Axis Bold As Love was Jimi Hendrix's followup to his smash hit debut LP Are You Experienced? It wasn't as chock-full-o-hits, but it's a nice piece of work and established the Jimi Hendrix Experience as a force to be reckoned with. My favorite track is the soaring ballad Little Wing, which was later recorded by Derek and the Dominoes and then by Sting. I usually mock Sting but his Bill Evans arranged version of this Hendrix classic is gorgeous. There, I said it.
The cover was designed by David King and Roger Law. Hendrix was not entirely pleased with the cover:
Hendrix expressed dismay regarding the album cover art, which depicts him and the Experience as various forms of Vishnu, incorporating a painting of them by Roger Law, from a photo-portrait by Karl Ferris. Hendrix stated that the cover would have been more appropriate had it highlighted his American Indian heritage. The painted image of the Experience was then superimposed on top of a copy of a mass-produced religious poster. Hendrix commented: "The three of us have nothing to do with what's on the Axis cover." Unlike the previous album's cover art, both the UK and US editions featured the same image.
In November a giant B&W blow up of the fantastic day-glo pink, orange & blue offset litho print over gold foil, Hapshash/Osiris poster featuring Hendrix dressed as a Native American, wearing a feathered War Bonnet, was used as a background to his appearance on Hoepla, a controversial Dutch TV show. This poster, although produced later in London, and supposedly commissioned by Hendrix has text along the top to make it appear as if it was an original poster, advertising his (post Monterey) 1967 Fillmore concerts, this design was possibly what he had in mind. The original prints of this poster are probably all in collections, and later copies which have surfaced fetch high prices at auction.
The original Track UK issue came in a gatefold sleeve with a large B&W portrait photo of the group by Donald Silverstein spread over the inside and an orange sheet insert with overprinted lyrics in red; the allegedly high cost of this packaging was a topic of note in the music press. The US issue had no insert and instead of the group photo inside, had the lyrics. In Europe, the Polydor issue had no lyrics and stuck a 1-inch-wide (25 mm) white border round the inside portrait, while the French dispensed with the original cover entirely and put it in a single sleeve with a photo of the group taken from a recent French TV show on the front.
I quite like the cover. I'm uncertain whether or not any devout Hindus had a cow over it. Now that I've used that groaner, here's the cover:
Here's the back cover:
Here's the LP on vinyl as posted by YouTuber, the Record Spinner: