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'All Along The Watchtower '
Jimi Hendrix
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There are few cover versions that truly replace the original in most people’s minds. But Jimi Hendrix’s version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” is so good that even Dylan prefers it. The song first appeared on Dylan’s 1968 album
Jimi Hendrix
Song facts
Composer Bob Dylan
Genre Rock
Album Electric Ladyland
Year of release 1968
UK Chart Position 5
John Wesley Harding and his version is notable mainly for its lyrics. An allegorical tale about the sweeping away of society’s old guard it contains one of the greatest opening lines ever: “There must be some way out of here/ Said the joker to the thief”. But musically, aside from a few harmonica flourishes, it is a fairly basic affair. The same could never be said of Hendrix’s cover, which he recorded in London with drummer Mitch Mitchell and Traffic guitarist Dave Mason. From the start his take contains a ferocious energy missing in Dylan’s quiet, contemplative version. In fact, the urgency and edginess that Hendrix gives it is far more in keeping with its apocalyptic message than Dylan’s gentle strumming ever was.
But most of all Hendrix gave the song his virtuoso playing – after one listen you can’t imagine it being played any other way. Dylan couldn’t either, and played it as Hendrix had from that point on.


Bob Dylan talks about songwriting
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan disputes the idea that a lot of his songs are constructed like movies - "I don't have any plan - I don't have any set way of writing songs" he tells Christopher Sykes.

 

Other versions
Bob Dylan
 Hear Bob Dylan's original version featured on his John Wesley Harding album of 1967.

Bob dylan wrote one of the most briiliant songs ever, then Jimi Hendrix perfected it.


Neil

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