The cut arrived today (November 25), using Hendrix’s original, signature guitar from the song, married with Malik’s own soulful vocals. The former One Direction singer’s voice blends in effortlessly with its ’70s-sounding surroundings and breathes new life into the cut, which was originally released posthumously in 1971 by Hendrix’s estate. Listen to it below.
In an interview with Billboard, Hendrix’s estate, Experience Hendrix, said: “We are pleased that Zayn has been inspired to use original music from Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Angel’ in his recording of the song.”
“We’re hopeful that this version of a Hendrix classic will enlighten a new generation of listeners about Jimi’s genius and further propel his continuing legacy.”
Hendrix was born in Seattle on November 27, 1942, and began playing guitar at 15. It wasn’t until 1966 that his mainstream career as a guitarist took off, when he moved to England and began playing with the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
He went on to release three albums with the outfit, including ‘Are You Experienced’ (1967), ‘Axis: Bold As Love’ (1967) and ‘Electric Ladyland’ (1968), before releasing his final album in 1970, ‘Band Of Gypsys’.
Hendrix died at the age of 27, on September 18, 1970. He received a number of posthumous accolades, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and the UK Music Hall of Fame more than a decade later, in 2005. He was also ranked ‘the greatest guitarist of all time’ by Rolling Stone, who in 2015 wrote: “Jimi Hendrix exploded our idea of what rock music could be: He manipulated the guitar, the whammy bar, the studio and the stage.”
As for Malik, the cover marks his first release of the year. In 2021, he shared his third solo album ‘Nobody Is Listening’, which NME awarded three stars in a review. “There’s a clarity here, a sense of maturity in the lyrics too – something that was often missing in his previous work,” wrote NME‘s Dhruva Balram.
“‘Nobody is Listening’ has its flaws, but Zayn is clearly working out a few chinks in his armour, and this comes across as a step in a new and fresh direction for the enigmatic artist.”