Today we’re taking a look at some of the best covers of the Bob Dylan classic All Along the Watchtower. There’s no doubt that you probably heard this song 1st from hearing the Jimi Hendrix version & many falsely believe it to be his song but it is in fact Dylan’s. Dylan recorded the song several months before Hendrix covered it.
Amongst some of the musicians/acts who have covered it to date are The Jimi Hendrix Experience, George Lynch, Eddie Vedder, Devlin ft. Ed Sheeran, U2. Before we get to those, let’s remind ourselves what the original sounds like so you can better compare.
All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan (1967)
One of Dylan’s most performed songs live, during his 60 year career (and still counting) he has performed the song well over 2000 times. Although he recorded the song in 1967, it wasn’t till several years later in 1974 that he 1st performed his own song live. The version he played was closer to the Jimi Hendrix version & he continued to do this throughout the years.
Onto the covers. Each brings their musical genre/style & and puts their own unique mark on it.
1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968)
More than 50 years on this cover from the Hendrix album Electric Ladyland stands the test of time. After its release the song became Hendrix’s highest ranking American single at the time. The cover went on to win a grammy hall of fame award in 2001. Rolling Stone ranked the song in their top 50 songs of all time list.
2. George Lynch (2004)
George Lynch is one of the guitar greats, known for his work with the metal/hard rock group Dokken and later his own group Lynch Mob in the same genre. More recently in 2013 he teamed up with King’s X Doug Pinnick & Korn drummer Ray Luzier to form KXM. This cover leans more on the Hendrix side with George paying homage to his influences by replicating several of Hendrix’s unique guitar sounds.
3. Eddie Vedder (2007)
This cover by Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and The Million Dollar Bashers follows the Dylan path. Eddie has continued to perform the song with Pearl Jam & as a solo artist ever since. The song was part of the soundtrack for the biopic inspired by Dylan’s life & music I’m Not There
. The movie includes an all-star cast including Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale & Richard Gere.
4. Devlin ft. Ed Sheeran (2012)
This cover borrows from both the Dylan & the Hendrix versions & throws in 3 new verses of lyrics bringing something fresh sounding to the table. The cover was a hit for both artists & was used in the 2013 movie 2 Guns
starring Denzel Washington & Mark Wahlberg. The album this cover is on “A Moving Picture” isn’t available on Amazon or Apple Music.
5. U2 (1987)
Recorded live but appeared as a track on their 1988 album Rattle & Hum. The cover isn’t the only thing that ties Dylan to this album. He helped co-write the song “Love Rescue Me” with Bono.
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