Tim Rose: The History of “Hey Joe”

Here is an interesting video of Tim Rose in 1997. First he briefly explains where the song “Hey Joe” came from and how Jimi Hendrix heard it from him. Then he plays his original acoustic version.


Beside Tim Rose’s bio, on wikipedia you can find that there is a bit of controversy about the origin of this song:

In 1966, he was getting a lot of airplay with his single of “Hey Joe”. It was copyrighted in 1962 by singer Billy Roberts, but Rose claimed he heard it sung as a child in Florida, and as of 2009, Rose’s official website still claims the song is “traditional”.[4] As of 2009 no documentary evidence from US archives or elsewhere has been provided to support the claim that the song is “traditional” (though Country singer Carl Smith did have a hit in 1953 with a song of the same title written by Boudleaux Bryant). Prior to Rose’s recording, The Leaves, The Surfaris, Love and The Byrds had all recorded fast-paced versions of the song. Rose’s version (crediting himself as author), unlike the others, was a slow, angry ballad, which received US radio airplay and became a regional hit in the San Francisco area in 1966, as well as upstate New York cities like Buffalo and Albany. Jimi Hendrix had seen Rose performing at Cafe Wha? in New York City, and released a similarly slow version in 1966 which became a huge hit, first in the UK, then worldwide. It was Linda Keith, Keith Richards’ girlfriend at the time that played Rose’s recording of “Hey Joe” to Chas Chandler (Hendrix’s manager and former bass player for The Animals).


Rose re-recorded “Hey Joe” in the 1990s, re-titling it “Blue Steel .44”,[5] again claiming songwriting credit.


By Miche Archetto


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