Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

“This Is America”: Jimi Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner Journey as Psychedelic Citizenship


Jimi Hendrix's 18 August 1969 performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair has been characterized as an expression of transcendent political resistance as well as crude anti-U.S. drivel. Drawing on Hendrix's own archive of recordings, writings, interviews, stage banter, and especially live performances, this article analyzes Hendrix's artistic engagement with the United States national anthem by locating his Woodstock Banner as a central moment in a two-year fascination with the song, brought to a close only by Hendrix's untimely death. It presents the anthem as an artistic vehicle for Hendrix's political musings, a thoughtful engagement with current events, and as commentary responsive to Hendrix's immediate environment and expressive of his aspirations for the nation of his birth. Insights offered here include the roots of Hendrix's Banner performances as ornaments to the Civil War eulogy “Taps,” the plural construction of the Hendrix Banner and an account of the aesthetic development of his anthem arrangement, the value of his recorded stage banter for understanding Hendrix's Banner politics, the impact of the film Woodstock on Hendrix's renditions, and the use of the Banner during Hendrix's final 1970 “The Cry of Love Tour” as part of a closing anti-war set and call to action for the psychedelic citizen.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Steve Waksman , “Black Sound, Black Body: Jimi Hendrix, the Electric Guitar, and the Meanings of Blackness,” Popular Music and Society 23/1 (Spring 1999): 75113

Michael J Kramer . “The Psychedelic Public and Its Problems: Rock Music Festivals and Civil Society in the Sixties Counterculture.” In Media and Public Spheres, ed. Richard Butsch , 149–61. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the Society for American Music
  • ISSN: 1752-1963
  • EISSN: 1752-1971
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-society-for-american-music
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 40
Total number of PDF views: 175 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 973 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.