Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Not Your Father’s “Purple Haze”

I just stumbled upon another freaky coincidence that is not unlike Germany’s 1966 one-off single by The Dead-Heads —

In the year 1968, two artistsThe Jimi Hendrix Experience and singer, Robert Ray Whitleyboth released original compositions entitled1983!

“1983”

By “beach music composer” Ray Whitley

Ray Whitley 45

How bizarre is that?   And who wants to bet that Ray Whitley’s “1983” sounds even remotely similar to Hendrix’s epic 13-minute underwater odyssey?

In December of that year, Dion (“Runaround Sue“) DiMucci would release his version of hoary Hendrix classic “Purple Haze” that is curiously – and musically – defiant.  Dion uses the song’s lyrics … and discards the rest!  If you prefer your “Purple Haze” as a pensive pastoral ballad, then you’re really in for a treat:

Purple Haze

Dion (1968)

“Purple Haze” appears to have peaked at the #63 position on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, as measured for the weeks ending February 8, 1969 and February 15, 1969.  “Purple Haze” also reached as high as #72 on The RPM 100 (“Canada’s only national 100 single survey”) for the week of February 17, 1969.

Arranged by Dave Mullaney

Recorded at Allegro Sound Studios

The following year, Spence Berland‘s review of Dion’s live performance at New York’s The Bitter End would include this poignant observation for Record World‘s April 11, 1970 issue:

Dion has finally realized the promise of his Abraham, Martin & John album for Laurie last year.  Had nearly everything from that album been released instead of “Purple Haze” as a follow-up to the title tune, Dion would have become a leader in the youth movement then, thus sparing himself the agonies of another identity problem.

Billboard

Nov. 16, 1968

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