What does Hey Joe mean?

Jimi Hendrix: Hey Joe Meaning

Album cover for Hey Joe album cover

Song Released: 1966

Hey Joe Lyrics

Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
Hey Joe, I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
Alright. I'm goin down to shoot my old lady,
you know I caught her messin' 'round with another man.
Yeah,! I'm goin' down to...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jan 31st 2011 !⃝

    This song is about an ex-soldier who cannot deal with a problem in a normal way anymore. There were plenty of them in the US during the Vietnamwar.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    May 3rd 2011 !⃝

    jimi covered this song,the original was
    written by billie roberts so any interpretation on jimis part would be pointless.

  3. Alf
    click a star to vote
    Jan 29th 2023 !⃝

    Sorry but i don't understand The Words just before The solo" *he says* AND I GAVE HER THE GUN AND I SHOOT HER,, how is that possible , AM i not understanding something or isit just a Game of playing Words or what? Someone tell me if he says that??? Thanx!!!

  4. anonymous
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    Sep 5th 2022 !⃝

    Joe is every American soldier in Vietnam. Today we would say he had post traumatic stress disorder. Having participated in the horror of war, of killing men, women, and children on orders, his values upon returning to the US are skewed. He understands rules, and violence and this is his whole world. He is still operating in this space. The song is an unflinching commentary on the loss of our humanity, that arose from the Vietnam war.

  5. anonymous
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    May 18th 2019 !⃝

    The lyrics are pretty simple, Joe's girl cheats on him and then He kills her and runs away to Mexico. The act itself is not simple at all though. I mean, killing your partner and running away to start a new life, that is a HUGE ordeal. So, we would expect Joe to grieve, to regret, to fear or at least be angry and yet, He tells us the story very casually.
    Well, It always seems to me that the reason for this is because Joe has gone completely mad because of this girl and the act of cheating on him, He's beyond emotions and rationality. He didn't feel like he had any other choice but to kill her.
    haven't you ever loved madly someone that didn't love you back as much? I bet you have, and I bet you would have done some crazy shit because of that (hopefully not killing anyone)
    So before you judge Joe for being a misogynist, although he might be, have some sympathy for the guy.

  6. anonymous
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    Mar 20th 2018 !⃝

    This is pretty simple. Joe lives in a simple, direct and violent world. Depending on the version of the lyrics, his woman (old lady, mama) sleeps with (messes with, is seen with) another man. All are indications of infidelity and Joe does not see any choice but to kill her for breaking the rules as he knows them. And he does kill her, gives her the gun!
    The narrator asks where he is going now, and Joe just says South, to Mexico, where I can be free.
    If Camus can kill an Arab on the beach as an existential act, Joe seems perfectly understandable. It’s not like he enjoyed the act of having to go up close and personal and shooting her. Think of him as a Clint Eastwood character.

  7. anonymous
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    Sep 7th 2016 !⃝

    A song originally about the sin of adultery and what can happen to a man and his woman in the ''Hey Joe'' song written by someone else made more popular by Jimmy Hendrix[r.i.p] with a new meaning. Where ''hey joe'' became a popular phrase used when men in the Philipines said to the Americans to where they're going with their guns in their hands around the time of the Vietnam War days. In today's day ''hey joe'' phrase has been used towards the political politician war mongers like a evil minded Joe Binden that starts and likes to continue the wars, but this time putting the guns in other peoples hands to see them fight each other like it's some kind of a ''devil's arcade'' game for him to watch. And to hope with the devil this would pay off for his selfish evil agenda that sadly has been killing and damaging many of our young Veterans in the wars out there.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  8. anonymous
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    Feb 17th 2012 !⃝

    This is a male-oriented sexist song. The gun is his penis, his shot is his ejaculant. His women is messed up by another man and no longer a virgin. The implication is that this gives him permission to go down south to shape of Mexico and ejaculate without a condom (noose around the neck). The dialogue between the two men in the song is male banter, boasting about sex.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
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    Dec 7th 2011 !⃝

    this song was original was copy righted in 1962 by folk musician Billy Roberts , it was at a higher tempo until folk artist Tim Rose did a version of it , ie same tempo as Jimi played it . Jimi's version is just an interpretation of the song the lyrics and cord structure existed prior to him coming on the scene

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
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    Apr 10th 2011 !⃝

    hey joe,
    Could also be interpreted to mean, hey joe where you going with that gun in your hand... gun equals needle. I'm going down to shoot my old lady. Going to go shoot up. You know I caught her messing round with another man. I got the drugs while with another man.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  11. anonymous
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    Sep 18th 2010 !⃝

    Well this song is one of the real stories that Jimi crafted in his brief time on the scene. This song is clearly about a man named Joe who's wife was having an affair. In rage he retaliated by shooting her dead. "I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady because I caught her messin' around with another man". That's pretty self explanatory. Towards the end he says "He's goin way down south to be free" or mexico to run away from the police.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway

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