Friday, October 29, 2010


Hey Joe is a song I've been playing since high school in bands. I've even made several recorded efforts playing drums in different bands over the years, and some of those versions I'm quite happy with.

There came a time when Billy Ray and Ricky Ray and I were playing that song in our long time musical effort, and although I was playing drums at the same time, and I'm not especially good at either singing generally or specifically whilst playing drums, even I have made the effort to learn how to sing Hey Joe, just to give us some lyrics to play along with.

In any event, at least 1500 of others have recorded Hey Joe. This is a comprehensive website
Hey Joe Versions By Jan MariusMore about the song "Hey Joe" and over 1500 versions listed (Thanks to Christian Arnould for additional information) that discussed all kinds of Hey Joe information about all of these bands, but you're overwhelmed at the number of acts listed.


Thank you for the reference. FYI Hey Joe Versions has been moved to

/Sincerely, Jan Marius

Of course, there's even thousands or hundreds of thousands more private recordings of local and regional and "unfamous" bands. I know I've played it with MANY bands and improptu groupings of all sorts, all of which were absolutely unknown. A lot of those times got recorded by me during the past nearly 25 years of me playing drums with various bands and acts. But of course, none of the recordings I'm on (a few are "my" recordings, featuring my bands or bands I led, but most are with other acts where I'm just drumming) are going to be on a list like this. They're private recordings, and there's got to be thousands if not tens or hundreds of thousands of bands and acts and jams where this song was played and recorded, but never released commercially.

I've played Hey Joe with so many different acts that I actually have a CD of me playing the song with various folks in various ways over the past 18 years since I was able to digitally record live beginning back then and get a good sound mix. I have analog recordings from before made from stereo cassette recorders with decent microphones, but they have that free floating noise on the source tape. Nonetheless, there was some good bands I was getting to play with in those analog only days of the 70's and 80's up until Sony introduced the portable (and the home recording deck unit) DAT recorder, which made stereo DAT live recording a reality and easy.

So I like Hey Joe as a song after all of these years of listening to it, particularly the first Hendrix version. Stark. Emotive. Soulful. Just fantasic playing by three excellent musicians who were still hon-gray and rock and roll was this new happening thing they were creating in the mid-1960's. I could go on about Noel's bass playing or the certain resonance of Mitchell's snare and toms and his at times thunder and lightning fast fills, but if you know the song, you know of these things.

Of course, my favorite versions have always been those by Hendrix, but there are other noteworthy versions as well. Deep Purple had a gradiose and extended entry into the song in their 1968 version.

Robert Plant did some very innovative versions with both Strange Sensation (WILD VERSION, Justin Adams rocks the Gimbri) on their first CD as well as with the briefly lived Plant band project called Priory of Brion, who did a great thumping drum rhythm version live in their short existence 10 years ago. The Strange Sensation version is a MUST listen for any fan of Plant, and really, any fan of the song. The Gimbri, a three stringed lute of mystic trance Gnawan origin, gets the heck played out of it by Mr. Adams, and haunts the entire song.

At that time in the early days of the all too short lived band Strange Sensation, Porl Thomson (of CURE fame) was the lead guitarist, and no slouch is he on the six strings. In any event, it's an emotive interpretation of Hey Joe, I submit, the likes of which hasn't been done well since Deep Purple. That's a heady gauntlet to throw down, but listen to the Strange Sensation version and tell me I'm wrong.

But I'll link to the wiki page listing all kinds of folks who have covered Hey Joe. And that's in addition to the nobody's in the music world like me who have played it literally with dozens of bands and jam bands and I mean, in the Texas blues world, you better know how to play Hey Joe. Like Red House, it's liable to be thrown down any time on stage or in a jam or rehearsal.


  1. Thank you for the reference. FYI Hey Joe Versions has been moved to
    Sincerely, Jan Marius

  2. My pleasure, Jan and thanks for dropping by.

    And Hey Jan, where you going with the big black .44 in your hand...?