BOLD as Love…what do it mean?!?

18 May

Time for another Johnny Boy perusal. John Mayer covers Jimi Hendrix’s Bold as Love on his Continuum CD. Written by Jimi Hendrix in 1967, there is much speculation as to what the song is trying to convey. The lyrics, included below, are very interesting and revolve around the colors of the rainbow….think ROYGBIV from 7th grade.

Tell me your thoughts on the Mayer vs. Hendrix versions as well as your interpretation of what Jimi was trying to say and maybe, why John Mayer chose to include it on Continuum.

Bold As Love – John Mayer

Bold As Love – Jimi Hendrix

Oh, and…..just who IS “the axis”?

Bold As Love lyrics

Anger he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armour
Queen jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground

Blue are the life-giving waters taken for granted,
They quietly understand
Once happy turquoise armies lay opposite ready,
But wonder why the fight is on

But theyre all bold as love, yes, theyre all bold as love
Yeah, theyre all bold as love
Just ask the axis

My red is so confident that he flashes trophies of war and
Ribbons of euphoria
Orange is young, full of daring,
But very unsteady for the first go round
My yellow in this case is not so mellow
In fact Im trying to say its frigthened like me
And all these emotions of mine keep holding me from, eh,
Giving my life to a rainbow like you
But, Im eh , yeah, Im bold as love
Yeah, yeah
Well Im bold, bold as love (hear me talking, girl)
Im bold as love
Just ask the axis (he knows everything)
Yeah, yeah, yeah

ETA: Perhaps the album cover may hold clues.


Today’s Trivia: Jimi Hendrix’s idol and a heavy influence was one Mr. Elvis Presley….thank ya, thank ya vary much.

Today’s Trivia 2: Jimi Hendrix played gee-tar for a short time in Little Richard’s Band….makes ma toe shoot up in ma boot.


139 responses to “BOLD as Love…what do it mean?!?

  1. jenfera

    May 18, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Umm, sounds like a groovy drug-induced haze to me. Yeah, man, like, rainbows are sooo groovy. Hey, check out that hot chick over there man. Yeah, I’d like to give her my rainbow. Yeah, man. Rainbow.

    And I’d say John included it on the album for the groovy guitar licks.

    • Matt

      December 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      Wow, this girl is dumb. John included it because if it was a great song. If all you think about is drugs when you hear this work of art, I truly feel sorry for you

      • music maven

        December 26, 2010 at 11:03 pm

        Hey Smarty Pants – if you read the whole thread you’ll find a pretty good discussion.

        Judge not lest ye be judged, dude.

    • Good Tickle

      February 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      They say the same thing about Poe. Yet, his work is brilliant. “The Tell Tell Heart” is just one of those such master peices.

    • amber

      February 28, 2011 at 2:14 am

      the axis is what astrologically makes the world go round, and he describes the grass (land) and the waters (ocean), so theres earth, than all the colors as feelings that could mean the feeling you feel when in love and love makes the world go round hence the axis. this man was genius he describes every color and its bold like love is and the earth and the world going round all in this short song its amazingly breathtaking if you realy pay attention to the lyrics!!

      • A wise guy

        October 22, 2011 at 11:04 am


      • kreese

        July 18, 2012 at 12:30 am

        I love your analysis of this song. Kudos!

      • Jaiden

        June 9, 2016 at 9:35 am

        Genius interpretation!

    • Harry

      June 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      This song is deeply moving in both it’s breathtaking poetry as well as the music. It is a great example of Jimi’s genius. He frequently used linked metaphores, some with obvious and others with not so obvious meanings. The colors are obvious. They are emotions. He uses characters to represent the colors with stunning imagery as he describes what he feels. When he says: “Just ask the axis” I think he is referring to the center of a color wheel. In other words, the center upon which our emotions revolve. The axis has a unique perspective to view all of the colors as they revolve around it. It could therefore be a metaphores for one’s heart – the core of all of all our emotions. So what he is saying is to look into your heart to see that your emotions are all unique and thus bold as love. In an elegant statement he states that his emotions keep him from giving himself to a “rainbow like you”. In other words, he has too many powerful emotions to let just love of one person take over even to someone so beautiful that they are filled to the fullest with all of the emotions (a rainbow). This is a true work of beauty.

      • kreese

        July 18, 2012 at 12:33 am

        Yes! like your reading of the song too! Thanks!

    • Mike

      June 26, 2012 at 5:29 am

      just cuz Hendrix used Groovy in the sixties, it doesn’t mean a thing on your post

    • Victor

      July 1, 2012 at 1:57 am

      I know this is old but I’m ROFL because of your comment. I don’t think it was like that, but that was hilarious Haha!

  2. music maven

    May 18, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Jimi was way beyond the drugs…c’mon Jen, dig deeper.

  3. shrewspeaks

    May 18, 2007 at 8:39 am

    Okay…what do I know but here goes…

    Anger and jealousy (Purple and Green leaders) are the begining of territorial wars that fight for the grassy ground

    Blue = Mothers and fathers They quietly understand and silently send their sons to be
    turquoise armies that would fight for land but now fight for idiology which is confusing.

    bold as love, could this refer to blindnes for a belief?
    Just ask the axis(at first I thought this might be a reference to Nazi’s, but now I am wondering if this is a reference to the bloddy Crusade campaigns waged in the name of Christ)

    “My red is so confident that he flashes trophies of war and
    Ribbons of euphoria
    Orange is young, full of daring,
    But very unsteady for the first go round
    My yellow in this case is not so mellow
    In fact Im trying to say its frigthened like me
    And all these emotions of mine keep holding me from, eh,Giving my life to a rainbow like you”

    This is just amazing Red=honor, orange=pride, yellow=fear keep me from fighting for beliefs that are not mine

    “But, Im eh , yeah, Im bold as love
    Yeah, yeah
    Well Im bold, bold as love (hear me talking, girl)
    Im bold as love
    Just ask the axis (he knows everything)
    Yeah, yeah, yeah ”
    And this is the verse that really makes me thing the Axis is christ…and here is where I think Jimi turns it to but I am good and can be as bold with my belief in “love.”

    My brain hurts now.

    • Mike

      June 26, 2012 at 5:31 am

      my brain hurts too

  4. shrewspeaks

    May 18, 2007 at 8:43 am

    Yo! MM git me outta moderation babe!

    • Mike

      June 26, 2012 at 5:32 am

      wow , 5 years?

  5. jenfera

    May 18, 2007 at 8:56 am

    Awww, you are quite the taskmaster, MM! I have always maintained that I am more of a melody person. Maybe because deconstructing lyrics makes me feel like I am back in high school analyzing poetry.

    I guess maybe the lyrics have something to do with the spectrum of human emotions. And how love can bring out every one of them.

    And maybe the song is on Continuum because Jessica hearts rainbows. But I still think it is the guitar licks.

  6. music maven

    May 18, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Wow, Shrew…I’ll have to give that some thought. I am particularly intrigued by this line:
    “And all these emotions of mine keep holding me from, eh,
    Giving my life to a rainbow like you.”

    This implies that SOMEONE is the rainbow.

    Also, notice that Gray is not a color in the rainbow…jus’ sayin’.

    • wherearetheheros

      March 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      Everyone is a rainbow and the colors mean different things in each one or maybe there is a perfect rainbow match for all of us if we show are true colors.

  7. shrewspeaks

    May 18, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Bwaaaaahaaa “Jessica Hearts Rainbows”

  8. shrewspeaks

    May 18, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Rainbow you = establishment?

  9. jenfera

    May 18, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Thanks, shrew.

    Rainbows are illusions. None of it is real. How can the man (the axis) send me to war to fight for something that’s not real?

    Have you been half asleep
    and have you heard voices?
    I’ve heard them calling my name.
    Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
    The voice might be one and the same.
    I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.
    It’s something that I’m supposed to be.

    • booboo

      November 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Rainbows are real. How do you think you can see them. It’s refracted light, that doesnt make it an illusion

      • auraldragon

        June 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

        things can be both “real” and “illusory”. so i would say yes, rainbows are real, at least as much as anything we experience with our senses is real. but one could just as easily argue that all of these things are illusory 😉

    • Mike

      June 26, 2012 at 5:26 am

      way too much acid for you

  10. shrewspeaks

    May 18, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Good point Jenfera. (although I like your first rainbow thingy better)

    Now, as to why Mayer put this song on this cd…could the inclusion of this song even be the exact point of calling the collection CONTINUUM…Some things never change

    • booboo

      November 9, 2010 at 9:39 pm

      maybe he included it because it would help his album sell which is the main reason artists record covers

  11. brc

    May 18, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Dulles airport… everyone is talking on a cell phone… some have those phones on their ears where it looks like they’re talking to themselves… brc wants to listen to JM/JH… brc didn’t pack headphones… people in airport don’t want to listen to JM/JH while they talk on cell phones… brc is getting the evil eye from cell phone robots… MM, Shrew and Jenfera are very deep today… brc is no good at interpreting lyrics (see archives for previous John Mayer lyrics discussion)… cell phone robots are happy that brc has turned off the volume on her laptop… brc is now certain that Shrew got a better grade in Interpretive Poetry in college than she did… or maybe she just threw back a couple of shots of that nice Scotch whisky before diving into the lyrics… I’m going to go with Jenfera on this one — drug-induced haze… did I just see Kermit the Frog run by?

    • booboo

      November 9, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      Hendrix didnt do nearly as many drugs as people claim if you read accounts of his life. His lyrics always came from the heart. The axis is your higher self. He is saying that all the wisdom to manage the many emotions of humans comes from the heart which is the seat of love and the divine spark that is Love.

      • Chris

        March 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm

        Well put. I think it is a spiritual song in an Eastern sort of way. You are not your body. You are not your thoughts either, although it is easy to think so. You aren’t your emotions, and it’s not helpful to get deeply caught up in them. if you can get past those things, there is an inner, higher, and wiser self that will guide you, if you stop and listen to it.

      • Dustin Lektorich

        December 20, 2014 at 4:35 pm

        (I know this post is old but I just read the lyrics for the first time and came across this so…) Awesome comment I totally agree with your idea of the axis being the higher self. I was thinking he may have been talking about the idea of the “axis mundi” (world axis or cosmic axis) which is an ancient idea found in many mythological traditions that symbolizes the axis that connects the world of the gods and men or heaven and earth. I think it also symbolizes our spinal column on a microcosmic level inferring that it is all within us if we can just awaken to its reality like the great Jimi Hendrix before us 😉

  12. music maven

    May 18, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    I think that the colors are descriptions of his own emotions. And that each person is a rainbow, with the colors being stronger in some and weaker in others.

    I think that Bold as Love refers to the combined emotions in the rainbow that make up the person and how they feel/emote.

    As for Axis…The name of the overall Album is AXIS: Bold As Love and I’m inclined to go with the premise that AXIS is God. I think that Jimi could have written with God/Christ in mind as “Purple Haze” was originally titled “Purple Haze/Jesus Lives”.

    I must say that I LOVE these lyrics. I tend to think like Jenfera, that Johnny Boy covered Bold As Love because of the guitar licks but he seems to be a bit of a Hendrix fan, in general, as he also covered “Wait Until Tomorrow” on the Try! CD he did with the John Mayer Trio.

  13. brc

    May 18, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Now MY brain hurts. You are all way smarter than I am.

  14. shrewspeaks

    May 18, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    *passes brc these and this*

    Side note: While searching for the image on google…the first image I found for BRC’s drink was linked to a very,very, very, very nasty image. Anyone else ever have that happen to them?

  15. jenfera

    May 18, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    brc, Kermit did run by! I was wondering if anyone picked that up.

    Shrew, I once linked to an Indian restaurant in my blog and never thought about it again. One day, I got an email from a reader saying that I needed to fix that link, it was going to diry site. So, I went to check it out and it was a nightmare. I clicked on the link (and I was at work at the time!) and not only did a very, very hard core porn site open up, but it opened up in about 30 windows!! I was freaking out, trying to close all these windows – make it stop! make it stop! I swear, Human Resources, I did not have 30 windows of porn open on my computer on purpose!!

  16. Dingo

    May 18, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Ahm gettin’ political vibes off Hendrix. Vietnam etc. Maybe drugs helped him to enhance what he was already feeling but I think its about the politics of war.

    Course, I think everything is about the politics of war.

    I love Mayer. He turns me on.

  17. huckleberryfriend

    May 18, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    “Umm, sounds like a groovy drug-induced haze to me”

    I’m with jenfera. Probably a bunch of people sitting around smoking grass and trying to intellectualize about the Vietnam War. I’m sure it made perfect sense to him at the time.

  18. music maven

    May 18, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    You guys MAY be right about the war thing as Hendrix served in the Army for a short stint. However, I’m thinking it’s deeper than that. Hendrix was an original and everybody was doing “protest” songs. I just don’t get THAT vibe from the song.
    Shrew — did you see my Today’s Trivia 2? Wooooooooo.
    jen — been there, done that, got an embarrassing T-shirt.

  19. shrewspeaks

    May 18, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Ehem…the vietnam war may be the inspiration but the core tenent is about falicy of Beliefs.(re: another post about JM)

    And MM did you doubt that the man who invented Rock -N-Roll didn’t smote the ground with a rhinestone boot heel and out sprung Hendrix fully grown and humping an amp?

  20. brc

    May 18, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Shrew I can’t open the “these” link you passed me above. And I empathize with your unexpected results on your google search.

    Jenfera I would love to have been a fly on the wall in your office the day the Indian restaurant link went porn on you… too funny.

    And because enquiring minds want to know…

    The End For Jessica Simpson and John Mayer
    18-May-2007 Written by: Allison Zimmer

    What happens when stars who have nothing in common start dating for media interest? They break up! John Mayer and Jessica Simpson, one of the most unlikely couples of the year, recently split up, and according to it was Mayer who made the move.

    brc clicks her red heels together and repeats over and over… “There’s no place like home.”

  21. shrewspeaks

    May 18, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Shrew puts on her red heels and repeats over and over…”John is single again, John is single.”

  22. brc

    May 18, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    I found another site where people were discussing the meaning of this song…

    Lots of talk of emotions and dropping acid. Not that different than our conversation (though they used more four letter words than we did).

  23. huckleberryfriend

    May 18, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    I found this in an editorial review on Amazon.

    “he ends with “Bold As Love,” based around Hendrix’s typically far-fetched hankering for the axis of the planet to be tilted, thereby transforming life on earth.”

  24. music maven

    May 18, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Huck – I saw the premise that Hendrix thought that the axis could be tilted, altering eternity and that the song was the manifestation of that belief. It’s likely where the reviewer got that notion. I’m not convinced of that theory but it sure sounds good.

  25. DollyDagger

    July 20, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Considering that Donovan’s hit “Mellow Yellow” was released in March of 1967 and Hendrix released “Bold as Love” later that same year in December, Hendrix probably heard Mellow Yellow a few hundred times on the radio while composing his own music. So, I surmise that Hendrix is making a personal comment about himself and/or his lifestyle compared to Donovan’s (think Beatles v.Stones).

    In regards to an AXIS, during the 60’s onward Jung, Campbell and Iliade were writing and teaching about the concept of an “Axis Mundi”. Their ideas were very popular at the time and their books were readily accessible to anyone including Hendrix. They also write about colors and their symbolic meanings as well. Hendrix could ave easily found a popular and recent publication of “Mysticism” by Iliade which details all of these things in one book.


  26. HER

    July 30, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    I think (like others have mentioned) that the spectrum of colors in this song relates to the spectrum of emotions that radiate from the human soul. Perhaps it is the human soul that is the “axis.” When I looked up “axis” in the dictionary, I found these definitions that I liked, regarding its use in this particular song: 1) the line about which a rotating body, such as the earth, turns. 2) a principal line of development, movement, direction, etc.

    The axis knows how bold love is because it is our souls that produce all of our emotions, be they love, anger, etc. I listed all of the referenced emotions/symbols and their colors from the song at the end of the message. When you think about these colors, you do closely associate each of the colors that he used with each of the emotions that seemed to pair with them. All of the colors listed, with the exception of turquoise, are actually the colors of the rainbow (indigo usually replaces turquoise). As indigo is a mixture of blue and purple, turquoise is a mixture of blue and green. Turquoise is also considered a “feminine” color, so maybe that’s why he depicts it as wishy-washy (“once happy” but later “opposite ready” on the battlefield in the song)…LOL!!

    Anyway, if rainbows can symbolize the spectrum of human emotions, then everybody’s rainbow is unique depending on their distinct personalities. Maybe all of his emotions are holding him from giving his life to a person who’s rainbow of emotions obviously conflicts with his (even though he seems to be drawn in, for some reason). We’ve all been attracted to people whom we knew were TERRIBLE for us, and I think he is refferring to such a situation in this song. Of course, the drugs probably helped…LOL!! Either way, Jimi F-ing ROCKED, that needs no clarification =)

    anger=purple; green=jealousy, envy; blue=life-giving water; red=confidence; orange=daring but unsteady (pride); yellow=not mellow, frightened; the turquoise was tricky because it’s a mixture of green and blue…maybe it was once happy when it was blue, but the green envy or jealousy side causes it to want to fight or stand opposite ready against the blue, calmer side?

  27. LoveIsAll

    July 31, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    “Jimi Hendrix is one of those extraordinary hubs of music where everybody lands at some point. Every musician passes through Hendrix International Airport eventually — whether you’re a Black Sabbath fan or an Elmore James fan; whether you like Hanson or the Grateful Dead. He is the common denominator of every style of contemporary music. There were so many sides to his playing. Was he a bluesman? Listen to “Voodoo Chile” and you’ll hear some of the eeriest blues you can find. Was he a rock musician? He used volume as a device. That’s rock. Was he a sensitive singer-songwriter? In “Bold As Love,” he sings, “My yellow in this case is not so mellow/In fact I’m trying to say it’s frightened like me” — that is a man who knows the shape of his heart.

    So often, he’s portrayed as a loud, psychedelic rock star lighting his guitar on fire. But when I think of Hendrix, I think of some of the most placid, lovely guitar sounds on songs like “One Rainy Wish,” “Little Wing” and “Drifting.” “Little Wing” is painfully short and painfully beautiful. It’s like your grandfather coming back from the dead and hanging out with you for a minute and a half and then going away. It’s perfect, then it’s gone.”

    – John Mayer on Jimi Hendrix
    Written for Rolling Stone Magazine’s April 2004 Feature, “The Immortals: 50 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

  28. LoveIsAll

    July 31, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Oh, and I think that “the axis” is the color wheel … takes you back to grade school art class, good times.

  29. music maven

    August 6, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Since this post continues to get alot of hits, here is perhaps another explanation.

  30. Martino Heino

    September 19, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    when you say it’s ove. Martino Heino.

  31. Huda Swithun

    October 21, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    oh lord my baby your driving me craz. Huda Swithun.

  32. assman

    August 29, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    john mayer sucks ass and i think he should never play a hendrix song in his life again he aint got skills like hendrix and he never will all he cares about is making himself big by stealing great artists songs and murdering them if anyone thinks he did a good job on that song they should shot themselves cause that was a insult to all jimi hendrix fans around the world and anyways its not like there was jimi fans at his concert all there was there was a bunch chicks that think he is hot and he has a good voice im pretty sure they gave two shits about what song he sang and who sang it first but now jimi will get noticed , not cause he plays the guitar bad ass or because of his great poems but because some asshole thinks he can be something he aint ever gonna be , i have alot more to type but i dont want to waste anyones time on my bullshit

  33. miguel

    October 5, 2008 at 3:16 am

    its talking about the range of your emotions. and how they come from two powerful ones. red and blue. everything else is centered to those two.dark and light so to speak because red and blue can represent the same things. love. one is the calm passionate one the other one has the fire in it to ruin things but to also bring it a passionate taste. its about how everything connects from one simple thing. the range is where it comes from.

  34. leighko

    November 7, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    I love both the Mayer and Hendrix version of this song for different reasons. Hendrix is brilliant and powerful, Mayer adds sexy soul. Nevertheless, I think that Hendrix is referencing the colors of the rainbow and the different emotions that each can portray…each pure and bold (significant) in their own way. When he says, “Just ask the axis,” I believe he is referring to the optical axis. In a normal eye the optic axis is the direction in which objects are seen most distinctly. Bold, bold as love! Rock on Hendrix! You are definitely on my list for “10 people, living or dead, that you would like to have a dinner party.” However, no axe, no admittance. Just kidding…

  35. Espinada

    November 14, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I remember an interview I saw where someone did ask Jimi what or who the “axis” is in this song. His reply was that the axis is the point that the earth revolves around. He speculated that everything on the planet is centered at this point “anchored” in a way, and was trying to connect this with the idea that love is what we all revolve around and is our natural “center” of being. And that anger, jealousy, hate, etc… are not conducive to this and cause the axis tilt or wobble to try to spin them off.

    He was a very deep and highly creative human being, and still missed to this day 😦

  36. Sullyvan

    December 1, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I was writing a paper on this and i used your arguments for it and i wanted to thank you all for that. I have, however, come up with my own theory.
    I believe that Jimi was possibly giving a life to the emotions he felt a soldier has and how he is tired of everyone saying God wants them to go to war and how he has no more explanations but to say ask your God.

    The piece is effective lyrically because you can feel the emotion that Jimi put into his music and you can feel that every word he sings he means. It is his introspective journey into his emotions and, as the listener enjoys the melodic notes Jimi plays and sings, they gain an insight into the personality and spirituality of Jimi and the Protest movements of the 1960s. It shows his political beliefs through his creative adventure of emotions that he creates. It is as if he is playing through all the emotions that a soldier would feel before battle and personifying them to show the true nature of war. He puts it to a happy melody to contrast the dark meanings behind the lyrics. This leads us to why Jimi tells the listener to “just ask the Axis”. Many believed that the government was using a sense of duty to God and the world to justify their actions in the Vietnam War despite the real, more profiting reasons for the war. This is very similar to the same reasons that the crusades were carried out. The crusaders fought under the emblem of a cross which is actually an axis. There are many beliefs to the true meanings behind the lyrics, and many are probably right, but the conclusion of the lyrics in this paper is that Jimi Hendrix is showing the emotions of a soldier before battle and how he reminds himself to ask God why he is even fighting since he knows everything.

    If i’m really missing the point please tell me because this is a big part of my grade

  37. music maven

    December 1, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Sullyvan — While I think the war theory holds some water, I really don’t think Hendrix meant Bold as Love as a war protest song. I think that he his music was more introspective than just the war thing.

    I think that the Axis is the “inner self”. Everyone is a rainbow. A conglomeration of colors. Anger, love, jealousy, etc. I also think that Jimi saw music in colors or auras and it’s what inspired Bold as Love.

    The beauty of many a great song is that it can be interpreted differently for different people, yet have just as strong an impact on those different people.

    Good luck with your paper. Remember….there is NO wrong answer. The beauty of music is truly that it may impact people differently, but there is no doubt that music inspires.

    Rock on.

  38. Jon

    January 17, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    The song is about the spectrum of emotion and more directly how people can show this full spectrum through love. The boldness is the respectful front against great odds. Axis is the enemy.. historically WWII, a strong power that was haulted by a united front(spectrum of emotions), and metaphorically it can refer to either woman or man in the relationship, the act of being bold and showing love to the one who you believe deserves it though they may put up a fight. But if receieved it will break down the defenses of human nature. The Axis who has been defeated knows and respects this great strength. Love.

  39. eeeb

    February 5, 2009 at 5:40 am

    This song is Jimi hendrix’s description of himself in terms of the Chakra’s. Purple is the crown chakra, green is the heart chakra, blue is the throat chakra, turquoise or indigo is the third eye Chakra, red the root/base chakra, orange is the sacral chakra, and yellow is the solar plexus chakra. If you want to know who Jimi was, this song will tell you.

    And yes the album cover definitely holds clues.

  40. music maven

    February 5, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Do tell, eeeb.

  41. Ken

    February 5, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    We are as bold as love (in this existence).

    Love is king ultimately. But (in this existence), our individualism (remember – this song was written in the modern era) rings more loudly than true, unselfish, universal love.

    Yellow – could the author be just as afraid as any one of us sensitive types from throwing himself/herself into the fray of colors out there? Is it better to hold onto your own ideas of love? Will dissenting opinions embolden your soul, destroy it, entertain it, offend it, madden it, educate it, emancipate it, etc.? No one can logically know…

  42. peter mcphee

    February 16, 2009 at 3:35 am

    John Mayers version misses the whole point of the song and should be banned from distribution in my opinion.

  43. music maven

    February 16, 2009 at 8:58 am

    You might not like Mayer’s performance of the song, but he doesn’t change the words, at all.

    Like his music or not, he is one of a VERY FEW artists today who have the knowledge and/or guts to cover a Hendrix song. I give him kudos for even recording the song.

  44. peter mcphee

    February 19, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Mayer didn’t change the words, but he changed the feel and emotion of the song with his poorly judged vocal emphases and sanitised lifeless hollow sounding guitar. He says he is a Hendrix fan, and was inspired by Jimi, but by the sound of this performance, he was also heavily influenced by Musac down the local shops! For mine, the only guts involved will be me throwing up if I am ever forced to listen to Mayers version, which I now dub “Dull and Dumb”.

  45. Tulley Mars

    March 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    “ask the Axis (or Axes)” Could it mean the guitars? Guitars are often refered to as an ax. Just after he (JM/JH) say “just ask the axes” they go into a riff. I think the colors are the different emotions. In the main riff JM say “just ask the Axes, he knows, he knows, everything” and then proceeds to showcase his talents. Listen to the variety of the moods that he shows in this riff. It’s a little long but not as long as JH’s. I think the whole thing is the about the different emotions that he displays through his music. Just a thought.

  46. lexxxx

    March 9, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Okay so these are my toughts- rainbows stem from reflections of light which represents knowledge…he is coveying his wisdom, or light- so to speak, in describing his love that is just as bold as the axis on which the worlds rests. the colors of the rainbow represent each aspect of the knowledge inspring light that the divine earth reflecs off…..

  47. katherine

    April 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    okay so here is what i can get from the beginning of it:
    purple symbolizes royalty, so think king.
    the queen can be jealous of the king’s power, she is always put behind him. green symbolizes envy, so her fiery green gown would be a queen plotting against a king in jealousy.
    so the second-in-command plots against the leader.

    blue symbolizes loyalty. life giving waters could mean parents, taken for granted because kids never realize how loyal their parents are to them.

    what do you think so far?

    • music maven

      April 28, 2009 at 6:52 am

      Interesting. I think the colors do represent emotions, but just what is Hendrix’s context or is there really no context, just ramblings?

  48. Caroline

    June 19, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Axis, Bold as Love really exemplifies the emotional, spiritual side of Hendrix’s art that so often gets overshadowed by the guitar wailing, feedback screeching, powerful burning blues Jimi is so famous for. Axis, Bold as Love, shows the core of Jimi’s soul. We all experience a rainbow of emotions, anger, envy, the blues, confidence, fear, and so on. The axis is the point upon which all these emotions revolve. At the center of all our emotions, whatever they are, is love. Love is the force of life. I believe Jimi is saying, it is God. His managers tried to tone down his spiritual side, because it wasn’t “cool,” but it showed through loud and clear.

    The instrumental after the lyrics swirl and twirl all around, blasting these colors in a kaleidoscope through our minds. It’s beautiful. Unparalleled. Perfect. I wish they made music like this today.

  49. Mike

    August 4, 2009 at 1:48 am

    This is by far my favorite song. I have been comtemplating the meaning of this for some time now. I agree that he is portraying emotions with his lyrics. I have been thinking of getting this as a half sleeve tattoo on my arm for about two years now but have had trouble coming up with ideas for three of the colors. I have everything picked out except for orange, turqoise, and yellow. This blog really helped me with some new ideas for those. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

    • music maven

      August 4, 2009 at 8:18 am

      Glad we could help….good luck on the sleeve. Perhaps once it’s done, you could post a picture.

  50. Jamie F.

    August 10, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Anyone still reading or Googling this? I think I know the meaning of the song and in four strung out, miserable years at Yale I never had a brighter idea than this, inspired by English 129. Once in a while I’ve half-heartedly tried to draw attention to my discovery and my firm conviction: Axis Bold as Love is a retelling of the Illiad. Maybe this will do the trick.

    So here goes. The colors are different Greek gods, of course. The hero/narrator Achilles hesitates to give his life over to the whole “rainbow” or pantheon of Gods, a theme picked up on by Roberto Calasso in The Marriage of Cadmus in Harmony. The Gods’ influence on mortal affairs was on the wane and seeds of Rome were already sown…

    Ares is Red obviously. The turquoise waters, Queen Jealousy, everything is there; right down to wondering why the fight is on. On that last score I think some of the other comments here with respect to the Vietnam War are also right on target but for better or worse I credit myself with discovering the literary backbone of the lyrics to Axis Bold as Love.

    A penny for your thoughts! Thanks and bye for now.

  51. Jamie F.

    August 10, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    PS: Music Maven, did you say you’d found another website where the meaning of the song was being discussed? Didn’t Hendrix – or anyone connected to him back in the day – leave behind a clue for posterity?

  52. music maven

    August 11, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Yes, people are STILL googling this and it’s one of the most active posts in MM blog history.

    The Illiad connection is an interesting hypothesis that I’ll have to explore further.

    Here’s a Follow up post I did on the subject that explores color synthenesia, which Hendrix reportedly experienced.

    There was some forum discussions somewhere about the whole thing and others’ interpretations, but nothing documented from Hendrix himself that I could find.

  53. Jamie F.

    August 11, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    MM: What first made me want to believe it was the Iliad was the blue, life giving waters personified. The voyage started out with a sacifice in exhcange for fair winds, but kings and other mariners shoud not take gentle seas for granted either.

    I imagined Poseidon/Neptune would have wanted his cut in the whole Trojan War transaction. Yet there wasn’t enough soap opera here to go around for all the increasingly marginalized gods to show their influence over mortal politics.

    That’s something touching about the winding down of the Greek Myths. The gods needed us more than we needed them. So maybe the god of the sea really did draw a bit part in this episode and had to be contented with “quietly understand.”

    Hearing you say that there is no known record of the writing of the song makes me question my own theory though. In any event, if only to make sure it’s not for lack of trying, I’ll spell out more of what I had in mind, although I’m a bit rusty.

    Purple is the color of royalty. This is would be Priam as ruler or of Troy. The active verb of towering is a word choice that helps here with the image of an attack or siege. Mention of armor is the first of many clues that we’re watching a war movie.

    Green = envy. The emphasis the narrator provides on this point (with alliteration and repetition of the green theme) feels to me like breadcrumbs dropped purposely to warn listeners to look out for symbolism behind colors the rest of the way.

    Queen Jealousy is Helen, the face that launched a thousand ships. Helen’s broad storyline shows how the gods now grasp at straws to exert influence in the mortals’ lives. Like rival sponsors the gods picked sides in mortal beauty contest. Pathetic!

    Orange, which I note is the color of insanity, could be Hector who can best be said to have been “very unsteady for the first full round.” Yellow, which connotes fear, would then be Achilles and I kind of want Yellow to be “I,” the narrator.

    This works well with the theories about the Vietnam War as there is better drama to be found in choosing the invader as your narrator, rather than the home side. There is more grounds for introspection on the part of the attacking nation.

    Well. That’s about all I’ve got on the colors. I like to think I too have a special relationship with color but nothing clinical per se.

    I think “bold as love” refers to love as the “juice” the gods inject into the sporting contests they made of the lives of the Greeks.

    There are countless other examples of these “steroids” of Greek Myth. Whenever Odysses needed an extra boost a goddess was always there to make him more handsome, more well-spoken or smarter to rise to the occasion. The fix was in.

    This brings me to the main point I glommed on to in Robert Calasso’s book that all this was getting to be a raw deal

    Achilles might be forgiven for finding in all these gods (“a rainbow like you”) pandering for attention and yanking mortal Greeks’ chains reason enough ask himself whether the stress of juggling mulitple heavenly alliances was worth it anymore.

    Whether getting on the one god only plan eventually improved the quality of life of mankind is another story. Thanks again, Jamie F.

    • Erica Breuer

      February 25, 2016 at 6:53 am


  54. Jamie F.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:26 am

    PPS: “Bold as Love” can be explained as having to do with Aphrodite being the impetus behind so much mortal interaction. Love is not only the juice the mortals are running on, but its also why they run. Why they start wars, why judge a beauty contest.

    The goddess has a Godfather-like, off-camera role in this song. Emboldened by love also means feeling her shove at your back.

    So while I agree with a key point made by others (above) that RELIGION is used to goad mortals to war (agree that it’s a relevant real-world theme), it is the song’s emphasis on LOVE as animus for war that should get you thinking of the Greek Myths.

    Remember, Ares and Aphrodite did have an affair. We’re all emboldened by Love, especially the kind sent down from above.

    Am I still alone in thinking that there is a connection between the Iliad and the writing of the Jimi Hendrix song Axis: Bold as Love?

  55. OldManRiver

    November 16, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Funny discussion really.It is pretty obvious what the song is about but it would only be a mystery to you if you are not experienced in dealing with your own and other people’s emotions in a relationship.Hendrix’s songs often work around the inner responses and conversations he is having with himself about how women affect his emotions and what he’s going to do about it. He decides that, in spite of all the other emotions that will intrude and conflict, both his own and hers, he’s going to be brave and make a play, because Love is stronger than all of them. It’s a wonderful introspective yet optimistic song, powerful enough even when it is diluted by Mr Mayer’s rather watery treatment of it.Listen to the original and you won’t have any more questions about it, you will feel the meaning.That’s why Hendrix is the master, for all time.

  56. Kang

    January 14, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I think that the interpretation that focuses on emotions is more to the point. However it is possible that Jimi is writing in two levels(war being the second one)…I dropped the idea of covering the song in one of the bands i am playing (the bass) just yesterday, so now i have to practice! Who is John Mayer anyway? Now if you excuse me i must be on my way…

    • Good Tickle

      February 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      I was wondering the same thing. What artist covers a song like “Bold as Love”, and then sales it like its their own work? Jimi would had to write another song to keep his “Manic Depressin” at bay!

  57. LexxTalon

    March 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    OldManRiver has it right…
    This is just Jimi talking about his feelings toward a girl he finds interesting. It’s a love song…
    explaining the emotions both of them are showing, and in some aspects, it seems as if he’s boastful, trying to convince her of his worth, or make her take a closer look at the man he truly is. Also, I think that he’s calling her the rainbow… perhaps because she shows so many different strong emotions on a regular basis, or at least toward Jimi. Perhaps even that she’s kinda crazy… emotionally erratic even… or at least a bit eccentric… which in his circle of hippie-esque heavy chemical lovers is pretty understandable.

  58. foxyladyo1

    September 13, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Jimi’s version will always be the best because he sings from actual exeprience and the deep emotions generated by real love.

    John’s version does not do this song justice.

    The more interesting question regarding Bold as Love is, who is the woman? Is it Devon Wilson (before the Dolly Dagger incident) or someone else that sparked the beautiful tourment experienced when taking the bold step to tell them he loved them?

  59. John

    October 6, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Thank you everyone for this VERY helpful discussion!!! I used a lot of the content from various people within this post for a paper analyzing this song. This was perfect, and definitely made my job a whole lot easier. Thank you everyone!

  60. Charron

    October 7, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    It’s about the was in Vietnam, purple armor- medals, green gown/ grassy ground- Vietnam jungles, water- all the flippin rain in Vietnam, Turquoise – Vietminh/ others opposing, bold as love- both fighting for what we believe to be the right thing, or the right thing to do despite other fears, red flashing – blood, vengeance, anger, adrenaline, many interpretations of that, orange – young men on both sides being sent off to fight barely knowing what to do or why, scared as hell, agent orange, yellow – opposing forces again, Vietminh, yellowing or changing, they aren’t going to give up their values, llifes emotions, feelings for the (rainbow is light spectrum/ white) man of the government, bold as love- “, axis – obviously the enemy/ opposing force, they feel just as scared, obligated, bold to do what is they’re doing or fighting for.

  61. Yippee!

    February 18, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Y’all are funny.

    This song is about the importance of brushing your teeth, exfoliating, trying your hardest, never being discouraged, caradiovascular exercise, yoga, making your bed, keeping your room clean, keeping your nose clean, spreading smiles, encouraging the discouraged, listening, understanding, loving, giving, caring, following the right guides and recognizing the deceivers taking advantage of the believers, keeping your finger and toe nails clipped short, keeping your nose hairs trimmed, keeping your earwax levels down to necessary levels, never serving food that has fallen onto the floor to anyone, and proper diet.

    • Good Tickle

      February 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm

      You hit the nail on the head in some of this. 🙂

      • music maven

        February 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm

        Yeah, but it’s fun to dissect and speculate.

  62. Yippee!

    February 18, 2011 at 4:01 am

    By the way, folks, the axis is what some people refer to as

    G O D

  63. Yippee!

    February 18, 2011 at 4:22 am

    I wonder if God is black or white. Or maybe even asian!

    • Mike

      June 26, 2012 at 5:46 am

      or maybe not at all

  64. Yippee!

    February 18, 2011 at 4:23 am

    I’ll bet he’s a football!

  65. Yippee!

    February 18, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Sports announcer:

    “Here’s the snap… and Steve O’neal kicks a BOOMER! Oh golly that’s a bomb! It’s still hanging! It is received at the ONE YARD LINE! Steve O’neal punts God for 98 yards! A new record!”

    • Good Tickle

      February 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      Have you been diagnosed with a mental disorder like say: ADD or ADHD??

  66. Good Tickle

    February 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    What is an Axis, but a cross on a graph. The cross is what the Christ died on, and what symbolizes him.

    • Good Tickle

      February 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      Or an “Axis” Mundi (Spiritual channel)

  67. Good Tickle

    February 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Still a very beautiful song no matter how you look at it!

  68. CPrince

    April 19, 2011 at 5:13 am

    I think Jimi was thinking about the Hopi prophecy when he wrote this. Please see below:

    There will come a time when the Earth grows sick and when it does a tribe will gather from all the cultures of the World who believe in deeds and not words. They will work to heal it…they will be known as the “Warriors of the Rainbow.”

    Its possible Jimi was explaining the struggle of the rainbow warriors. The rainbow warriors being mankind. Each color of the rainbow representing an emotion. All individuals have emotions. These colors/emotions can bring us together or separate us. The rainbow being the energy and oneness of everything. The only thing that is keeping us from oneness is ourselves.

    The axis, maybe referring to Jimi himself. Jimi channeling a higher power/energy. We all have the capability to control our emotions and love. We are what is keeping us from oneness and peace on earth. We are the rainbow. We are as bold as love. We have the power to come together. We will heal mother earth. Just a thought. One love

    • music maven

      April 19, 2011 at 7:30 am

      Comment was in moderation. Allows me to approve first time posters.

      • CPrince

        April 19, 2011 at 9:31 am

        My faith in humanity easily restored 🙂

  69. sal

    May 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    these lyrics are pure buddha truth..
    getting hung up on all your emotions “keeps holding me from giving my life to a rainbow like you” (liberation)

  70. Laura

    May 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I believe this song is a love song.

    He speaks about each emotion he experiences and the inner battle between these feelings (i think this has been quite well covered by others above^)

    When he says “all of these emotions of mine keep holding me from giving my life to a rainbow like you” he’s saying that he’s too hung up on his feelings to give himself completely to his love. he recognises that she is also a ‘rainbow’ of emotions but that he loves every part of her. She is a beautiful ‘rainbow’ rather than a collection of disjointed colours like him.

    “bold as love” means that nothing is stronger than love and that despite all these things he’s dealing with he’s still trying to give himself to and be with this girl. hes saying we’re all as bold as the love we have for something.

    the axis is each of our centres, he’s saying we need to look inwards. the truth is inside us. he’s looked at his ‘axis’ and seen all these colours but he knows he wants love to be the ruling force.

    i think the song basically says “this is who i am, im not perfect but i love you enough to try”

    this is my interpretation at least. i ❤ Jimi and this is my favourite song!

  71. auraldragon

    June 30, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    “bold as love” is one of the most beautiful songs ever written in my opinion. however, i could not even make it through john mayer’s version…it was actually a bit painful for me. not because john doesn’t have some talent in his guitar and voice, but because jimi’s music is just too sacred to be covered (in my opinion). it only sounds honest coming from jimi and personally, that is the only way i want to hear his transcendental music.

  72. hankr

    July 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    wow! yall think very deep and i agree with a lot with shrew and laura. jimi was a poet,in my eyes,and this to me is poetry at its best(in terms of music)! the colors clearly are his feelings and his emotions are fighting against each other. hes confused. he cant settle down with the one he loves because her colors (feelings) are in order,his are jacked up. he dont want to mislead her. axis is his heart. it knows everything. maybe he was in love and didnt know how to express it. this was his last album,im just sayin

  73. IMHO

    September 16, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Haven’t read the entire thread so this may have been mentioned, but Chrissie Hynde did a far superior cover of this song than JM.

  74. Josh Roig

    October 12, 2011 at 9:44 am

    “Just ask the Axis, He knows everything.”

    The Axis is Lord Krishna.

    Hendrix is singing of Arjuna’s angst (all these emotions of mine) at surrendering (giving my life) to Krishna (a rainbow like You). Of surrendering to Krishna’s desire for Arjuna to fight against his relatives, especially his grandfather the great warrior Bhisma.
    This song is a rendition of Lord Krishna speaking the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield.

    Google: Battle of Kurukshetr

    Very spiritual context present in this song, could be an interpretation of Kurukshetr or a Hopi rainbow prophecy. It remains timeless because prophetical stories and religious context are timeless as well; dealing with the colors of emotion.

  75. Josh Roig

    October 12, 2011 at 9:51 am

    P.S. if first theory is true, then it explains the cover art (Jimi revealing his true form…lol). To me it would make sense that because of this cover art, the person involved was very confused with the direction of the album. Jimi reportedly wept upon seeing the first commercial cover art; exclaiming that he meant “Native American Indian themed’ and not “Hindu” themed. For such confusion to arise I believe that Jimmy must have been describing Kurukshetr in “Bold as Love”, being that it is the title track; Jimmy must have had to explain the inspiration for the song to the cover artist. Taking the word ‘indian” out of context with new-found understanding of “Bold as Love”, the cover artist personified Jimmy’s face upon the revealing of Krsna’s true form

    • James P. Francomano

      April 2, 2013 at 7:33 am

      Hi Josh. I’m Jamie F. above. I hadn’t thought of taking a harder look at the album cover and will give that a try along with other album art for clues. What do you think of my Trojan War idea?

  76. joshuaajack

    October 26, 2011 at 9:31 am

    As to why John included it, if you watch the “Where the Light Is” DVD/Blu-Ray, you will find out why – it is all about Jimi’s massive addition to rock and blues. I believe the lyrics are secondary.

  77. Brosifmanguyboy

    November 6, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    The song comes from the Battle of Kurukshetra, yes you are right. It is of a war. Just not a war during the time of Hendrix or an actual one. Hendrix is singing of Arjuna’s angst (all these emotions of mine) at surrendering (giving my life) to Krishna (a rainbow like You). Of surrendering to Krishna’s desire for Arjuna to fight against his relatives, especially his grandfather the great warrior Bhisma. Google it. Or just youtube it and find this out like I did.

  78. Osvaldo

    November 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    He’s talking about the Army Service Ribbon,… check it out….. It’s a song he wrote about the military ribbon that all Army soldiers get. “Flashes tokens of War, and Ribbons of euphoria” .. “Keeps holding me from giving my life to a rainbow like you” …. I picked up on this because I have one,… anyone want it? lol…. Sometimes the truth is right on the surface,.. you can put away all your deep thoughts now,… 😀 😀 😀

  79. Karl

    February 14, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I honestly think that at.least part of this song is about a homosexual couple that is coming out. He is angry but smiling because he probably had a fight with his parents about it but he was relieveto get it over with. Purple is often associated with homosexuality. Now to the queen in the green gown. Queen, as in drag queen, is in a green gown because they are inexperienced. Therefore making them “green” . The life giving waters are the parents are they ate blue because they are sad. They probably feel like they did something wrong or they aren’t respected by their kid so they are taken for granted. But they support their kid because they love him so they “quietly understand”. They once happy army is next. “Gay” used to mean happy but now it is used interchangeably with homosexuality. The army is the opposite of ready.because coming out isn’t easy to do. There are more clues I think bit those are my main ideas.

    • Mayara Durães

      October 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Wow, youre tripping man. Its Jimi Hendrix, I dont know where the hell you get that idea from.

  80. Adio.lucas

    March 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Some people have said a lot of cool things that i like, but here’s my take on this awaome song.

    Jimmy was comparing his emotions to colors, as commonly done in euphamisms and neologisms. For instance, jealousy is know as”the green eyed monster.” He refers to this emotion/color as if it is a real individual, personifying it as if it is an aspect of his personality that is independent of the whole. When he says “shiny metalic purple armor,” he could be refering to purple as the color of royaly and arrogance.

    Blue could be refering to a few things. When someone feels “blue,” they are sad. Another possibility, which i find more likely, is that it refers to loyalty and perservierence like in the American flag. The turquois could be refering to emotional healing, as it does sometimes in emotional psychology, but this doesn’t seem to fit with the song. It could be talking about pain or suffering, or mabey stress, and when he refers to them as armies laying opposit ready he could be triying to say that he has many pains and stresses, but he doesn’t understand them or why they still affect him.

    Red is comonly known as a color of bravery and confidence, which easily fits with the theme of that stanza. Orange is fairly self explanitary, as the lyrics already explain it as young and confident. It is generaly seen as a combination of red and yellow, and represents enthusiasm and fascination. When he says “but it’s very unsteady fir the first go round” i believe he is refering to the uncertainties we feel in youth and throughout our lives, and even the child in all of us that can be skepticle and scared.

    Yellow is even more self explanitory. As in the euphamism “yellow bellied,” he is saying that this individual emotion is scared.

    Then he says that all his emotions are keeping him from “giving his life o a rainbow like you.” In this he is saying that he sees everyone as a rainbow of colors and emotions, and that his are preventing him from being whole and commiting. But this is my own personal opinion, and could easily be interperated differantly, which i think is the genious behind his song. People can use their own experieces and emotions to find themselves in this song.

    As for the axis, I dont really know, and again can only speculate. I like what amber said befor about his emotions being synonimous with the earth and that the axis refers to the center around which thy all revolve. But i think it may be the other way around. The lyrics say “i’m bold as love” which again refers to love as an individual emotion instead as an adjuct of a single emotional body. He does this for all the color/emotions he mentions. I think the axis is the metaphorical dark matter that holds them all together and which they revolve around. Again this is just speculation. “The Axis” could have just been something that sounded good that jimmy decided was a good lyric, or even a nickname for someome he knew who was wise and emotionally perceptive. To be honest we’ll never really be sure.

    Regardless this song is awsome, both in lyrical depth and musical composition, and i am a huge fan of it, and the two musicians who brought it to life.

    • Mack the Knife

      May 22, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      I believe that Axis:Bold as Love is about freemasonry and was written to appease/please some who influenced/inspired Jimi, who was not one of that particular group. It is also purposefully esoteric (secretive)

      The colors are described here in freemasonry –

      And from

      “The Fifth, and most important World Pillar was the Axis Munde around which the heavens appear to revolve. The Axis Munde represented the Fifth Cardinal Point.”

      That is why the concept is odd to grasp, however it can make sense when this is taken into account.

      How you can ask an Axis anything is beyond me. Which makes me think that the Axis to which he refers is Aleister Crowley (jimi Page lives in his house now).

      Aleister Crowley was featured on the The Beatles “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and was very influential around that time.

      • Mayara Durães

        October 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

        I dont think Jimi has something to do with Aleister Crowley, seriously,

  81. J

    April 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    In the biography ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky’ by David Henderson, it states that Jimi once spoke to a close friend (Ray Warner) about the strange meaning of the album title: “I just thought about the title. There might be a meaning behind the whole thing: the axis of the Earth turns around and changes the face of the world and completely different civilizations come about or another age comes about. In other words, it changes the face of the Earth and it only takes about one-quarter of a day. Well, the same with love. If a cat falls in love or a girl falls in love, it might change his whole complete scene. Axis: Bold as Love….1-2-3, rock around the clock.”

  82. Mike

    June 26, 2012 at 5:45 am

    imagery – last track on the album with the same name-blunt and powerful begining leads into a lyrical ,storeylike vision that needs no interpretation as he save his furies for the finale, as if to say maybe you’ll get it when I let my guitar do the talkin’ …. in my humble opinion one of his most outstanding tracks he ever laid down , visionary mystic futuristic pick your adjective but feel the song let it touch you gently and expand your outlook

  83. music maven

    July 1, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Still having discussion on this after 5 years. Just goes to show that some things that are truly “cool”, like Hendrix, are timeless. Maybe I’ll start writing the blog a little….retirement IS coming.

  84. Alissa

    July 1, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I read this on another website and it really seemed to sum up the song meaning well for me. Bold as Love “describes Hendrix’ inability to express his feelings to a former girlfriend in any conventional way. So Hendrix used colors to describe his feelings of fright, uncertainty and frustration. It’s that frustration that leads him to say at the end of the song: “And all of these emotions of mine is holding me from giving my life to a Rainbow like you.”

    The vivid and wild imagery of his colours is showing that he is emotionally all over the place, unlike the woman, who has all her emotions in proper order. However, he is bold as love because he is willing to step up and admit that he isn’t perfect or has everything all together, and he is trying get over his fear of not being good enough for her.

  85. kreese

    July 18, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I love the discussion that is going on about this song! It’s me and my fiance’s wedding song that is happening in about 2 weeks! 😀

  86. Ethan

    August 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Jimmy hendrix had a hard time just putting his feelings and emotions into lyrics so he used colors to describe how he was feeling. Brilliant.

  87. Avenog

    February 1, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I think Hendrix meant to have room for individual interpretation, that way any listener can adapt the lyrics to their life and experiences. If you made a song that described an event in painstaking detail, perhaps you couldn’t connect to that piece because of details in the art that differed from your own interpretation. The lyrics I believe are meant to be powerful, and have a general direction, but also to be flexible and different for all listeners. Perhaps the “war” mentioned is referencing Vietnam, perhaps an internal conflict. Perhaps colors describe an artistic masterpiece in which colors combine to create a rich landscape, the axis being the painter, or perhaps emotions towards a person or thought….keep the discussion going!!

    • Mayara Durães

      October 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      To me is something like all types of feelings we have in our lives, and just how hard it is for us to surrender to love. Axis is the center, God or any spiritual being we can relate to and the rest of it is just mix of emotions we deal in life.

  88. hp

    February 25, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    If you open the Axis album cover up and look at the whole album, its apparent this is the Universal Form of Krishna which He is showing Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra when Krishna spoke the Gita to Arjuna. Jimi is Vishnu, Neil is Brahma and Mitch is Shiva.

    Look at the bottom left of the unfolded album cover and there is Krishna and Arjuna with chariot.

    This instruction of the Gita to Arjuna, as well as the depicted display of Krishna’s Universal Form took place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra where two armies waited for the battle to commence. (“Once happy turquoise armies lay opposite ready but wonder why the fight is on”)

    Arjuna doesn’t want to fight because on the opposing side is his grandfather, uncles, cousins and many other relatives .But after hearing the Gita from Krishna, Arjuna makes the choice to surrender to Krishna and fight as Krishna advises. (“all these emotions of mine keep holding me from giving my life to a rainbow like You”)

    Bur Arjuna does indeed give his life (surrender) and the fight commences as evidenced by the soaring transcendental guitar solo which eventually fades out as the battle rages on…

    Look in any Gita with pictures and this depiction, this display of the Universal Form (Vishvarup) is there. Or just Google – battle of Kurukshetra..

    “Just ask the Axis He knows everything” The Axis is Lord Krishna.

    Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya!

    • Rene

      March 27, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Great, hp… you solved a 5 year old mystery!

      • Hp B

        January 25, 2016 at 5:28 pm

        Thank you, Rene.

        Hare Krishna.

    • Mayara Durães

      October 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks for this, I think this is exacly what he was trying to say but at the same time Hendrix leaves all his lyrics as an open way to each individue to understand how it wants. You can have a lot o descriptions here the combines to it, and maybe thats what he thought about at the first place because he was so open minded and espiritual!

    • Destructor of Galaxies

      August 14, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Who is Neil? The Axis is about the axis mundi, by the way. And we all know what answer he got: access denied.

  89. Marin

    March 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Hendrix was likely a synesthet (sound to colour) and the song illustrates what he experiences while plaing. His music, for him, is a mixture of sounds, coulours and emotions that surround him while playing – thus the Axis.

    Particular emotions, colours or associations are chosen to give the most beautifull combination he could come up with. Regarding the millitary biased meanigs, Jimi was a soldier and it’s perfectly normal that some military associations are significant in his inner cosmos, without any deeper meanig.

    And the Axis is himself, obviously. Who else knows everithing about the song but Jimi?

    Well, it’s just guessing, anyway. If we were to know the real meanig we should ask the Axis – he knows everithing.

    It is very interesting that he’s almost never played it in concerts. What do you think about it?

  90. Fartburger McShitbritches

    July 30, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Jimi seemed to be a very sentimental and carrying guy. I didn’t know him personally or anything but the guy was awesome. If he was still around, there would be no telling what kind of revolutionary guitar playing he’d be capable of. Also, not to be a stereotypical stoner but if you listen to his music blazed you wont be sorryl. It sounds good if you’re sober too lol .

  91. Marty

    May 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    These colors are the chakras……love starts as a blind stroll through an enticing park (at least it always did for me) but the more I’ve been crushed ‘very unsteady from the first go round……my yellow in this case is not so mellow… in fact it’s kind of scared and frightened likeme……’ I’ll nevever quit, on what who the eff knows?? I’m gettin a bold as love branding on my chest, that is the MOST beautiful thing I ever did hear!!!

  92. Richard

    July 20, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    This is all so very stimulating to me.

    I’ve been a huge Hendrix fan for the past 45 years. I was fortunate to have been a young teen when Hendrix and Janis Joplin were actually touring. I saw them both several times.

    Jimi remains my all time favorite. His guitar work, vocals and writing are stilll the best of all time.

    The guitar on Blod as Love, in my mind, reflects the words and feeling of the song. All the highs , lows and abrupt changes in speed. I don’t think anyone will ever know for sure what the true meaning of this particular song was, although I enjoyed the thoughts on many posts. Jimi Hendrix was a complexed person, and probably suffered for an organic chemical imbalance of the brain. He was extremely moody, which was evident in his music, his relationships and his music.

    I went to seee him at madison square garden, but can’t remember the year. Anyway, when he came out he asked that people do not use flash bulbs to take pictures. Everyone ignored him and continueed to flash away. He opened the set with cross town trafic, which is when the flashing was constant. Jimi stopped playing about a minute into the song, but Noel and Mitch kept the rythem goinng. I can’t play with those bulbs flashing in my face, so please stop. Jimi started to join the music again, but the flash bulbs were relentless. Finally, he unplugged his guitar and left the stage.Noel and Mitch kept playing for a few minutes, as the handlers tried to get Jimi back on stage. A man walked up to the mike and told us, ” Jimi Hendrix left the building”. Wow. I hasve to tell you that at agr 14 I thought he was the coolest person I’d ever seen.

    Jimi Hendrix did loads of drugs, mostly downers. His brain was over active, therefore sleeping was vvery difficult for him. He would take LSD often, then shoot herion to come down at night. He was high everyday of his professional life. His extrodinary brain visited places that most people could not imagine, both good and bad. I can’t imagine what he would be playing if he were alive today.

    I’ll always love Jimi, but after 45 years, but will never understand some of his lyrics.

    I enjoyed revisiting these memories.

    Thank you

  93. Daddy

    July 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    a lot of people here are out of their minds. consider that Jimi Hendrix spent most of his days on acid. Now please take a hit. and you will certainly understand exactly what Jimi is talking about. He is the greatest

  94. alexander d.

    November 11, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    The song is about the eternal struggle of man to evolve. The armies refer to the story in the bhagavad gita where krisna tells arjuna that fighting his brother pandava is his karma and must be fulfilled. It is all about duty and honor. Living life to its fullest and doing what must be done even if it you think it is wrong.

  95. DG

    March 26, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    dare taste bitter jealousy, hidden by angry sadness
    be bold, recognise your fright
    claim unconditional love
    it tastes sweet

    Happy Easter

  96. James lynch

    December 19, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    The song is about how to use the circle of 5ths to stay in key

    Hendrix main tuning was standard tuned down a halfstep and he has his colours of each his notes based on these colours, Hendrix used to say this he plays in colours, as he didn’t read music. If you listen to the lyrics in bold as love he’s just telling you which colours match so when he says ‘turquoise armies lay opposite a ready’ he is saying a red Ab (G#) not ‘a ready’
    And in this setup a red a is opposite turquoise… My red so confident it flashes trophies of war and ribbons of euphoria gold being trophies A# orange D# daring flashes C# pink euphoria confidence

    • James lynch

      December 19, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      I’ll continue on coz I’m on a bus home bored and I’ve never shared this theory online with anyone and I don’t think its been brought up before

      The axis is another name for spectrum in his context, and the colour spectrum does in fact know everything

      So here’s the list for you starting at 12 o clock and going clockwise

      C# pink confidence
      G# red anger (anger he smiles)
      D# orange daring (very unsteady)
      A# gold apathy (trophies of war)
      F yellow fear (frightened like me)
      C light green calm
      G green grudge (envy)
      D turquoise delight (once happy)
      A light blue allay (life given waters)
      E blue empathy (wondering why the fight is on)
      B violet bravery
      F# purple frenzy (towering in shiny metallic)

      Now a final thing I want to say and why Hendrix thought this so important to express it with song

      The circle of 5ths is the key to knowing any chord and key any scale it’s all you need to build a whole structure around and if it’s good enough for Hendrix it’s good enough for you


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