Castles Made Of Sand

Album: Axis: Bold As Love (1967)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This is one of Hendrix' most autobiographical and personal songs. He hated talking about his past, and avoided it during press conferences and interviews.
  • Hendrix played all of the lead guitar parts backwards, then rewound the recording of the lead guitar parts to the song to get that effect you hear in the beginning and in the middle of the song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dane - Honolulu, HI, for above 2
  • Hendrix' mother was a Cherokee Indian, and in this song he identifies with his heritage as a Native American.
  • Hendrix read the words for this song as a poem instead of singing them. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers were all big fans of Jimi Hendrix and often perform this song live. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Adrian - Gettysburg, PA
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Comments: 40

  • Lee from New York, Ny"And it really didn't have to stop, it just kept on going
    It was a line about false hope. That's the way I see it. The whole song is about depression and false expectations , building on foundations of sand , as in the Bible parable . The fleeting nature of dreams not grounded in reality just wash away eventually. One of the all time great Hendrix tunes on every level
  • Matt from Hali, NtI've been trying to find a live performance of this forever... Does anyone know of a show he would have pulled this one out at?
  • Nik from Sanbruno, CaI started listening to this song a wile back and it's underlying meaning quickly made it one of my favorite songs.

    The first verse is about his parents love coming to an end, and possibly jimi's parents love was is greatest wish... The second verse is about a boys greatest dream/wish being taken from him.... And the last verse is of a girl's greatest wish (committing suicide) passing due to the fact that she saw something that made her want to keep living. The golden ship is just a metaphor for something that could change a persons mind about ending there own life.

    The meaning of the song is that one shouldn't live for one thing, rather learn to cherish all that life has to offer. Because maybe once you achieve your ultimate desire, it isn't what you thought it would be like... maybe your wish will fade away
  • Richard from Tustin, CaI agree with Fred. It is a positive ending. She was about to commit suicide, but saw 'a miracle', for lack of a better term, then 'jumped up', and 'said', etc. Uh, she was cured of whatever it was that was ailing her. Why would she kill herself then? Eh? > Listen to Audrey, Czech Republic. I listen to him when I'm down, too, Audrey, and I just so happen to be Czech, as well. LOL Anyway, don't read to much into Jimi's lyrics. He had an amazing gift for imagery, and everything had an influence on him, his music, and his lyrics, much like John. Both were also very influenced by drugs which allowed them to envision different things, that mere mortals could not, with or without drugs, etc. This is not an endorsement, nor a comdemnation of drug use. It is historical fact. Disclaimer: Do NOT try this at home! I love Jimi, his music and his lyrics, and I believe that much of it is a composite of all of his vast experiences, and that none are particularly specific. Unlike John, whom we know wrote many specific lyrics, and many criptique lyrics, in addition to the seemingly 'nonsensical' lyrics.

    This song has a very personal meaning to me b/c my 16 y.o. daughter does not walk, or talk, and depends on a wheelchair for mobility, so, needless to say, everytime I hear this song, I think of her, which is bittersweet, and my reaction to it is usually determined by my mood. It can be tough at times, though I still, and always will love this song.
    "Thank you, Jimi Hendrix, wherever you are." P. Rodgers, "The Hendrix Set, EP
  • Tyler from Oshkosh, WiThe last verse is about his mom. In her last days in the hospital she became so sick and weak from her liver disease that she couldnt talk or walk.

    Tyler ,Oshkosh,WI
  • Douglas from Bethesda, TnFred, I really like your optimistic interpretation of verse 3. Ever since I heard the song in the 1970's I've always felt that the golden winged ship was a miracle that cured her, and that regardless of how dire things may seem, there's always hope for improvement.
  • Zach from Jacksonville, FlAmazing song , chili peppers cover is fantastic as well :D
  • Twing from Dallas, TxTo me , i felt that the song represents a life that someone builds up...the hills, the rough terrain and everything that you put into it. and one day, the dream that you live for will be gone. live life to the fullest and there is no reason to stop the dreaming because it is a preservation of the reality in which you want to attain. Jimi is my idol, i love this song, and any person can make their own meaning to personally relate to the lyrics but this is what it means to me. R.I.P JH
  • Fred from Jacksonville, FlOK-Castles Made of Sand are simply our own perception that we have concreted as truth. Ideals and thoughts that can be decimated in a moment with the truth of Reality.


    1st verse: Relationships are fragile things. When we think they are the strongest we take them for granted and let our foolishness take them away. He thought his castle(relationship) was fortified but his drinking behaviour was slowly weakening it until the moment she gave up on them. His sand was his ignorance of his failing and fading relationship.

    2nd Verse: He was going to be an Indian Warrior Chief. His dream had become so concrete in his mind, he never thought of himself as an immature boy who was vulnerable. Most vulnerable while asleep. His sand was his vulnerability and youth. His castle was only a dream, an idea.

    (Mysterious)3rd Verse: "Cause she was crippled for life, And she couldn't speak a sound" She had never spoken before. She 'smiled' to her legs, not spoke to them.
    "But then a sight she'd never seen made her jump and say
    Look a golden winged ship is passing my way"
    Made her 'jump' and 'say'. The amazing sight she saw caused her to stand and speak for the first time ever.
    "And it really didn't have to stop, it just kept on going..." Her cure had come. She wasn't going to die. Not that she wanted to anyway. This is actually the only positive verse in the song. Her castle was her belief that she would never be cured and that death was the only option. But like all castles built on ideas and thoughts, they can crumble at the quickest moment of truth.

    I hoped this helped someone.
  • Bob from Lake Tahoe , CaCory from Seattle was correct, I always had a hard time playing this song w/o a tear, my mother passed shortly after Jimi passed. Stefanie from SC, everything Jimi was playing and writing was leaning towards him playing w/Miles and Herbie in the 70's, only my dream of where the music could have gone??
  • Henry from Baltimore, MdI love this song! It just fits with the rest of Jimi's catalog.
  • George from Little Rock, Arbeautiful song by an amazing artist. I am saddened at the music industry of today. Where are the the JImi hendrix's of this generations? I wished I could have seen the man live on stage.
  • Nick from Corona, Cain the movie about hendrix they say its about his family
    the little indian brave is his brother and him playing when they were young
    the couple fighting are his parents
    and the lady in wheel chair is his mother
    hendrix is my favorite artist of all time
    rip jimi
  • This Dude from Philla, Pafavorite song...... yes great
  • Wes from Sherwood, Arthe undisputed,misunderstood vituoso,greatest guitarist ever! jimi was on a different plane!whether you liked him or not,he could simply play anything. the guitar was extension of his soul---zenlike or whatever
  • Claudia from Long Branch, NjCastles made of sand, is definitely a very personal song of Jimi Hendrix. I love it, so much. I mean, it's pretty upsetting because of the whole, wheel-chair chick and stuff but you can't look at things that way. What Jimi,(well to me) is basically saying by the, "golden winged ship is passing my way" means that when the girl finally jumped into the water, she jumped out of her chair, and then died. People always describe "heaven" as the opening of the golden gates, and I'm pretty sure that's what Jimi Hendrix was portraying.
  • Kakuji from Tuchow, PolandThe guitar in this song is amazing, one of the best lyrics I've ever heard. I like the way Jimi sings it. For me, it's a song telling how our life can change immediately and that nothing is eternal. Love can change into hatred, our dreams may be finished with death. In the last stanza Jimi mentions a girl who commits suicide. Many difficult problems are brought up in this song in a beautiful way.
  • Guy from San Francisco, Cacory is right, the song is based on jimi's life, but it's not the point of the song. castles made of sands are beautifull things that are destined to end - the first verse is about how jimis parrents marrige ended. the second is about the end of childhood - one day you dream of being a warrior and the next day you'r killed in a war. the third verse is about the end someones life, the best example for a castle made of sand.
  • Luke from Mebane, NcThe line "Castles made of sand will fall into the sea, eventually" means that everything we do in this life is like a castle made of sand, it will be destroyed eventually.
  • Henry from London, EnglandHendrix never did the whole peace and love thing did he? The album was released in the Summer of Love, so I reckon he was talking about the fact that the hippe dream wouldnt last. He was right though wasnt he?
  • Grant from Denver, Coi donno much about hendrix's life i know hes a great musician... i took the castles made of sand fall into the sea thing to be like this... castle would be something that you feel safe in and sand is a weak thing... so a fake sense of safeness... castle falling into a sea is it getting destroyed ... so your fake sense of protection gets broken
  • Wade from Houston, TxI don't think she fell into the ocean because it's impossible for a crippled person to jump. I like to interpret the lyrics at the end of the song more along the lines of meaning that her paralysis was finally cured.
  • Cory from Seattle, WaAlright guys. I am a Hendrix freak here. The song isn't about any of that. Its about::: The first verse is Jimi's mother leaveing his father Al hendrix again, this time for real (she left him and got back with him many times). When Jimi was little, he visted his grandmother Nora Hendrix, who told him storys about Indains and their culter. Then when Jimi was alone in the woods he would pretend to be Indain and fighting like Indians. This is what the second verse is about. When Lucille (jimis mother) got put in the hospital, she had a liver disease that put her in a wheelchair. She kept saying to her sister "I'm gonna die from this, make sure my kids are taken care of, im gonna die from this" and her sister refeared this as "It was almost as if she wished she would die already". That is the third verse.

    Boorakasha

    read "Room full of mirrors"
  • Joe from New York, NyI'm not sure so i'm just throwing this out there, but this is my attempt at what the last verse means. So there's this crippled girl who is depressed and wants to kill herself so she takes her wheelchair to the edge of the sea and she plans on throwing herself in, since she wouldn't be able to swim. "to her legs she smiled you won't hurt me no more", so her legs which apparently have ruined her life will no longer have a hold on her once she is dead. This is where it gets hazy but i think the golden winged ship is just the sun setting over the ocean. "a sight she'd never seen made her jump", so she jumped out of her chair into the ocean and finally she was washed into the sea literally and metaphorically along with the setting sun.
  • Audry from Vaunstrassenville, Czech RepublicI always listen to Hendrix when im down (and when im not) it just calms me down and makes me feel better. I love this song because "and so castles made of sand fall in the sea eventually" all things come to an end. I think that's the underlying message.
  • John from Seattle, Wawhat are u talkign about sayign it like a poem he definatly sings it
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaWow this song is awesome. This song sounds like something RHCP would cover. I also like the poem lyrics. Very nice touch to a very meaningful song by Hendrix. PS YAY JIMI HENDRIX DAY!!
  • Zac from Cornwall, CanadaJimi Hendrix was awesome, so awesome that the mayor of Seattle declared November 27th to be Jimi Hendrix Day, "There have even been days set in his honor: ?Jimi Hendrix, pioneering guitarist, of the 1960?s...Jimi Hendrix...continues to be mourned by music lovers everywhere; now, therefore, I, Norman B. Rice, Mayor of the city of Seattle, do hereby proclaim, November 27...to be Jimi Hendrix Day...to remember the contributions he made to modern music.?
  • Kira from Edmonton, CanadaMy favourite Hendrix song. The lyrics alternate from depressing to hopeful (last verse). What great and fluid guitar work. A true classic.
  • Josh from Elkton, MdI love this song, I bought the Voodoo Child Hendrix Collection and was shocked when Castles Made of Sand wasn't on it. Castles Made of Sand, is my favorite Hendrix song, and one of my favorite songs of all time if not favorite.
  • Tyler from Providence, RiThe referance to the indian part is when him and his brother Leon used to play indians in the woods when they were little and then his father ended up moving them around so much to different parts of the city and separating the two so they couldnt play as much anymore and he used it as a slight referance in the song. Great lyrical song reflecting on some of his life.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI wonder if this song was also jazz influenced. The guitar and drums and bass sound jazzy.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI've listened to the song a few times, and he seems to be half-speaking and half-singing the vocals if that makes sense. He speaks some of them and sings others. This is a great song and Himi Hendricks was a great songwriter. He also had a sexy voice, so he could get away with not singing his vocals if he wanted to. I'm just saying that as a side note.
  • Zach from Carlsbad, Cathis is one of my favorite songs of all time because i love the message behind it, if you build something as strong as a castle out of something as weak and fragile as sand it will eventually fall, like the marrige was not built off of love so it collasped, the warrior was killed he wasn't taught to be a grat warrior, and the last one i can not apply to that meaning of the song so i would love to hear your ideas...
  • Zach from Carlsbad, Cathe 'golden winged ship' refers to the ship that takes people up to heaven because she killed herself, she jumped to the ship and because she was so willing to die it barely had to stop to pick her up
  • Katie from Your Mom, United Statesman i love this song and its so true...ps RHCP did a cover of it and its sweet
  • Racine from Truro, MaI remember hearing this for the first time while working. The song stuck with me for the longest time until I finally downloaded it and listened to it over and over. It's very transfixing.
  • Alan from London, EnglandThis is a great song. I was very dissapointed to see that it wasn't put on his family approved MCA box set.
  • Louis from San Diego, CaCan soemone help me with the ending? What is he referring to when he says "a golden winged ship is passing my way"?
  • Music Natzi from Albany, NyThis is one of my favorite songs by Jimi. Most detailed and underrated sone there is to Jimi. So underrated i'm the first one to comment.
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