Red House

Album: Are You Experienced? (1967)
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Songfacts®:

  • Running about 13 minutes depending on the rendition, "Red House" is a scorching blues number where Hendrix sings about returning home to see his girl, who lives in a red house. When he gets there, his key won't work, and he realizes she doesn't live there anymore. Instead of wallowing in his misery, he turns back and decides to pay a visit to her sister.
  • According to the book Hendrix: Setting the Record Straight, Jimi worked up this song in New York City when he was still a struggling musician. He was staying in a friend's apartment that was decorated almost completely red, which gave him the lyrical inspiration for this song.

    There have been lots of rumors about the origin. These are the most pervasive:

    1) One of his girlfriends in Seattle lived in a house painted red.

    2) It comes from a Hopi legend about a mysterious red city.
  • This is a very intricate song that demonstrates Hendrix' mastery on guitar. It's one that earned him the respect of many musicians, including Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Gibbons says he was "completely turned upside down" when he heard it.
  • Hendrix recorded this in a call-and-response blues style where each line is repeated twice. This style dates back to the field hollers workers would sing to pass time in the American south. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • This was not included on the original US release of Are You Experienced?; the omission tweaked Hendrix, since it was one of his favorites. He often performed the song at his concerts, constantly changing the arrangement.
  • Hendrix recorded many versions of this song. The first release was on the UK version of his debut album, Are You Experienced? The original studio version of the song is 3 minutes, 49 seconds. Here's the timeline of the studio versions:

    Version 1:
    Recorded December 13, 1966, includes studio chat by Chas Chandler and Jimi, released on the original UK version of Are You Experienced? and on the 1997 30th Anniversary CD re-issue.

    Version 2:
    The same basic recording as version 1 but with a different vocal take by Jimi recorded March 29, 1967 and a different mix with more guitar echo. The studio chat introduction was mixed out, and the song released on the US version of Smash Hits in 1969, on the 1993 CD re-issue of Are You Experienced? and on The Ultimate Experience CD in 1993.

    Version 3:
    Recorded October 29, 1968 and introduced by Jimi as played by the Electric Church, it was released on Variations On A Theme: Red House CD in US only in 1989, released on Blues CD in 1994 and retitled "Electric Church Red House."
  • This song was covered on the 1997 G3 Live In Concert album, where it was performed by Hendrix acolytes Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Andy - Tualatin, OR
  • This appears on the City Of Angels movie soundtrack, and was used in a scene in the movie where Meg Ryan, who plays a cardiovascular surgeon, requests a nurse to turn on Jimi while she's operating on someone. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Andy - Eatontown, NJ
  • Hendrix performed this at many of his famous festival appearances, including Woodstock and the Isle of Wight.

Comments: 16

  • Bassmangotdbluz from Austin, TxA Red House is a Blues euphemism for a Whore House or Bordello. I have always thought that this tune was an old standard, a field workers song that was perpetuated by blues singers years before Hendrix but the Internet doesn't bear this out. Of course, it could just be because he claimed ownership of it when no one else did, just as Led Zeppelin did with several Willie Dixon tunes even renaming one "The Lemon Song".
  • Bill from Jeffersonville, InThere is a guy in Louisville Ky That does an excellent version Red House. It takes me back to the first time I ever heard it as a teenager. Check out his Myspace page, Mississippi Adam Riggle Band, Then click on Red house in his song player. You will be enlighted!
  • Tyler from Oshkosh, WiEverybody listen to the version he played in san diego 1969, without a doubt the best.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, MoI laughed out loud at the last line. Was NOT expecting that, hahaha
  • Sandra from Gardnerville, NvThe very first bass line I ever learned was to this song. Little did I know at the time was that it was all I would ever need to know to play rock n' roll! Thanks, Jimi!
  • Ben from Ocean City, Nj2 minutes then 3 minutes in, my favorite bits of guitar in that song! go back and listen to those parts they are just...so soulful.
  • Kevin from Los Angeles, Ca...it is the bass srings of a six sring guitar but Noel is playing it...I've read that he borrowed it from Keith Richard..
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InJimi does the blues...and absolutely TEARS IT UP!
    I love the trademark Hendrix humor, and his playing is as good as anyone could only dream.
    There are so many great Hendrix songs, but this one is my favorite.
  • Bill from Martinsville, NjLeslie West, Jack Bruce and Joe Franco do a great live version of Red House on Leslie's "Theme" album from 1988.
  • Mark from Seattle, WaRED HOUSE = ULTIMATE ELECTRIC BLUES Single best all-time version BY FAR: LIVE/San Diego Sports Arena, May 24, 1969...I've heard many renditions of this tune, but I firmly believe that soaring, mind-altering performance DEFINES the song...

    Also: don't miss Gary Moore's heart-felt & electrifying version on YOU TUBE, taped @ the STRAT PACK(50th anniversary of the Gibson "Stratocaster")Concert @ Wembley Stadium(UK) in 2004....SMOKIN'!!!
  • Sunshine from Houston, TxThis song is a classic!
  • Dan from Bradford, Englandjust like jimi this song is ace!!!
  • Dave from Scottsdale, AzReportedly, Jimi also played bass on this song but used the bass strings on his 6-string guitar. Pretty advanced stuff for 1966.
  • Linda from Omaha, NeAnd that last line makes me laugh every time
  • Linda from Omaha, Neone of Jimi's best guitar performances ever
  • Ryan from Canton, MiProbably my favorite hendrix song....last line is precious "i know her sister will"
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