to record it in the 20 minute period they had. The band later recorded several more takes of the song, but they all seemed very sterile and they decided to go with the original recording.
This was the third single from Are You Experienced?. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for above 2)
A lot of people assumed this was about marijuana, which is also known as "Mary Jane."
This song begins with a distinctive and recognizable introduction, in which three chromatically ascending 'five' chords are played in second inversion. A 'five' chord consists of two notes (first or "root," and fifth) instead of three (root, third and fifth). The missing middle note gives the chord a more 'open' or 'bare' sound. A second inversion "flips" the notes in the chord, so that the fifth, not the root, is the lowest sounding note. This makes it more difficult for the listener to immediately identify what key the song is being played in. In addition, a syncopated rhythm makes it difficult for the listener to identify the "down beats" of the song. This combination of musical elements creates a unique and disorienting experience when the song is heard for the first time.
Jamie Cullum covered this song, replacing the guitar part with a Jazzy piano. Other artists to record the song include John Mayer, Popa Chubby and Robyn Hitchcock. (thanks, Tonyz - Mandelieu)
According to the book Jimi Hendrix: Electric Gypsy, Hendrix wrote this as a very long song, but broke it down to fit the short-song convention and make it radio friendly. Hendrix was concerned that listeners wouldn't understand the song in its shortened form.
Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix Artistfacts
More Jimi Hendrix songs
More songs with girls' names in the title
More songs written for a girl

Comments (32):

The Jimi Hendrix song The Wind Cries Mary has long been understood by a few select individuals whom I know not one as of yet. Even when I try to express its meaning in details like the following examples it falls on dead ears. So let me try it again and see if anyone has ears to hear:
1- The wind is the spirit of God.
2- Mary is the Virgin Mary who bore the son of god
3- The king who has no wife is none other than God himself
4- The wind spoke to many prophets in the past to proclaim his will.
5. The queen is Mary the mother of Christ
6- The wind will call no more prophets as the son is the last in a line of proclamation of God's final word;Hebrews chapter 1.
- mike, pawtucket, RI
This song does not contain a reference to the BBC Test Card F, as previously noted, as the song was recorded on May 5, 1967, and the test card was first broadcast on July 2, 1967.
- Lisa, New York, NY
The Song With "The Never-Ending Ending"........................................
- Jim Kimmel, The Blue, Blue Skies Of Albuquerque, NM
I am actually teaching "The Raven" in my class, and as I was driving home, I heard "The Wind Cries Mary" and a lightbulb went on. It is amazingly similar! I'm glad someone else thought so.
- Jana, Los Angeles, CA
I agree with Jeff's comment below.
I think Jimi was emphasizing that he had
been burned one to many times by a
relationship gone bad...( "it whispers
no, this will be the last" in F major ).
Cool melody and interesting guitar riffs
during the solo.
- Craig, San Diego, CA
Try listening to this song alone in your bedroom at 2 am with the window open during a thunder storm. The last chords have a habit of synching up with the thunder. It's nothing short of incredible.
- chloe, St. Louis, MO
Just as easily as the wind passes through your fingers, so can women. I believe this is what Jimi is trying to exemplify here, as cheesy as it sounds.
- Jeff, Baltimore, NV
Simply gorgeous, gentle playing, rivaled only by the likes of "Little Wing" or "Angel."
Some of the best songs are those with a wistful tone, and Jimi puts voice and guitar to that so well.
- oldpink, New Castle, IN
The plot reminds me a bit of Poe's "The Raven". Its a weak link, But the first verse of both poems establish the time as late at night (...Clowns have gone off to bed... Midnight dark and dreary), The last verse in each poem has the protagonist wondering poetically if they will ever meet up with their lovers again. Both are bluntly denied by their respective antagonists (The Wind in the case of Hendrix (No this will be the last) and the Raven in the case of Poe (Quoth the Raven, "Never More".) Incidentally, both poets had a hankering for opiates.
- John, Lafayette, LA
thanks to Matt ..
John Mayer has a pretty good cover of this song..
you can hear it at:
http://www.esnips.com/doc/ef895381-5550-4fa4-b3be-0477b168ff3c/John-Mayer---The-Wind-Cries-Mary(Jimi-Hendrix-cover)
- Shivam, Ranchi, India
nope, for an F (the tone of the song and the third chord in the intro, the notes played are C,F and C (from low to high).
A power chord would be F,C and F (where the 1st two are the same notes as the last two in the one played by Hendrix).
I really like his psychedelic rock songs, but I have to say I have a thing for these ballads, little wing, castles made of sand, the wind cries Mary...
- P.A., Paris, France
im no music man, but is the intro to this song a power chord?
- Sam, Seattle, WA
Now we come to song #9 on my all-time list. Most people, if they play at all, can only mimic moods or even other sounds when they play guitar. Good guitarists show us the way a mood sounds; great guitarists evoke it. Jimi--especially in this song--makes what he plays into the moods themselves. And the lyrics fit seamlessly with his guitar work, and so do his vocals. To Shannon of Mobile, AK: One sign of a great artist is that he or she can create fine work out of mundane or dreary things. To Travis of Blicksburg, VA: Pat Boone doing this song? I've got to hear it to believe it. It sounds as implausible as Debby Boone covering "Love or Confusion."
- MusicMama, New York, NY
I have always believed this song has been about the women in Jimi's life and the few ones that were special to him. As someone who has been with a fair share of women, there are a select few who leave an impact and who you may regret tosssing aside. To me, Mary represents the last special girl in his life and the Wind basically tells him that Mary was the last special girl he was ever going to get. "It whispers no this will be the last"
- TD, New York, NY
I verry much like the cover of Cassandra Wilson.
Just heavenly.
sheers
Jef
- Jef Van Ruyssevelt, Antwerp, Belgium
This song reminds me of my recently deceased dog.
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
The lines

"After all the jacks are in their boxes
And the clowns have all gone to bed"

refer to the old BBC Test Carf "F" that used to be shown once programs had stopped broadcasting for the night. You can see it here http://usera.imagecave.com/spamm/BBC-TCF.jpg
- Matt, Birmingham, England
My all time favorite Hendrix song, with Castle's Made of Sand, Hey Joe, and Remember right behind it.
- joe, Bethlahem, PA
Jamie Cullum does a wonderful job with Radiohead,it's one of my favorite remakes, but I have to agree that he does not do justice to "The Wind Cries Mary". I was really dissapointed when I heard it.
- Tracy, Normal, IL
The solo for this song, is one of Hendrix best in my opinion
- Dane, Honolulu, HI
thats sort of dissapointing that such a beautiful song was written because of sucky cooking ya know. but its still my favorite song i love it.
- shannon, mobile, AK
One of my fav Hendrix Songs
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
Cullum murders this song...in fact he murders all the songs he covers.
- Rhedyn Williams, bristol, England
great song... Jimi rocks!
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
This is about Fire. I got a valid explanation from Bassist Noel Redding. It was jan. 1969, and it was freezing in London. When the band got inside of Redding's mother's house, Jimi politely scooted up to her and asked if he could "stand next to her fire". Imagine what you wish, but this is the full explanation.
- kesami, concord, CA
Um, Fire was not about sex man. That is bs. Its about hm going to bandmates moms house for Christmas or something and wanting to stand next to the fireplace. Rover was the dog that was lying down in front of the fireplace vefore he got there. Hence the "Move over Rover"
- Gage, Millville, NJ
Cullum is cool, check out his version of Cole Porter's, "I Get A Kick Out Of You" I don't know how old he is but he is on!
- Tom, Fillmore, CA
There's a newer jazz artist that I recently heard about that covers a different variety of songs in a great jazz format, and he did a wonderful job with Wind Crys Mary... his name is Jamie Cullum and I suggest you check him out. He also covered Pharrell & Jay-Z's Frontin', and Radiohead's High and Dry.
- Ali, East Lansing, MI
This is one of the best songs from Are You Experienced! Definetly a 'Want To Hear song'!!
- Daniel, Cape Breton, Canada
Dawn from Colonial Heights... if you're who I think you are, we went to High School together... in fact, you were my very first girlfriend :) -Loran
- Loran, Columbus, GA
Hilariously as it seems , this song was covered by pat boone on his "In a metal mood " album
- Travis, blicksburg, VA
The arguement was over whether Kathy was using dirty pots and pans while cooking, if I recall.
- Brett, Edmonton, Canada
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