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Album: Band Of GypsysReleased: 1970
Up to this point, most of Hendrix' songs were about spirituality or love. This was a change of direction, as the song is told from the perspective of a soldier trapped in a war. The song was inspired by The Vietnam War, the Black Panther Party, and the business struggles Hendrix was dealing with.
Hendrix had parted ways with his group The Jimi Hendrix Experience and recorded this with his new group, The Band Of Gypsys, which included Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums. The album Band Of Gypsys was recorded live at The Fillmore East in New York City on New Year's Day, 1970. Hendrix needed one more album to fulfill his contract with Capitol Records, and decided a live album would be the easiest way to do so.
Hendrix introduced this song by dedicating it to "All the troops fighting in Harlem, Chicago and, oh yes, Vietnam."
When Hendrix sings, "I pick up my axe and fight like a bomber," his "Axe" is his guitar (as it's commonly known in England).
A studio version was never released, but Hendrix did perform this live a few times, first in September 1969 on The Dick Cavett Show. The performances could last up to 20 minutes, and the lyrics were different every time.
Hendrix used a Univibe Pedal to get the sound at the beginning of the song, which is supposed to mimic a machine gun.
When Hendrix performed at Woodstock, he played the intro to this song at the beginning of "Hear My Train A Comin'."