Hey, look out for my glass up there, man!
That's my drink, man, that's my drink, alright...
Make it a double, or eh...
Somebody has to sing
Some body will sing?
Somebody will sing, right?
(I don't know!)

Y'all pass me that bottle,
And I'll sing you all a real song
Let me get my key, ahum!

Well, I'm looking through Harlem
my stomach squeal just a little more
A stagecouch full of feathers and footprints,
pulls up to soap¨box door
Now a lady with a pearl¨handled necktie
Tied to the driver's fence
breathes in my face,
bourbon and coke possessed words
& quot;Haven't I seen you somewhere in hell,
or was it just an accident?"
(You know how I felt then, and so:)

Before I could ask "was it the East or West side?"
my feet they howled in pain
The wheels of a bandwagon cut very deep,
but not as deep in my mind as the rain
And as they pulled away I could see her words
Stagger and fall on my muddy tent
Well I picked them up, brushed them off,
to see what they say,
and you wouldn't believe:
`Come around to my room, with the tooth in the middle,
and bring along the bottle and a president'

And eh sometimes it's not so easy, baby
Especially when your only friend,
talks, sees, looks and feels like you,
and you do just the same as him
(Gets very lonely up this road, baby)
(Yeah, hmmm, yeah)
(Got more to say!)

Well I'm riding through LA (huh),
on a bicycle built for fools
And I seen one of my old buddies
And he say, "you don't look the way you usually do"
I say, "well, some people look like a coin-box"
He say, "look like you ain't got no coins to spare"
And I laid back and I thought to myself, and I said this:
I just picked up my pride from underneath the pay phone,
and combed this breath right out of my hair
And sometimes it's not so easy
Especially when your only friend
talk, sees, looks and feels like you,
and you do just the same as him

just got out of a Scandinavian jail,
and I'm on my way straight home to you
But I feel so dizzy I take a quick look in the mirror,
to make sure my friend's here with me too
And you know good well I don't drink coffee,
so you fill my cup full of sand
And the frozen tea leaves on the bottom
Sharing lipstick around the broken edge
And my coat that you let your dog lay by the fire on
And your cat he attacked me from his pill¨box ledge
And I thought you were my friend too
Man, my shadow comes in line before you
I'm finding out that it's eh not so easy
Specially when your only friend
Talks, looks, sees and feels like you,
and you do the same just like him

(Lord it's so lonely here, hmmm, yeah)
(Pass me that bottle over there...)
Yeah, yeah, okay...

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My Friend song meanings
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  • +1

    Done as a jam in the studio late one night. I think Steve Winwood and a few others were in on it. The bar room sound effects were added later on to make it sound live. But it was done in the studio.

    This is a masterful look into the way Jimi felt about himself. (ala Burning of the Midnight Lamp, Hear My Train AComin') My Friend says how he has so many people that want to be around him because he is "Jimi Hendrix" the rock star. His only true friend...the only one he can trust to be there in good times and bad...is HIS SHADOW!!!

    Upbeat song that is pure blues sadness.

    Incidently, I believe Noel Redding claims that the idea for this song was stolen by Jimi from one of Noel's own songs he wrote for his solo outfit "Fat Mattress".
    jersey73on October 01, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is Jimi's best efforts to emulate Bob Dylan.
    Note the sentiment of feeling being betrayed is central to much of Dylan's mid 60s electric music (which Jimi was a fan of, hence his numerous covers.)
    Also the extensive use of compound words (soap-box door, pearl-handle necktie etc) that was a large part of Dylan's 'Blonde On Blonde' album's lyrical content ('Leapard-Skin Pill-Box Hat' for example.)
    And finally, the noise in the a la 'Rainy Day Women#12 & 35'.
    This is one of my favourite Jimi Hendrix song, along with 'Burning Of The Midnight Lamps' I think it's his best lyrically.
    msr123on March 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just love this song, but I am confused about what he means by"And you know good well I don't drink coffee,
    so you fill my cup full of sand."
    mav1986on March 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthey mav1986, the whole song is full of...how should i say? well let's call it "trippin-on-acid-trying-to-sound-like-dylan-cause-he's-my-idol" type of writting. To me the only lines that make sense are the ones about how his only friend is himself. that much is clear about the song. the rest however....i mean, does "A stagecouch full of feathers and footprints rolls up to my soap box door" make any sense?? anyways, you gotta love Hendrix. absolutely the greatest fucking genius that ever lived.
    allthings_mustpasson March 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentallthings mustpass. you're a moron.

    this song is amazing from a lyrical standpoint. it's pure poetry.

    the first part is about a lady who seems to be high class. she's in a stagecoach and she's dressed like she's rich (pearl handled necktie). Then it's hinted that Jimi is homeless at the moment, living in a box on the street. she pulled up to his "soap box door". She then insults him by asking if she's seen him in hell.

    Before Jimi could reply with a sense of humor asking if it was the East or West side of hell, she runs his feet over with her stagecoach and moves on. It hurt his feet physically but even more so emotionally.

    "And as they pulled away I could see her words
    Stagger and fall on my muddy tent
    Well I picked them up, brushed them off,
    To see what they say"

    This part is about as she's riding away, Jimi translates what she's saying/had said to him. (He picks up her words, brushes them off and see's what they really mean).

    and to his surprise, I take it she's a prostitute.
    "come around to my room, with the tooth in the middle, And bring along the bottle and a president"

    the tooth being the bed, the bottle being a bottle of course, and the president being money. he's surprised at this because she looked so high class. and it's his way of demonstrating that people aren't always as they seem, and the person you really know is yourself.

    The chorus is him saying that it's hard when his only friend is himself.

    The next part is about him riding through L.A. and running into one of his old friends. the friend comments that he doesn't look as good as he used to (that Jimi looks run down and raggity). Jimi thinks to himself that he just picked up his pride from literally underneath a payphone, in other words he's just thinking "no shit, i'm homeless. i just spent the night in a phone booth" to his buddy's comment.

    He then "combs his buddy's breath out of his hair" meaning he just shakes off what his so-called friend had said. but it's still not easy when you're only true friend is yourself. and people aren't what they appear to be.

    He then gets out of jail and goes home to see his girlfriend. He's dizzy (drunk/high) so he has to check in the mirror to see if "his friend is still with him" (meaning himself being his only true friend, and if whatever he's on had changed his personality)

    He finds her dog laying on his coat and her cat to be hostile towards him (pill box meaning the military bunker. not drugs). This could be a metaphore for her being angry at him. The "sharing lipstick" may imply she's cheating on him, but i'm not sure. He says that he thought that she was his friend too, but now he would put his shadow before her now. And in the end it turns out that he, himself is his only friend.
    FenderTeleon August 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHey mav1986

    "And you know good well I don't drink coffee,
    so you fill my cup full of sand."

    I think these lyrics could be referring to him coming home drunk or high (dizzy). usually people drink coffee to try and sober up, but instead of trying to help him out, she fills his cup up with sand. meaning she gives him hell for coming home drunk.

    "the frozen tea leaves on the bottom sharing lipstick around a broken edge" relates to a cup of coffee or tea to fit the scene. but it's really a metaphore for their relationship breaking (the broken tea cup). The cup of coffee has a tea leaf design on the outside of it, and she's sharing lipstick with it (meaning she's drinking from the broken cup). The broken cup being their broken relationship.
    FenderTeleon August 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhile you guys have nicely detailed explanations of what this song is about word for word, i think the way it feels and makes the listener feel is what its all about. its kinda sad.
    robopatroloon April 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment*the noise in the background a la 'Rainy Day Women #12 & 35'
    msr123on March 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song represents (mainly) possible mental problems that Jimi experienced due to long term and habitual use of lsd.... This song probably corroloates to some sort of problem such as SCHIZOPHRENIA, because he talks about how his only friend is himself, and how he "checks up on his friend in the mirror" but he tries to cover it up (leaving the true meaning to those who understand it) w/ other events in his life and lace it w/ enough poetic touch to keep from being so direct about his problems
    Maybe I'm way off, but that's what I percieve from this song's lyrics
    liquidanubis3on September 23, 2008   Link

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