Jimi Hendrix (Jimi Hendrix) - All Along the Watchtower (1968) - All about the song ...

Let's talk about something serious... The legend of psychedelic rock is visiting us today and his most famous cover of a Bob Dylan song

"All Along the Watchtower" (1968) - Jimi Hendrix

Can it happen that the interpretation of the song will be better than the original version? It is difficult to answer this question unequivocally, but there is a vivid example that is considered “reference” today. All Along the Watchtower composed by Bob Dylan. Jimi Hendrix, according to him, performed it much better, opened a new life in it, fresh breath. On the famous Rolling Stone list, it is the Hendrix variant. And it proves that covers can sound much better than the original versions.

Let's find out the history of this song. How it was created, how it became popular.

How it was

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan

In 1966, Bob Dylan got into an accident on his motorcycle. An ambulance was not called, so the story is silent about the severity of the injuries. There is an opinion that Dylan used the accident as an excuse to retire from everyone. A year and a half later, the musician was in Woodstock, in his house, where he was engaged in creativity.

During this period, the compositions included in the John Wesley Harding album were written. Among them was All Along the Watchtower. As the musician himself recalled, it turned out to write it quickly.

There are three songwriting techniques:

  • A melody is selected for the composed words;
  • To the melody - text;
  • Music and poetry appear simultaneously.

This masterpiece was written precisely “jointly”, according to the third option, and very quickly.

The composition was recorded in the 67th, November 5th. The John Wesley Harding compilation was released in December. The single was presented to the public only in the 68th. True, he did not get into the chat rooms.

Semantic load

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan

The song "takes" its structure. It deliberately violated the chronology of events, which is quite unusual for the lyrics of the song. This was acknowledged by the author himself.

In the text All Along the Watchtower, references to the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 21 are clearly visible.

There were plenty of versions and interpretations by critics. Some called it a conversation between the devil and God, others - a description of life in the world of capitalism.


Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix

The most famous is the work of Jimi Hendrix. In 1968, he invited the members of The Jimi Hendrix Experience to play it. Hendrix always spoke well of Dylan, so the desire to perform one of his compositions seems quite natural.

Here is what Jimi said about the work of Bob Dylan:

People who do not perceive or do not like the songs of Bob Dylan should carefully read his poetry. They are overwhelmed with joy and sadness, life problems. Dylan and I are similar in that we both can't sing well. It happens that I play his songs, and it seems to me that these are my works.

And further continues:

For example, watchtower. I could write it, but I would never finish it. When I think about Bob, I have thoughts that I myself would never write like that, I just couldn't find the right words. I have a lot of songs that I can't finish. I want him to help me do it. I write a few words, and then - a stupor.

Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix

All Along the Watchtower by The Jimi Hendrix Experience became part of Electric Ladyland, which peaked at number five on the UK Singles Chart and number twenty on the Billboard Hot 100.

Performed by Hendrix, it became part of the Rolling Stone list. In addition, she is in the top 100 solos. According to Total Guitar magazine, it is the best cover ever made in musical history.

Dylan admired the way Hendrix played:

She overwhelms me. He is very talented. He found in my song something new, unknown to me. Idea. Thought. Impulse. And he simply developed them into a new breath. I took great care to perform the composition exactly in Hendrix's version. I do this today. I like this entry. Since Jimi's death, that's how I've performed it. Every time I think it's him playing.

After that, the song was performed by many famous musicians, including the legendary U2, Santana, Young, Ferry.

A cover of this song performed by Tomy Ellis could be heard in the first episode of season 2 of the television series Lucifer.

Interesting fact

According to Bob himself, as of October 2013, All Along the Watchtower had been performed by him exactly 2,150 times. It is considered Hendrix's most successful single to hit the US charts.

All Along the Watchtower Lyrics Bob Dylan

"There must be some way out of here", - said the joker to the thief, - There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief. Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth, None of them along the line know what any of it is worth." "No reason to get excited", – the thief, he kindly spoke, "There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate,So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late".All along the watchtower, princes kept the viewWhile all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.Outside in the cold distance a wildcat did growl,

Bob Dylan Lyrics "All Along the Watchtower"

“There must be some way out of here,” the jester told the thief. – Everything is too confused, and there is no consolation. Businessmen drink my wine, and plowmen plow my land. None of them will ever know their true value. nothing more than a joke. But you and I have gone through this, and this is not our fate, So let's leave pretend conversations, it's already getting dark." , in the cold distance wild cats roared, Two horsemen approached, and the wind howled.

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