“Hey Joe” was the first commercially successful song for Jimi Hendrix, but he was not the original composer of the tune. The song made the Voodoo Child famous in 1966, but the song is actually a cover song.
However, there is still some debate as to who originally wrote the song, “Hey Joe.” The haunting rock song asks fans to question the man. “Where you going with that gun in your hand?” sang Hendrix.
The song came out on his debut album, Stone Free.
”Hey Joe” Before Jimi Hendrix
Thanks to a breakthrough performance at the Monterrey Pop Festival and a killer debut album, Jimi Hendrix was on his way to stardom. Because of this, the question about the “Hey Joe” origin is fairly significant for fans.
The problem is that there are several versions of the song before Hendrix sunk his teeth into the mix. In 1962, singer-songwriter Billy Roberts copyrighted the song, but it wasn’t exactly the same song. However, the story in it was quite similar.
But, Chet Powers is also a candidate as the originator.
The Many Claimers Of The Song
Chet Powers renamed himself as Dino Valenti while auditioning for various bands in the Los Angeles area. He claimed that he wrote the song. But, at the same time, a man in Greenwich village named Tim Rose said he wrote the song due to a nickname he had as a kid.
For the most part, Billy Roberts is the person most credited for writing the song. If nothing else, he had the legal sense to copyright the tale. But, there are just as many bands and musicians to cover the song along with Jimi Hendrix.
The Los Angeles version of “Hey Joe” was more upbeat. The song was played as often as “Stairway to Heaven” in guitar stores worldwide. Eventually, The Leaves (1965), The Byrds (1966), and Love (1966) also sang the famous song.
In the end, it became one of the many anthems of the 1960s counterculture. When Tim Rose recorded a slowly blues version of the mix, Jimi Hendrix jumped on board for this new version of the tune. Since Hendrix, it has been performed by Deep Purple, Cher, Eddie Murphy, and the Offspring.
Who sings your favorite version of the song, “Hey Joe”?