Song of the Week – Are You Experienced, Jimi Hendrix; Heroin, Velvet Underground; Hurt, Johnny Cash

Ignored            Obscured             Restored

Recently I was listening to “Are You Experienced” by Jimi Hendrix and observed that the droning note in the song is utterly mesmerizing.

A drone is when a single note or chord is sounded continuously throughout a piece of music.  It is popular in Indian music and with Scottish bagpipes.

After hearing “Are You Experienced” I began to think about other Rock music songs that employ the technique.  There are many songs with Indian Raga influences that came to mind, like “See My Friends” by the Kinks, and a few tracks by the Beatles and the Byrds.  But I was fixated on songs with more prominent, single note drones.

One that came to mind was “Heroin” by the Velvet Underground.  Listen to how John Cale uses his viola, varying his attack to enhance the song’s emotion.

VU’s “Venus in Furs”, from the same album, also fits the bill.

Another is the Johnny Cash version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.”  The piano drone in the choruses provides the tension that drives the song.

Can you think of others?

Enjoy… until next week.

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