51st Anniversary by The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Great B-Sides

By the time Jimi Hendrix released debut album Are You Experienced?, he certainly was experienced. After a stint in the army, training as a paratrooper, he played with the Isley Brothers, Little Richard, and his own band Jimmy James and the Famous Flames. By the time former Animals bassist Chas Chandler signed him to a record deal and he released debut single ‘Hey Joe’, he was already 24, a late start for such a prodigious talent.

’51st Anniversary’ was released in the UK on March 17, 1967, as the b-side to ‘Purple Haze’. Hendrix released three singles leading up to his debut album Are You Experienced, but none of the singles or their b-sides were included on UK edition the album. Making a debut album without including classic Hendrix tracks ‘Hey Joe’, ‘Stone Free’, ‘Purple Haze’, ’51st Anniversary’, ‘The Wind Cries Mary’, and ‘Highway Chile’ seems like making hard work for yourself, but Are You Experienced is one of the great all-time debut albums.

The opening lick of ’51st Anniversary’ recalls The Rolling Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’ before it settles into a groove. It’s a fascinating lyric from Hendrix, ruminating on happy and unhappy marriages, and declaring his own intentions not too settle down too soon.

Since 1997, CD versions have included the eleven tracks from the original UK edition, along with the six extra tracks from the early singles, making a great album even better.

A fifty years they’ve been married
And they can’t wait for their fifty first to roll around
Yeah, roll around
A thirty years they’ve been married
And now they’re old and happy and they settle down
Settle down yeah!
Twenty years they’ve been married
And they did everything that could be done
You know their havin’ fun

And then you come along and talk about

So you, say you want to be married
I’m gonna change your mind
Oh got to change
That was the good side baby
Here comes the bad side

Ten years they’ve been married
A thousand kids run around hungry
‘Cause their mother’s a louse
Daddy’s down at the whiskey house
That ain’t all

For three years they’ve been married
They don’t get along so good
They’re tired of each other, you know how that goes
She got another lover
Huh same old thing

So now you’re seventeen
Running around hanging out, and a havin’ your fun
Life for you has just begun, baby

And then you come saying
So you, you say you want to get married
Oh baby trying to put me on a chain
Ain’t that some shame
You must be losing your, sweet little mind
I ain’t ready yet, baby, I ain’t ready
I’m gonna change your mind

Ooh look out baby
I ain’t ready to get tied down
I ain’t ready, I ain’t ready now

Let me live a little while longer
Let me live
Let me live a little while longer…

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Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.


  1. You find some great B sides, Graham. Love his guitar work on this and a cool idea for a song.
    That is odd they didn’t include some of those singles on the album…to help sell it if nothing else. The Beatles also looked at singles and albums as two different things completely.
    They had to work hard for the singles and the almost yearly album releases. That is quite a few songs to come up with.

    • He was basically a UK artist too – a bunch of UK artist made singles and albums seperately. The Jam were doing in the 1970s. I have a bunch of 1960s Stones albums (UK editions) but not many of the hit songs.

      • You would think they would want to drive the albums sale over the singles. I guess they thought the albums would sale regardless.
        Anyway nice selection today. This is one of my favorite B sides that you have picked.

  2. A nice choice but I thought the third UK 45 – “The Wind Cries Mary” b/w “Highway Chile” from May 1967 is way better.
    Jimi was funny that way. I’ve always thought “Hey Joe” something of a bore whilst its flip-side “Stone Free” is just plain fucking brilliant.
    The album’s too – everyone raves about “Electric Ladyland” which I remember even though I was only 10 in 1968. But I’m 62 and in March 1971, I came to him proper with “The Cry Of Love” LP after he’d passed – now that blows me away. And two of my treasured possessions are the British picture sleeve versions of “Voodoo Chile” from October 1970 and the “Gypsy Eyes” 4-track EP from October 1971 – love owning them!
    One man’s poison…

  3. PS: I’ve reviewed over 4000 items on Amazon – most CDs – and speaking of B-sides – one of my absolute fave-raves is called “The Purple Dancer” which is on the flip-side of Fleetwood Mac’s March 1971 UK single for “Dragonfly”.
    The stand-alone 45only “Dragonfly” track first appeared on LP on their first “Greatest Hits” album that November (1971) and “The Purple Dancer” has appeared only on rare Euro compilations etc that you rarely ever see. But until September 2020 and the 8CD Mini Box Set “Fleetwood Mac: 1969-1974” – it had never been on digital – ever. It’s a twin-guitar rocker with Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer – fab tune.
    I’ve been working on an e-book this year or so, called “Love Me Two Times” where I list singles that I think have good tunes on both sides – my fave A&B-sides – and where to get the best CD Remasters of them. To date I’ve got over 850 titles in it but across the 50s and into the 90s – it’s gotten a tad unwieldy and huge. May have to break it down into three books… Take care and great site by the way.

    • Thanks for the recommendation on Fleetwood Mac – I’ve added it to my list and will try and remember to credit you if I feature it.
      The book sounds interesting. I kind of like writing about b-sides as kind of an alternate history, rather than just going over the most wellworn songs. Thanks for writing in!

      • Agreed. However, UK glam rock acts of the seventies had an unfortunate habit of putting self-penned rubbish on their b-sides. All group members would be credited as writers on these songs (Sweet and Mud were regulars for doing this) – apparently it gave the band a chance to earn some royalties from the singles’ sales, as main the ‘a’ side writers Chinn/Chapman had taken most of it. Either way, the songs were invariably terrible!

  4. Yes, brilliant choice. In addition to the music, I was always fascinated by the lyrics, which tell the story of a relationship from the present to the past. It may be a typical young man’s view of the danger of being trapped by a girl (so many women, so little time etc.) but it was early evidence that there was more to Hendrix than the “wild man of pop”, as the straight press labelled him. Note, too, that while he is known for his sound being loud and screaming with feedback, he actually respected the Fender Stratocaster’s natural plangent beauty.
    As for your remark about leaving all those songs off the first album, it did pave the way for an early Smash Hits album, which, unlike most compilations, holds its own as an album worth having. When I lost my entire CD collection a few years ago (long story) the one I chose to replace first, and hence establish a completely new collection, was Jimi Hendrix Smash Hits.

    • Yup, it’s definitely interesting subject matter for a song. He has some songs that show an interest in sci-fi as well, again breaking out of the mould. And ‘Little Wing’ is one of his best-loved songs, and is very sweet and gentle.
      I didn’t know Smash Hits was available on CD – I’ve never seen it.

  5. Cool! I am so glad that so many people love Jimi Hendrix. He was so great and so talented that he deserves all the recognition. Best guitar player ever, very good composer and an outstanding live artist. Maybe not the best singer, but good anyway.

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