Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and 50 Years of "Voodoo Chile"

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Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and 50 Years of "Voodoo Chile"

Did you know that Paste owns the world’s largest collection of live music recordings? It’s true! And what’s even crazier, it’s all free—hundreds of thousands of exclusive songs, concerts and videos that you can listen to and watch right here at Paste.com, from Louis Armstrong to The Who to U2 to Wilco. Every day, we’ll dig through the archive to find the coolest recording we have from that date in history. Search and enjoy!

Covering any Jimi Hendrix tune is an enormous feat, let alone covering “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” arguably the guitar legend’s most recognizable riff, and thus one of the most famous riffs in rock history.

If anyone could pul it off, it was Texas guitar-slinger Stevie Ray Vaughan. On Aug. 17, 1984, Vaughan performed his version of the song at the Spectrum in Montreal, recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. Vaughan was on a world tour to promote his second second album with Double Trouble, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, released in May of that year with a cover of “Voodoo Chile” included. Listen here as he attacks the opening riff with a wah-wah aggression that few guitarists have ever matched.

No Jimi Hendrix cover can truly hold up to its original version—which we have right here in the Paste vault. This Hendrix performance took place at San Francisco’s Winterland on Oct. 10, 1968, mere days before Electric Ladyland’s official release. Hendrix can be heard introducing the song and his third LP to an unknowing crowd at the beginning of the recording, before taking off into this exploratory and kaleidoscopic performance of “Voodoo Chile.”

Despite its iconic status as a master class is blues guitar, “Voodoo Chile” has been covered in just about every decade since its release, with artists defying time and genre boundaries to transform it into dozens of unique renditions that we have in the Paste vault. Check out a quick, spontaneous cover by Buddy Guy, as well as a rendition by the Funky Meters, both from 1996.

Finally, we have a cover by reggae singer/songwriter Angelique Kidjo at the Newport Jazz Festival in August 2006. Kidjo prefaced her performance by saying, “For the next song, I would like to pay tribute to a musician that plays a great role in my life. For me, he is the best rock ‘n’ roll star of all time.”

She’ll get no arguments from us.