“It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn’t think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day.”
– Bob Dylan (1995)
“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 (booklet Biograph)
The Jimi Hendrix Experience began to record their cover version of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” on January 21, 1968, at Olympic Studios in London. According to engineer Andy Johns, Jimi Hendrix had been given a tape of Dylan’s recording by publicist Michael Goldstein, who worked for Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman.
“(Hendrix) came in with these Dylan tapes and we all heard them for the first time in the studio”
– Andy Johns
For me it is the only cover version of a Bob Dylan song that is arguably as good or better than Dylan’s own version.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower (audio):
Folk rock singer Tim Rose’s slower version of the song (recorded in 1966 and claimed to be Rose’s arrangement of a wholly traditional song) inspired the first single by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The ex-bassist for The Animals, Chas Chandler, who was now focusing on managing other acts, had also seen Rose performing the song at the Cafe Wha? in New York City and was looking for an artist to record a rock version of “Hey Joe”. Chandler discovered Jimi Hendrix, who had also been playing at the Cafe Wha? in 1966 and performing an arrangement of “Hey Joe” inspired by Rose’s rendition. Chandler decided to take Hendrix with him to England in September 1966, where he would subsequently turn the guitarist into a star. Tim Rose re-recorded “Hey Joe” in the 1990s, re-titling it “Blue Steel .44” and again claimed the song as his own arrangement of a traditional song.
Axis: Bold as Love is the second studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was recorded to fulfill the Experience’s contract, which stated that they must produce two records in 1967.
Axis: Bold as Love was first released in the United Kingdom by Track Records in December 1967, as the follow-up to the band’s successful debut Are You Experienced, which had been released months earlier in May. It was not sold in the United States until 1968 because of the record company’s fears that it might disturb the sales of the first album. Axis: Bold as Love charted at number five in the UK and number three in the US.
“undoubtedly a rock album, albeit rock on the point of evolving into something else.” – David Stubbs
“one of the greatest double-albums in rock.” – John Perry
Electric Ladyland is the third and final album of new material by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, released in October 1968 on Reprise Records. It is the only Hendrix studio album professionally produced under his supervision. It topped the Billboard 200 album chart for two weeks in November 1968.
October 25, 1968 (some sources says October 16…worth celebrating anyhow)
Olympic Studios, London and Record Plant Studios, New York, July and December 1967, January 1968, April–August 1968
Psychedelic rock, blues rock, acid rock, hard rock
Reprise, Track, Barclay, Polydor
All along the watchtower, the best Dylan cover of all time!:
This is a perfect Hendrix album. It is poppy and funky and original at the same time, and what a great soul singer Hendrix was! I also think it is very inventive, sonically speaking. Jimi Hendrix really searched for “new sounds” on this record, he produced an album that has stood the test of time marvelously.