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7.17-CASTLES MADE OF SAND (Jimi Hendrix Experience)

Jimi Hendrix Experience

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[Intro]

Down the street you can hear her scream "you're a disgrace!"
As she slams the door in his drunken face.
And now he stands outside and all
The neighbors start to gossip and drool.
He cries "Oh girl, you must be mad!
What happened to the sweet love you and me had?"
Against the door he leans and starts a scene
And his tears fall and burn the garden green.

     And so castles made of sand fall in the sea eventually.

A little Indian brave who before he was ten,
Played war games in the woods with his Indian friends.
And he built a dream that when he grew up
He would be a fearless warrior Indian Chief.
Many moons passed and more the dream grew strong
Until tomorrow he would sing his first war song
And fight his first battle, but something went wrong,
Surprise attack killed him in his sleep that night.

     [Refrain]

[Break]

There was a young girl whose heart was a frown
Because she was crippled for life and couldn't speak a sound.
And she wished and prayed she would stop living,
So she decided to die.
She drew her wheel chair to the edge of the shore,
And to her legs she smiled "You won't hurt me no more."
But then a sight she'd never seen made her jump and say
"Look, a golden winged ship is passing my way!"

And it really didn't have to stop...It just kept on going.

     [Refrain]

[Coda]


Using fluid guitar work reminiscent of Little Wing in conjunction with backwards guitar that opens up into broad guitar strokes, Jimi Hendrix launches into three semi-spoken tales of dreams that are washed away in Castles Made of Sand. In the first story, two lovers break up over the man’s drunkenness. In the second, an Indian boy with dreams of being a great warrior is killed in his sleep before his first battle. In the third story, a crippled mute girl sees something like a visitor from outer space (a somewhat frequent visitor in the album Axis: Bold as Love) and forgets her dream of suicide. Two tragedies, and one miracle. But these tales don’t emphasize that “castles made of sand” are somehow faulty (as would be the normal use of the metaphor); rather, it seems the message is that self-concepts are swept away by events outside one’s control. Dreams don’t make the man—an especially odd point of view when Hendrix cites an Indian culture (that generally believed dreams were guides to the future). Hendrix himself surely must have felt that he was living his dreams as a rock star. Was he reminding himself of how quickly it could all be snatched away?

In the end, it isn’t necessary that the space ship take the girl into outer space; she can now talk, she can now walk, which seems quite enough. Knowing that the UFO exists is enough magic to make life on Earth seem worthwhile. Slashing guitar strokes and flanging combine to make a whirling sound as if a spacecraft hovers over the miraculously cured girl and then spins away out of sight.

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