Up from the Skies
"Up from the Skies" is a song by English/American psychedelic rock band The Jimi Hendrix Experience, featured on their 1967 second album Axis: Bold as Love. Written by lead vocalist and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, the song details the experience of a specimen of extraterrestrial life returning to Earth and displaying concern with the damage caused by the human beings living there. It was released as the only single from Axis: Bold as Love, in the United States and France only, and reached number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
"Up From the Skies" was recorded on 29 October 1967, the last day of recording for the album, at Olympic Sound Studios in London. Music website allmusicreviewer Matthew Greenwald described the song as "Musically, [...] a breezy, jazz-based stroll, and it's quite different from anything on his debut album." The musical style of the song was noted in popular Hendrix biography Jimi Hendrix: Electric Gypsy as boasting an "easy triplet jazz feel," bringing attention to the "delicate wah-wah and Mitch [Mitchell, The Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer]'s brush-work."
The lyrical content of the song is said to be articulated from the perspective of a visiting alien "concerned about what has happened to [Earth] since the last time he passed through." Greenwald suggests that this motif is adopted to "[address] the older generation and their flaws and judgements against the youth of the 1960s," which Hendrix supposedly does "with a sense of idle curiosity rather than distaste, not unlike an alien visiting the planet Earth for the first time."
Despite being less commercially successful than previous singles, "Up from the Skies" was generally well-received critically. For magazine Rolling Stone, critic Parke Puterbaugh identified the song as an effective opening song for the album, suggesting that ""Up From the Skies," the mission statement of Axis: Bold As Love, [...] [draws] the ear into an album that wanted to take you higher, past gravity or limits of any kind." Reviewer Cub Koda, for allmusic, summarised the song as a "spacy rocker."
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- Additional personnel
"Up from the Skies" has been covered by a number of artists, mainly on cover and tribute albums. Artists who have covered the song include Sting, Demented Are Go, Gil Evans, Ellen McIlwaine, Henry Kaiser, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Rickie Lee Jones, Lucky Peterson and The Hamsters.