Bold As Love

Album: Axis: Bold As Love (1967)
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  • This song discusses many colors: "In shiny metallic purple armor; fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground." Because of Hendrix' inability to read music, he would often describe emotions (and music) in colors rather than more descriptive words. Jimi was a very emotional and colorful person, and in this song he really brought out his emotions in a wild imagery that at first glance can be easily misinterpreted.
  • In the book Deconstructing Gurdjieff, scholar, author, and Exeter University fellow Tobias Churton claims this song refers to the Axis concept held by Islamic mystics known as Sufis. In Sufi tradition, the Axis is a spiritually perfected human being "who leads the saintly hierarchy and brings to each generation the desired knowledge of God."

    This song's title is identical to the album it appears on, minus only the word "Axis," so Churton's analysis fits the internal logic.
  • The line, "My yellow is this case is not so mellow" is a reference to the Donovan song "Mellow Yellow" and describes Hendrix' inability to express his feelings to a former girlfriend in any conventional way. Instead, Hendrix used colors to describe his feelings of fright, uncertainty and frustration. It's that frustration that leads him to say at the end of the song: "And all of these emotions of mine is holding me from giving my life to a rainbow like you." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    George - Louisville, KY
  • Originally released in December of 1967 in the UK, Axis: Bold As Love was held over until mid-January 1968 in the US. The album reached #5 in the UK and #3 in the US. This is the last song on the album, used to sum it all up. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Stone - Libertyville, IL, for all above
  • Hendrix rarely played this in concert, but he did on at least one occasion: February 28th, 1968 at the Scene Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the show, Hendrix stated that he was about to play "Bold As Love" and then improvised after the opening. Hendrix would often call his songs something other than their official titles. For example, "Fire" would be "Stand Next To Your Fire." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike M., New Jersey
  • According to his bass player Noel Redding, the music was very spontaneous, but they took 27 takes to finish it. Take 21 can be heard on their 4-CD set. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • The Pretenders covered "Bold As Love" for the 1993 Jimi Hendrix tribute album Stone Free. Their frontwoman, Chrissie Hynde, said, "'Bold As Love,' I thought, was one of the quintessential Jimi Hendrix songs. I wanted to get the cosmic aspect of what he was all about. This song describes all the colors of the auras, the chakras. It gets into the anger: purple. Envy: green. If we'd had a bit more time, maybe we would've been able to even cosmic it up a bit more."
  • John Mayer covered this song on his 2006 album Continuum. Mayer was influenced by musicians of this era, especially Hendrix and Eric Clapton. As a child, after hearing the song "Little Wing" by Jimi Hendrix, Mayer decided to learn how to play the guitar. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    David - Reno, NV

Comments: 45

  • Robbie Morris from Monterey, CaliforniaPaul McCartney is a big Jimi fan...he mighta had this song in his head when he wrote "Let it Be, which chordally is very close to it...try playing one and then the other on guitar in A...! oh and, the anger guy is Galactus from the Fantastic Four comics perhaps, the armies opposite at ready are from the Bhagavad Gita.
  • Rvhawkeye from Davenport, IowaSuch a cool, deep song from early Jimi Hendrix. I basically take the song as the colors of the rainbow represent love emotions and they all revolve around the axis (mind) as how to approach this love.
  • Dwight from Phoenix AzWhat he means by Axis is the axis of all those feelings and emotions. The one feeling them all. Himself. Either that or the axis about which all feelings and knowledge that exists revolve around, the universe itself, or god. It's a song about not being able to be with someone, because those emotions own him, and not the other way around.
  • Jason from SacramentoAxis refers to the Axis of the Earth, and how it is the basis for change and transformation. Each rotation creates history and life altering circumstances. Much like the power of love. My favorite song of his. I love how he gives each color it's own personality.
  • John from Salem, OrNO-NO-NO, Axis, Bold as Love, does not refer to the WWII Axis powers. To my knowledge, from what people close to Jimi knew, the Axis, refers to a supreme being, or primal force, that he believed existed. I agree, it's a murky description, and sounds like many other peoples wild supernatural ideas. The relationships of colors and emotions is no doubt true. But one thing for sure, it is more than that. Something very uncommon.
    Well hell, look who wrote the song.
  • Griffin from Savannah, Gasynesthesia.
  • Marko from Here, There And Everywhere, CroatiaAs far as I know, The Axis is shortened of The Axis Powers, The Axis Nations, which include Germany and Italy and their other allies in II World War. Even we in Croatia call them {Sile Osovine} which can be translated exactly as The Axis Powers. Here's wiki arcticle: . Since the whole song is talking about war, The Axis fit in perfectly. The only thing baffles me is why is he singing "he knows everything" . The Axis isn't even a person. It's an alliance! Moreover, The Axis were bad guys, people devoted to Hitler and Mussolini. In the time of Jimi Hendrix they were nearly eradicated. How could have someone asked them something if they had already been dead. Still, a lot to brood about...
  • Jeremy from Clarksburg, WvThe Army Service Ribbon is even called the Rainbow Ribbon by soldiers..... I seriously can't believe no one has ever picked up on this,...... but now you know,.... I'm glad we all love Jimi so much,.... See you when I get there Jimi! :D :D :D :D
  • Jeremy from Clarksburg, WvLook here,.. I registered just I can say this,... I served in the 101st same Bat. as Jimi did,... we both got OTH's .... proud of it,.... He's talking about the Army Service Ribbon,... check it out..... It's a song he wrote about the military ribbon that all Army soldiers get. "Flashes tokens of War, and Ribbons of euphoria" .. "Keeps holding me from giving my life to a rainbow like you" .... I picked up on this because I have one,... anyone want it? lol.... Sometimes the truth is right on the surface,.. you can put away all your deep thoughts now,... :D :D :D
  • Robert from Amityville, NyThe phenomenal guitar playing was a given on any Hendrix album, but this entire album was Jimi at his best lyrically as well. Each song is a vivid emotional masterpiece. "his tears fall and burn the garden green" Does it get any better than that? It is my favorite album of his, and this song, such a fitting ending ....
  • Ddva from Poughkeepsie, NyThis song is strong evidence that Jimi was synesthetic. That is, he possessed a form of synesthesia. Synesthesia is, among other things, when one of our senses is cross-wired to another (e.g., see "The Tell-Tale Brain"). For example, for some people, touching something, anything, and the feelings of the particular surface (soft, sandpaper, rockhard, skin, dirt, whatever) will produce a strong particular, say taste. Or they will hear a different tone for every different surface they touch. A common synesthesia is to "see" a different color shade for every musical pitch, or note. Because we can discern well over a million different colors, it is no problem for these people to have perfect pitch. For those who are (we'll say) Experienced, will probably know that most psychedelics produce powerful synesthetic experiences. Another common synesthesia is to see each number (1, 2, 3, ... 9, 0) in a different color. And others do "see" emotions in people faces, usually as a halo of a particular color around the head. Jimi once said, "People don't understand the way I play. I don't play notes. I play colors. I play emotions." Synesthesia is almost always associated with higher than average forms of one or more creativities (poet, writer, artist, musician, scientist, etc.). Jimi has been suspected of being strongly synesthetic. I think the song "Axis Bold as Love" is real evidence for this. The direct, unmistakable sensory inter-mixing of emotions, colors, and (need we say it) incredible music. Jimi was all but surely strongly synesthetic, and that synesthesia is the origin of these lyrics, if not the song itself.
  • Bill from San Bernardino, CaGreat to see folks appreciating Jimi's lyrics!! Everyone knows he was the greatest guitar player but it seems few realize how awesome his lyrics are. I have been preaching to my musician friends for years on just this subject.
  • Tyler from Oshkosh, WiI think when he says "a rainbow like you" it means a person who can describe what they want with ease because all of the emotions are together, just like all the colors are together in a rainbow. His emotions are scattered which is why its hard for him to give his life to that person.
  • Peter from La, CaI've read that the first line of this song is "Anger, he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armor" From what I can tell, it's "Anger, he's miles towering in shiny metallic purple armor"
  • Peter from La, CaI've read a couple versions of lyrics to this song and I disagree with the first line. They say it's "Anger, he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armor..." but I think it's "Anger he's miles towering..." Seems to make more sense to me.
  • Peter from La, CaI've read a lot of lyrics about this song, and I tend to disagree with the first line. They say "Anger, he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armor..." but I think it's "Anger he's miles towering...". Seems to make more sense to me.
  • Harold from San Antonio, TxThe phrase "a rainbow like you" refers to an inexperienced person. Recruits in the first few days of basic training - before uniforms are issued - are called "rainbows" because of the the many types and colors of clothing worn.
  • Rebecca from Cape May, NjI absolutely love this song! his emotions are perfectly expressed through the imagery in the lyric and the solos are great
  • Lyle from Farmington,AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!great song ahhhh....but Hendrix did experiment with LSD and maybe he was on a lovely trip and saw different sorts of colors and linked them to his emotions?
  • Fred from Sweet Home Chicago,The guitar at the very beggining sounds like a gun reloading
  • Ted from Phoenix, AzThis is a 1960's psychedelic classic with a very strong melody.
  • Dean from Sydney,I've always thought 'the axis' was some type of American Indian soothsayer, fortune teller or similar. I can't place where I got this information though, so it may not be even close.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Mojimi is usually thought of for his mind-blowing guitar playing abilities, and his amazing lyrical talents are often overlooked. he was such a deep guy, with a very poetic mind. and i think i have a theory about where some of the imagery may have originated. some very few people have different connections in their brains, where senses are linked differently; they can taste sounds, or hear colors, and some can "see" music- meaning that they see vivid colors and shapes depending on the sounds they hear. i did a paper for school about it once, im not making this up. i wonder if jimi was one of them? it makes perfect sense, reading the lyrics. its also said that a lot of these people are left handed and artistically or musically talented, which of course he was. i dont know, just a theory. either way, the lyrics are some of the most beautiful ever written.
  • Bmn from Hisuan, Argentinabig al and evilio, i was just playing let it be on my piano and i started singing unconciously bold as love! they are similar, i say.
  • Brandon from Cadillac, Mei think that axis means acid in this song or mabey the pas as in the axis of the wourld and years going by
  • Sam from Athens, GaI'm shocked to see above that this song is referred to as a "sad song" !!! This is the 20th century's Ode To Joy!! One of the happiest songs ever.
  • Dean from Sydney,Jimi Hendrix is so well known for his talented guitar playing, but the vocal lines in this song demand credit. Beautiful.
  • Johannes from Biere, GermanyJust love the song. I think it means a lot, not only the lyrics, but the whole song. While listening to this song I sometimes get the feeling to completely understand Jimi and what he felt. So I think it isn't so important to get the whole meanings of the lyrics. It is about getting the idea of the meaning it had for Jimi and which enormous importance it had for him. Why did he never really played it live? I assume he just didn't want to disclose too much of his feelings. Perhaps it is his most personal song. So, on the other hand the lyrics ARE important. Does this make any sense? Besides this, I don't get the meaning of "axis".
  • Mark B. Stoned from Desperate Hot Springs, CaThis is such a beautiful and brilliantly executed song. I love the spacey theme that occasionally surfaces throughout the album and the hints that Jimi was not from Earth on songs like "EXP" and "Up From the Skies". When I listen to "Bold As Love", I often get that same otherworldly vibe, mainly from the choruses and coda. After reading about the year 2012 and all the occurrences that will or are speculated to happen, such as the alignment of the plane of our solar system with the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way that could bring catastrophic events to our planet, I tend to envision the music to this song as the soundtrack to this beautiful destruction, with the solo playing while everything is ending and the heavily-flanged coda playing during our ascension. It's quite a trip.
  • Lemicro from New York City, NyI love the guitar solo in this song, the whole song is great too, it just flows.
  • Patrick from Adelaide, AustraliaI absolutely love this song. It just seems to flow.
  • Joey from Yourmomsville, Mai love the imagery in this song its like he saw life so vividely he was such a deep dude and such an amazing poet
  • Kris from Newton, NjThis song has one of the best guitar solos ever
  • Jamie from Hickory, NcI always thought this meant that even if you are the craziest orange or the mellowist yellow, you are still as bold as love. I think thats a cool meaning.
  • Meredith from Waterloo, CanadaJohn Mayer covers this song on his album "Continuum."
  • Evilio from Melbourne, AustraliaI've also thought that Let It Be sounds a lot like this song...more then just the solo, the music in gereral. Well, McCartney was known to go to Hendrix shows, Lennon did perform with him once.
  • Big Al from Southampton, EnglandIs it just me who thinks the guitar solo is very similar to the one in let it be by the beatles?
  • Max from Brockton, Magreat song...awesome solo at the end
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScWell I wouldn't have thought of this song as jazz influenced, but since it got 4 stars from that magazine, I can see why that would make sense. The drums sound a little bit jazzy. This song has a great guitar solo too and very vivid imagery.
  • Sophia from London, EnglandThis song is real good. I love the guitar solo. By Sophia Caan
  • Angelo from Las Vegas, Nvi see life in differant colors too so i know what his talking about
  • Mark from Seattle, WaAxis Bold as Love got four stars from the jazz magazine Down Beat. Jimi was more than rock.
  • Mota from .My yellow in this case is not so mellow
    In fact Im trying to say its frigthened like me
    That's a great line i think...also when he says "Ribbons of Euphoria" and the little guitar riff along with it is like 8-o
  • C from No., EnglandThis song personifies emotions and links them to colours-
  • Josh from Las Vegas, Nvthat's awesome that's just how i see music me and jimi got somethin in common
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