Today in 1967, Jimi Hendrix’s debut LP, ‘Are You Experienced?’ entered the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, where it stayed for 106 weeks, including 77 weeks in the Top 40. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No.15 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and two years later it was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in the United States.
The LP was an immediate critical and commercial success, and it is widely regarded as one of the greatest debuts in the history of rock music featuring the classics “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” and “The Wind Cries Mary.”
Although popular in Europe at the time, the Experience’s first US single, “Hey Joe”, failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart upon its release on May 1, 1967. The group’s fortunes improved when Paul McCartney recommended them to the organizers of the Monterey Pop Festival. He insisted that the event would be incomplete without Hendrix, whom he called “an absolute ace on the guitar”, and he agreed to join the board of organizers on the condition that the Experience perform at the festival in mid-June. During the climax of the festival, Hendrix burned and smashed his guitar on stage for dramatic effect.