“Manic Depression” is a song written by Jimi Hendrix and recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967. Music critic William Ruhlmann describes the lyrics as “more an expression of romantic frustration than the clinical definition of manic depression.” The song is performed in an uptempo triple metre (3
4 or 6
8), an unusual time signature for hard rock. It also features Mitch Mitchell’s jazz-influenced drumming (he based the drum part on Ronnie Stephenson’s drumming on John Dankworth’s “African Waltz”) and a parallel guitar and bass line. The song is included on their debut album, Are You Experienced and live versions appear on BBC Sessions and Winterland.
Other musicians who have recorded “Manic Depression” include Jeff Beck with Seal, Besh o droM, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bonerama, Carnivore, Clawfinger, Larry Coryell, Tanya Donelly, Katharina Franck, Jan Hammer, Ben Harper, David Ryan Harris, Eric Johnson, King’s X, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Nomeansno, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Styx, Type O Negative, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Rozz Williams, Gitane Demone, and Alice Cooper’s Hollywood Vampires.
The original Hendrix performance of “Manic Depression” was used in a climax of season 4 of 1980s TV series Moonlighting while Bruce Willis’s character violently destroys a BMW sports car, symbolic of his frustrations over co-star Cybill Shepherd’s character.