Despite Jimi Hendrix's well-deserved reputation as an electric guitar pioneer, there is little doubt that he was also capable of masterful melodies, and "Little Wing" is perhaps his finest. A gentle, soulful chord progression, based on an E minor to D major shift, guides the melody and is an accurate mirror of the title and lyrics. Ostensibly a tender love song, Hendrix conveys these emotions in a bittersweet way that juxtaposes his stance as a hard rocker. Instrumentally, it's also a fabulous vehicle for his jazzy/psychedelic guitar work, as well as Mitch Mitchell's jazz-inspired drumming. Easily one of the highlights of his second album (Axis: Bold As Love), a terrific, instrumental alternate version (first take) is now available on The Jimi Hendrix Experience box set. Stevie Ray Vaughn (a true Hendrix disciple) recorded an exquisite version in the late '80s.