Saturday, July 4, 2009

Jimi Hendrix and a family tradition

When I was young and had no sense, I used to wake up on the 4th with contempt. For the first umpteen years of my life, my dad would begin Independence Day by playing the sounds of Jimi Hendrix wailing his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. It was like Dad's revenge for waking him up early on Christmas morning.

Unfortunately, when I was younger, for whatever unpatriotic, uncounterculture reason, I didn't really like the song. I think I said once it sounded like "a guitar and a bulldozer". But I don't think it bothered the Old Man, he kept on playing it anyway.

Somewhere along the way, my musical tastes started evolving. I went from Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to George Clinton to James Brown to the blues and wouldn't you know, back to Jimi. By the time I was in my early 20s, I understood the significance of taking a national standard like the Star Spangled Banner and turning it inside-out in the name of counterculture. I could relate to Jimi's frustration at the establishment yet his belief that America was still the best country in the world.

So given that I don't have kids of my own to wake up, I decided to post Jimi Hendrix's "guitar and bulldozer" song, his amazing rendition of Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner". Hopefully you'll watch, appreciate, and crank it up for the neighbors to hear.

Happy Independence Day.

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