One Of The Greatest Songs Ever Written
The song was inspired by Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, which was a concert held during the Summer Of Love of 67, artists who played in the prestigious 3-day concert were The Who, The Byrds, Janis Joplin, and many others. 200,000 fans attended the concert, and it happened 2 years before the famous Woodstock of 69.
Jimi Hendrix was inspired by the atmosphere at the festival hence writing the song treating it as if it was a girl. He described the feeling as “Everybody really flying and in a nice mood,” calling it “Little Wing” because of the thought he had that it could just fly away.
As we know Hendrix to be a legendary ax-slinger, he played the guitar on the song in an incredibly unique style. Jimi frets the roots of chords using his thumb and then elaborates on them. He even managed to involve shifts of quartile tertian harmony then vice versa. Jimi even plugged his guitar through a Leslie speaker to create a magical sound for the song, and if you didn’t know Leslie speaker was designed to used for organs and contains a rotating paddle that distorts the sound.
The song is particularly revered as one of the greatest songs ever written among guitar players.
Tom Morello wrote in this 2011 tribute to Hendrix in Rolling Stone:
“It’s just this gorgeous song that, as a guitar player, you can study your whole life and not get down, never get inside it the way that he does. He seamlessly weaves chords and single-note runs together and uses chord voicings that don’t appear in any music books.”
Jimi described this song “like one of those beautiful girls that come around sometimes.”
He certainly did enjoy writing this song as he put a lot of emotions into it.