"Hey Joe" is an American popular song from the 1960s that has become a rock standard and 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 unfaithful wife. The best-known version is the Jimi Hendrix Experience's 1966 recording.
The ex-bassist for The Animals, Chas Chandler, who was now focusing on managing other acts, had also seen Tim Rose performing the song at the Cafe Wha? in New York City and was looking for an artist to record a rock version of "Hey Joe". Chandler discovered Jimi Hendrix, who had also been playing at the Cafe Wha? in 1966 and performing an arrangement of "Hey Joe" inspired by Rose's rendition. Chandler decided to take Hendrix with him to England in September 1966, where he would subsequently turn the guitarist into a star.
Released in December 1966, 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 number 6. The single was released in the United States on May 1, 1967 with the B-side "51st Anniversary", but failed to chart. Nevertheless, "Hey Joe" as recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with backing vocals by The Breakaways, remains the best-known version of the song and is listed as No. 201 on Rolling Stone magazine's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand? Hey Joe, I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand? Alright. I'm goin down to shoot my old lady
You know I caught her messin' 'round with another man. I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady You know I caught her messin' 'round with another man.
And that ain't too cool. (Ah-backing vocal on each line) Uh, hey Joe, I heard you shot your woman down You shot her down now.
Uh, hey Joe, I heard you shot you old lady down You shot her down to the ground. Yeah! Yes, I did, I shot her
You know I caught her messin' 'round Messin' 'round town. Uh, yes I did, I shot her You know I caught my old lady messin' 'round town.
And I gave her the gun and I shot her! Alright (Ah! Hey Joe) Shoot her one more time again, baby!
Yeah. (Hey Joe!) Ah, dig it!
Ah! Ah! (Joe where you gonna go?) Oh, alright. Hey Joe, said now (Hey) uh, where you gonna run to now, where you gonna run to? Yeah. (where you gonna go?) Hey Joe, I said (Hey) where you goin' to run to now, where you, where you gonna go? (Joe!) Well, dig it! I'm goin' way down south, way down south (Hey) way down south to Mexico way! Alright! (Joe) I'm goin' way down south (Hey, Joe) way down where I can be free! (where you gonna...) Ain't no one gonna find me babe! (...go?) Ain't no hangman gonna (Hey, Joe) he ain't gonna put a rope around me! (Joe where you gonna.) You better belive it right now! (...go?) I gotta go now! Hey, hey, hey Joe (Hey Joe) you better run on down! (where you gonna...) Goodbye everybody. Ow! (...go?) Hey, hey Joe, what'd I say (Hey... Joe) run on down. (where you gonna go?
Songwriters: ROBERTS BILLY
Hey Joe lyrics © Ensign Music, Third Palm Music, BMG PLATINUM SONGS OBO THIRD PALM MUSIC