If “The Wind Cries Mary” was Jimi Hendrix at his most naked both lyrically and sonically, “Bold is Love” is where songwriter Hendrix meets guitar-God Hendrix.
Musically, the song is like an audio version of “The Wizard of Oz”. The first half of the song begins with a blues-based riff – reminiscent of the black and white picture of Dorothy in Kansas. When Hendrix explodes with extended guitar-solo that kicks off the second half of the song, gray shifts to full-on color, like Dorothy landing in Oz. He even mentions a rainbow in the song. It’s hard to know where he was thinking of the “Wizard of Oz” when he recorded this “Bold as Love”. But Hendrix was probably all too aware that he was taking the listener to a place never heard before – “over the rainbow”.
Even the song’s lyrics are full of color – “metallic purple armor”; “Queen Jealousy in her green gown”. Hendrix sees the world in front of him as a canvas, and he uses his guitar to create a psychedelic sonic painting. Every note is a beautiful, yet furious brush stroke.
It is worth noting Hendrix’s use of the word “bold” in the song. Obviously, bold could mean courageous. But I tend to think he’s referring to bold as a type-face since a bold-face is meant to accentuate, and emphasis words or letters in typography. Everything about this song is bold. It’s meant to stand out from everything else, and be larger than life. When Hendrix yells out, “yeah yeah yeah!” – he’s emphasizing everything that he’s already sung with each individual, “yeah”.
Check out “Bold is Love”:
On a side note, when I searched for “Bold as Love” on Youtube, John Mayer came up first. Seriously?