Hey Joe (lost early version of The Offspring song; 1989)

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The cover of the cassette tape version of the self-titled debut album by The Offspring.

Status: Lost

“Hey Joe” is an American rock song from the 1960s that was registered for copyright in the United States in 1962 by Billy Roberts.[1] The lyrics tell of a man who is on the run and planning to head to Mexico after shooting his unfaithful wife. While the authorship of the song has been contested, the earliest known commercial version of “Hey Joe” was recorded by The Leaves.[2] One of the most well-known versions of the song was recorded in October 1966 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.[3]

The American rock band The Offspring have released “Hey Joe” on several occasions. The three known recorded versions are:

1) 1989 version – released on the self-titled debut album, though only on the cassette tape version.[4]
2) 1991 version – released on the EP Baghdad.[5]
3) 1996 version – released on the compilation albums Go Ahead Punk... Make My Day (1996)[6] and Happy Hour! (2010)[7] as well as the single for “Gone Away” (1997).[8]


The two latter versions are available online but the original 1989 version is considered lost. Due to the scarcity of the cassette tape version of the self-titled debut album, it was initially incorrectly believed to be a bootleg. Once the cassette tape version was verified to be an official release, the search for the 1989 version of “Hey Joe” began for real. However, there is still uncertainty whether or not the 1989 version is exactly the same as the 1991 version of the song.[9] Some of those who have heard the 1989 version claim that “it's a lot less polished in sound and very raw” compared to the 1991 version[4] while others claim that the 1989 and 1991 versions are the same. Attempts have been made to ask The Offspring’s lead guitarist Noodles on Twitter about the different versions but to no avail.[9] The self-titled debut album was recorded in March 1989 at South Coast Recording in Santa Ana, California[4] while all songs on Baghdad were recorded in February 1991 at the Sound Chamber in Pasadena, California[5], with no mentioning on the EP of “Hey Joe” being recorded at a previous session.


  1. Webb, Robert (24 January 2003): Double Take: 'Hey Joe', Tim Rose / Jimi Hendrix, Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  2. Simon, Tom (25 December 2006): Hey Joe, Tsimon.com. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  3. Ward, Thomas: The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Hey Joe, Allmusic.com. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Offspring – The Offspring, Discogs.com. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Offspring – Baghdad, Discogs.com. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  6. Various – Go Ahead Punk ... Make My Day, Discogs.com. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  7. The Offspring – Happy Hour!, Discogs.com. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  8. The Offspring ‎– Gone Away, Discogs.com. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  9. 9.0 9.1 gontz_c: Original Hey Joe, Reddit.com. Retrieved 9 December 2021.