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'All Along The Watchtower '
Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
Is “All Along The Watchtower” the greatest cover version ever? Do you prefer Bob Dylan’s version? Has there ever been a better guitarist than Jimi Hendrix?

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Bob Dylan wrote one of the most briiliant songs ever, then Jimi Hendrix perfected it. The combination of two extreme talents to make a truly classic song.


perveiz khan,chelmsford
jimi hendrix took the songs of all the greats and made them his own . it did not matter what the song was . whether it was some banal like wild thing or a great song like watchtower. once he has finished with it , forget the original.

Steve, Wokingham, Berks.
Jimi's version of "All Along the Watchtower" has to be one of the greatest covers of all time, if not the best. Dylan acknowledged this himself and subsequently re-recorded the song as Jimi covered it. Dylan's original version on the 'Wesley Harding' album is good, but would probably have remained somewhat hidden but for Jimi's cover on the seminal Electric Ladyland album. Finally, there has never been a more innovative, original and influential guitarist than Hendrix, although a lot of guitar 'anoraks' will roll of a list of 'technically better players'....which is really missing the point about Jimi's greatness and uniqueness. Jimi's playing went far beyond technicalities, and it was more about pure expression, feeling and connection via his guitar and music to something deep, spiritual and soulful. Hendrix in many ways was a composer of the stature of Mozart and it is silly just to look only at his guitar playing and the technicalities...

When Bob Dylan heard Hendrix's version, HE preferred Hendrix's version to his own. That says it all.

Clint, Kent
I actually think Dave Matthews has the best version of Watchtower there is. They consistently jam on it for up to twenty minutes in concert and maintain fantastic energy throughout.

Cherokee Mist , England
Jimi was and will always be THE MAN! , any fan with a good knowledge of the wonderful legacy he left us will know that apart from his beautiful, sensitive, virtuoso guitar playin...jimi also had a beautiful voice to go with it. {check out Drifting from "first rays of the new rising sun"} to disagree with that is to not truely know/understand his music. a true poet and innovator, watchtower is a fantastic cover and also his version of Like a rollin stone from Monterey pop. His guitar style is still studied/admired to this day , 36 years after his untimely death. i miss him as much today as i did the day he left us..... thank you jimi, Rest in Peace.

Earl Austin,TX
Bob Dylan made an amazing song and Hendrix just took it to the next level. Its amazing the stuff he can do with his guitar, and he took Dylan's masterpiece and made it his own.

Laurence Breedon U.K.
I think Hendrix's version is tremendous but I genuinely prefer the sense of pared back sharpness and desolation on Dylan's version. Am I totally alone?

Ryan St. Petersburg, FL
There is no better redition of All Along the Watchtower than the rendition that appears in the Biograph collection by Dylan.

Graham, Kent
For Desmond Decker, It was Bob Dylan at Budokan that had Dave Mansfield on violin. A great song by two great artists.

Tom Costerton/Guildford
Jimi Hendrix's version is much better then Bob Dylan's in many ways, firstly it uses much better guitar, more drums and some rare, unique 60's instruments. Bob Dylan uses a guitar and a harmonica. Jimi Hendrix's is longer, was performed at woodstock, and is more psychadelic, making it generally more 60's.

Kev B WIltshire England
Watchtower will for me be one of the all time classics, but to get a complete perspective of the talent involved in creating the song get hold of Richie Havens acoustic version. I saw him perfom this live at Womad last year and it left the audience speechless in admiration.

Terry Mercury/kitchener, ontario, canada
That's it. Period. You get the wordmaster: Bob Dylan, put him together with the greatest to ever pick up a guitar: Jimi Hendrix, and you get musical nirvana: All Along the Watchtower. My favorite piece of music ever.

Desmond Decker
I am trying to find the version that has this tremondous sounding violin on it. I always thought it was on the Dylan-The Band LP Before The Flood. Bought the album but was dissapointed to find out it does nog contain any violin.

tom appleton vienna austria
in fact i have just listened to this song again, the live Isle of Wight version. Hendrix's guitar is great, but otherwise he just screws up this song the way he does every other. jimi couldn't sing, he didn't have the slightest idea about subtlety, he just talks his way through every song like a billy goat braying the lyrics over the top of his guitar. dylan can't play the guitar all that much, but at least he has a notion of what a SONG is....

joel from bristol
all along the watch tower is one of the greatest songs ever. Jimi hendrixs version is just as great as the original. jimi hendrix is one of a kind hell never be matched at his skill of guitar playing. Jimi hendrix shuld be a god to all guitarists as he reinvented the electric guitar. he is to me a massive influence.

Florian Auras / Lahnstein (Germany)
Hendrix' Version is the definitive one - in points of expression, groove, pressure and rocking attitude. But the funniest, perhaps most British one is that of XTC. They dekonstruct it, reduce it to a franz ferdinand-danceable masterpiece, which is totally ironical and cynical. I suppose, Andy Partridge had to smile when thinking about Hippy Hendrix.

Abdul - Burry Port
Jimi hendrix version of the song is ultimate. Even though Bob Dylan's version puts the true message over more subtly. Jimi puts a better slant on the lyrics and makes the song come to life.

Judy Oxon
I love Jimi Hendrixs version but Paul Weller did it on his covers album and that was great as well if different

paul millward derby
not sure its one of the most brilliant songs ever but Hendrix's version is definitely one of the greatest records ever made

Agree only with the first half of the quote. Dylan's contrast between acopalyptic theme & contemplative delivery was how it should be & the harmonica is beautifully haunting. I love a lot of Hendrix's work, but not this cover. He swamped it with an archetypal, thick-eared, heavy rock refrain.

Joe Calles - Rancho Cucamonga, CA , USA
Being a certified "Jimiophile", but, also a musician, I honestly feel Jimi's version is far and away the best cover song ever, and I am confident Bob Dylan himself would agree. There certainly are more technically sound guitarists out there (Morse, Satriani, Vai for example), but for pure innovation, originality, passion and power, no one will ever come close to Jimi. Gosh, without Jimi, there would be no Morse, Satriani or Vai!

Then Affinity did an even better version in about 1970

Ethem - Salisbury
I saw Dylan a while ago and he probably paid the best compliment to Hendrix that any songwriter could by playing Watchtower in the style of Hendrix rather than his own.. Hendrix would have loved to have heard that!!

Fingers, Christchurch
The best way to listen to this song is to play it on your ipod with a decent set of earphones (i.e. not the white ones it comes with). The guitar playing is taken to a whole new level. As it slides from ear to ear, it feels like Hendrix is playing it inside your head. The best cover of all time, although Girls Aloud's version of Jump! pushes it close...

Ant - Paignton
Listen to this song says the webpage. I don't need to. It has been with me since I first heard it way back then. Hendrix is an unsurpassed genius. Good song turned into something sublime.

John C. - Sleaford, Lincs
Watchtower is the ultimate demonstration of Jimi's genius, he completely reinvented Dylan's tune. First choice for "Desert Island Discs" I was blown away at the time at the age of 15 and it still stirs me today at 52!!

Graham, Newmarket
Hendrix' version of this song rocks your soul. It was played with a passion unsurpassed

Who can fail to have palpitations as Hendrix' Strat screams to a crescendo in that amazing solo?

U2 made an amazing song even better with the remake of all along the watchtower

Altin, St. Louis, USA
Bob Dylan's lyrical brilliance combined with Hendrix's genius composition and guitar work created, what I believe, to be the greatest 4 minutes in music history. Hendrix didn't just cover the song, he reinvented it and took it to a level that Bob Dylan never imagined.

James, Telford
This song is timeless and Jimi Hendrix does make it all it originally was — and much more.

dylan himself said he never knew he had written 'all along the watchtower' for jimi, until jimi played it. i think that says it all.

Hendrix did not perfect any Dylan songs. He played them because they are great songs.

Addam, Hartlepool
Great track! Check out XTC's version aswell!

Duncan - Skipton
I'm excited by Jimi's version - mainly because of its place on the Withnail and I soundtrack! I am a huge Dylan fan, but am not over-excited by the original. More recent Dylan versions are great. Musically, it's a very simple song (whoever's playing it really) which means there's plenty of opportunity to improvise furiously with melody instruments.

Paul, Croydon
It was this song that really turned me onto Jimi Hendrix AND Bob Dylan.

Bent, Aarhus
Jimi created an ever better version of "Watchtower" than Bob's - which is an amazing in itself. I love It.

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