"Hey Joe" is an American popular song from the 1960s that has become a rock standard and as such has been performed in many musical styles by hundreds of different artists.
"Hey Joe" tells the story of a man who is on the run and planning to head to Mexico after shooting his wife. Is a crime ballad with a question and answer format. It depicts a series of encouters between the singer and Joe: each verse consisted of a single couplet.
- Hey Joe, where you going with that money in your hand?
Chasin’ my woman, she run off with another man.-
The origins of "Hey Joe" are unclear. Most attribute the writing credits to Billy Roberts (born like William Moses "Billy" Roberts Jr. on August 16, 1936, Greenville, South Carolina), either as the writer of the original song, or as someone who adapted a folk ballad, or as someone who heard a melody and changed the words.
Sometimes credited to Dino Valenti (a.k.a. Jesse Oris Farrow, née Chester Powers), who became the lead singer of "Quicksilver Messenger Service".
The first group to record “Hey Joe” was apparently "The Surfaris", who were best known for their surf songs. including “Surfer Joe” (1962). They recorded “Hey Joe” in September 1965, but, perhaps out of loyalty to Crosby and the Byrds, did not include it on their November 1965 folk rock album, "It Ain’t Me Babe".
In 1965 “Hey Joe” was recorded by "The Leaves". In 1966 they recorded it again with a fuzztone guitar sound. The "Surfaris'" version was actually called "Hey Joe, Where Are You Going?" and both renditions by "The Leaves" were titled "Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go?"
"Byrds", "Love", "Shadows Of Night", "Warlocks" and many other bands recorded the song in 1966.
"Tim Rose" recorded “Hey Joe” in 1966, one month before "The Leaves’" version entered the charts.
"Rose" played the song at less than half the tempo. He changed the key of the song to E instead of A.
It was this version of "Hey Joe" that was picked up by "Jimi Hendrix". "Hendrix" was one of the best guitar players of all time, and he liked "Hey Joe". His recording, credited to "The Jimi Hendrix Experience", became very popular in Europe.
"Hendrix's" version became a hit in the United Kingdom, entering the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart in January 1967 and peaking at #6. The single was released in the United States on May 1, 1967 with the B-side "51st Anniversary" but failed to chart.
Over the years "Hey Joe" has been recorded by hundreds of artists, some of them well-known, some of them not. Among them are "Johnny Rivers", "The Standells","The Music Machine", "Billy Preston", "Cher", "Wilson Pickett", "Deep Purple", and "Los Lobos". The best remembered versions of "Hey Joe" are the third Mira recording by "The Leaves", and of course, that done by "The Jimi Hendrix Experience".
We would like to present to you 5 cover versions of the song.