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Album: Are You Experienced?Released: 1967
The main lyrics in this song ("Let me stand next to your fire") came from a time when the band had just finished a gig in the cold around Christmas, 1966. They went to bass player Noel Redding's mother's house in Folkestone, England, and when they got there, Jimi asked Redding's mother Margaret if he could "Stand next to her fire" to warm up. The family dog, a German Shepherd, lay by the fire, which inspired the line, "Move over Rover, and let Jimi take over."
This lyrical lightening bolt was a breakthrough for Hendrix, who had just started writing songs at the request of his manager Chas Chandler. Writing riffs was easy for him, and it turned out he had a talent for crafting lyrics as well, as he was able to turn a simple line into a fiery tale of lustful passion. (This story is verified in Mat Snow's Mojo story on Hendrix that ran in the October, 2006 issue.)
Hendrix is legendary for theatrics like setting his guitar on fire and playing it with his teeth (not at the same time). This was the song he was (appropriately) playing when he set it on fire for the first time. It happened at a concert in London in March 1967, two months before the Are You Experienced? album was released. Hendrix was low on the bill (below Engelbert Humperdinck), and looking to garner some media attention. When he ignited his guitar, he created a buzz that grew to a roar as his career took off.
Hendrix set fire to his guitar once again at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. At that show, he didn't do the bit during "Fire," he did it after playing "Wild Thing."
The Red Hot Chili Peppers often covered this song in their early years. They decided to play it again at Woodstock '99 in Rome, New York and were accused of deliberately encouraging the rioters. While they played it, the crowd tore the place up and set fires (yes, Rome was burning).
Gary Moore covered this on his 1999 release A Different Beat
In the movie Wayne's World
, Wayne falls in love with the bassist from an all-girl band (Tia Carrere) after seeing them cover this song at Gasworks.