Today, an irregular interpretation of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” is normally met with a shrug due to the common appearance of variations of America’s national anthem. Be as it may, when Hendrix performed his reedition of the national anthem at Woodstock in 1969, when the tension of the Vietnam War was at its peak, conveying a “sacred and meaningful” tune the way he did left a great wave of mixed feeling throughout the country. The shaking, inspiring, frightful, stimulating hymn was done on the occasion in straight single notes, however the whole melody is spiced with trademark Hendrix advancements (such as the intense use of feedback, the amplifiers, and manipulation of chords). This reedition of the anthem is so critically acclaimed because using the speakers Hendrix was (some of the time) able to hints at the war — bombs falling, flies overhead, maybe even the calls of human anguish. At a certain point, Hendrix interferes with the song of praise to play “Taps,” at that point resumes.
What does this reedition of the anthem mean? Jimi Hendrix was considered a War Hawk (a term used in politics for someone favoring war in a debate over whether to go to war, or whether to continue or escalate an existing war. War hawks are the opposite of doves). In a 1967 interview with a Dutch magazine, Hendrix said,
Did you send the Americans away when they landed in Normandy? That was also interference… but that was concerning your own skin. The Americans are fighting in Vietnam for a completely free world. As soon as they move out, they will be at the mercy of the communists. For that matter, the yellow danger China should not be underestimated. Of course, war is horrible, but at present it’s the only guarantee of peace.
His reedition of the anthem portrays his feeling that the freedom that is spoken so strongly about in the Star Spangled Banner is only possible because of the wars that are fought and the people that are sacrificed and to think that such freedom came without cost was outrageous ( he had served in the Army from 1961 to 1962 as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division).