Now, at this point, its pure conjecture what transpired when Hendrix listened to the Creation that night, or whether he had any further interaction with the band, but in late 1966, he went into De Lane Lea studio - the same studio where The Animals House of The Rising Sun was recorded - and laid down his first single for Track Records, Hey Joe backed with Stone Free. This single saw release on December 16, 1966, quickly climbed the charts, and, in so doing, inscribed Hey Joe into the firmament of Rock. We wonder about Hendrix's exposure to The Creation because around this same time The Creation also laid down their exquisite version, today's Hey Joe, replete with the same intro and similar solo and lyrics. But note: Their version was released only on LP in September '67 in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and France.
Despite the later release, I'm of the mind that Hendrix took cues from The Creation and not the other way around. Why, for example, would The Creation copy a well-known version that soon hit the charts and would stay on for 11 weeks, peaking at number 6? Doesn't seem like them. Why would the innovative and brilliant Eddie Phillips simply copy a lead? (Although I suppose the opposite question should be posed: Why would Hendrix do the same?) Why also, if they were working off the Hendrix version, would The Creation insert the middle monologue section and create the very cool dramatic ending? Those additions seem to me the kind of thing that arise when you aren't even aware of another hit version of a song. One thing seems clear: Both versions are derivative of the Tim Rose Hey Joe with the slower tempo, similar lyrics ("I shot her!") and the moody choral back-up vocals.
Check out a very cool live recording of Tim Rose doing his Hey Joe:
Enjoy and until next time, see you on the Flip-side!