Misc The amazing cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower"

Published on August 14th, 2023 | by AlexandreG.


Jimi Hendrix “All Along The Watchtower”: The Greatest Cover Song Of All Time

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Jimi Hendrix Obsession For Bob Dylan

To begin, Jimi Hendrix’s iconic cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” is the greatest cover ever done! Period. The deep admiration that Jimi Hendrix had for Bob Dylan eventually led him and The Experience to record a studio cover of that song. Bob Dylan’s 8th studio album “John Wesley Harding,” was released in November 1967 and just a couple of months later, on January 21, 1968, at London’s Olympic Studios, The Jimi Hendrix Experience embarked on a transformative recording session that would forever mark one of the highlights of Jimi Hendrix’s career.

Iconic picture of Jimi Hendrix sitting on a chair with Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" vinyl under him.
Iconic picture of Jimi Hendrix sitting on a chair with Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” vinyl under him.
Credit: Medium

Engineer Andy Johns revealed that Hendrix was introduced to Dylan’s recording by publicist Michael Goldstein, an emissary of Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. The studio session began with a sense of anticipation, as everyone awaited the creation of something truly remarkable: “He came in with these Dylan tapes, and we all heard them for the first time in the studio,” recollected Johns, capturing the excitement of the moment.

Step by step, the musical masterpiece began to take shape, Hendrix’s dedication to crafting a remarkable rendition was evident. The guitarist’s restless spirit prompted constant experimentation, altering chord patterns and arrangements in pursuit of musical perfection. Eddie Kramer, another of Hendrix’s engineers, recounted the guitarist’s relentless pursuit of excellence and perfectionism.

Did Noel Redding Played The Bass On All Along The Watchtower?

According to Eddie Kramer, on the first day of recording , Hendrix went through numerous takes. He directed chord changes to Dave Mason, who was present at the session and played an additional 12-string guitar. Midway, Noel Redding grew discontent and departed (It is said that he went to a pub to get drunk). Redding later expressed his dislike for the song, favoring Dylan’s rendition. Mason assumed the bass role. Kramer states that Hendrix eventually played the final bass part himself.

Hendrix’s immersion in the song extended beyond his guitar prowess. When bass Redding departed midway through the session, Hendrix bass-playing duties himself. Brian Jones, Rolling Stones multi-instrumentalist and friend of Hendrix, also contributed his musical talents to the track, playing various percussion instruments.

As the sessions progressed, he grappled with an evolving vision of the song. Engineer Tony Bongiovi recalled Hendrix’s increasing dissatisfaction, leading to numerous re-recordings and overdubs. The relentless pursuit of his creative vision prompted Hendrix to repeatedly wipe previous takes, culminating in a version that truly resonated with him.

All Along The Watchtower Release

The result of these arduous efforts materialized in the final version, released on the third – and last – studio album from The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Electric Ladyland”, in September 1968. The cover achieved considerable success, reaching number five on the British charts and number 20 on the Billboard chart—an impressive feat and Hendrix’s highest-ranking American single.

What did Bob Dylan say about Jimi Hendrix version of All Along the Watchtower?

“I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way. Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”Bob Dylan (Biograph liner notes)

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Jimi Hendrix All Along The Watchtower.


About the Author

AlexandreG. Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.

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