Jimi Hendrix – Smash Hits

All of Jimi’s pre-1968 A- and B-sides in the one package

In the ‘70s, superior compilations of Hendrix’s work were presented (i.e The Essential Vols 1 and 2), although Smash Hits was the first, having been released when Jimi was still alive, and contained many non-LP tracks that had been available only as singles. Because of this, the album did very well in both America and the UK, as well as Europe and Australia, where it went to #1. That said, is it really worth owning? Well, that depends on how obsessed you are with the man’s music.

Copies of the original vinyl (with poster) can fetch pretty high prices, so from a collector’s point of view, the LP is a must have. For those less enamoured with the guitarist, Smash Hits makes for a concise introduction, even if it doesn’t offer the listener a wider representation of his career. That it was compiled before the release of Electric Ladyland, means there is no “All Along The Watchtower,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” nor any of his later material.

Two variations of Smash Hits found their way onto the market – the original UK version (1968), and the US version (1969), which included “Red House,” “Remember,” “Crosstown Traffic,” and the aforementioned “All Along The Watchtower,” but omitted “51st Anniversary,” “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp,” and “Highway Chile.”

Yet all the other hits are here: “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” “Wind Cries Mary,” and “Foxy Lady,” which was the main reason why it was so popular in the first place.

The UK edition of Smash Hits is essentially a reordering of Are You Experienced, with a few B-sides added for good measure. Even hard-core fans would be better advised to stick with Jimi’s debut (which includes several bonus tracks already), or one of the other, more comprehensive collections available.

But for those who must own it, the 2012 CD remaster is the one to get.