The only time it bothered me that someone sounded like me was when I was living in Phoenix, Arizona, in about ’72 and the big song at the time was “Heart of Gold.” I used to hate it when it came on the radio. I always liked Neil Young, but it bothered me every time I listened to “Heart of Gold.” I think it was up at number one for a long time, and I’d say, “Shit, that’s me. If it sounds like me, it should as well be me.
-Bob Dylan (to Scott Cohen, September 1985)
Neil Percival Young (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After embarking on a music career in the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and others. Young had released two solo albums and three as a member of Buffalo Springfield by the time he joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969. From his early solo albums and those with his backing band Crazy Horse, Young has recorded a steady stream of studio and live albums, sometimes warring with his recording company along the way.
PG: Recently here, Bruce Springsteen’s gone down very well. Do you like him?
Bob Dylan: Yeah, Bruce is a very, very talented guy.
PG: Did you know that Bruce has included This Land Is Your Land in his concert program?
Bob Dylan: Oh he has? That’s amazing! That’s good. Well maybe he’ll start doing Blowin’ In The Wind! Maybe he’ll do an album with Bob Dylan songs!
– Paul Gambaccini Interview (June 1981)
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is both a solo artist and the leader of the E Street Band. He received critical acclaim for his early 1970s albums and attained worldwide fame upon the release of Born to Run in 1975. During a career that has spanned five decades, Springsteen has become known for his poetic and socially conscious lyrics and lengthy, energetic stage performances, earning the nickname “The Boss”. He has recorded both rock albums and folk-oriented works, and his lyrics often address the experiences and struggles of working-class Americans.
Sometimes I do a Dylan song and it seems to fit me so right that I figure maybe I wrote it. Dylan didn’t always do it for me as a singer, not in the early days, but then I started listening to the lyrics. That sold me.
– Jimi Hendrix, Beat International 1969
I love Dylan. I only met him once, about three years ago, back at the Kettle of Fish on MacDougal Street. That was before I went to England. I think both of us were pretty drunk at the time, so he probably doesn’t remember it.
– Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stone Magazine
James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His mainstream career lasted only four years, but he is widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in history and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.
“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):