We’re looking at some of the best covers of Bob Dylan’s iconic All Along the Watchtower today. There’s no question you first heard this song when you heard Jimi Hendrix’s version, and many people mistakenly believe it’s his song when it’s actually Dylan’s. Hendrix covered the song a few months after Dylan recorded 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 popular live songs, he has performed it over 2000 times during his 60-year career (and counting). Despite the fact that he recorded the song in 1967, it wasn’t until 1974 that he first performed it live. He performed a rendition that was more akin to Jimi Hendrix’s, and he continued to do so 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)
This cover from Jimi Hendrix’s album Electric Ladyland has stood the test of time for more than 50 years. The song became Hendrix’s highest-charting American single at the time after its release. In 2001, the cover was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The song was included in Rolling Stone’s top 50 songs of all time list.
2. George Lynch (2004)
George Lynch is regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, most known for his work with the metal/hard rock band Dokken and later with his own band, Lynch Mob, in the same genre. In 2013, he formed KXM alongside King’s X drummer Doug Pinnick and Korn drummer Ray Luzier. George pays homage to his influences by reproducing numerous of Hendrix’s unique guitar sounds on this cover, which leans more towards the Hendrix side.
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.
Know somebody who'd like this?