Five insanely long songs that don't waste a single second

Every second is priceless.
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“VOODOO CHILE” by Jimi Hendrix – 1968 (14:50)

Jimi Hendrix began his final studio album, the monumental Electric Ladyland, with a short noisy track, followed by a gorgeous short composition referencing the album’s title. And a raver called “Crosstown Traffic.” Together, the three songs run under six minutes. Then he concludes side 1 with the ultimate jam – “Voodoo Chile.” He had his drummer, the sensational Mitch Miller with him, along with the bass player from Jefferson Airplane, Jack Casady, and a 20-year kid on keyboards named Stevie Winwood. They decided to play a little Muddy Waters.

Fifteen minutes later, they had one of the greatest studio jams ever captured on tape. Hendrix is restrained early on, allowing Winwood to run wild on his Hammond organ. But it doesn’t take long before Jimi’s guitar and Mitch’s drums join the free-form exploration. All the while, Casady’s bass keeps the pace.

Right in the middle, you think it might be over. There is even a smattering of applause. But these guys are just getting warmed up. The band members trade off little solo runs throughout the second half, with Jimi’s guitar usually the brightest bulb in the room. Even if you’re not looking to chill out, or seeking out a heavy dose of jazz fusion, there’s something undeniably hypnotic about the way Jimi Hendrix sells a song.

Later, Jimi, Mitch, and Experience bassist Noel Redding would adapt the long jam into a five-minute single called “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” It is shorter, tighter, and less languid than the long jam should you have a little less time, or need a little more high octane in your tank.