Covering (in) the 60’s

Two weeks and 30 posts later, I think it’s time to finally write a post with a song from the 60’s! We’ve had songs from all the decades  since the 40’s, but somehow we missed what was perhaps the most prolific decade (40% of Rolling Stone’s list of 500 best songs ever are from the 60’s) of modern music history. But I am writing to change that!

In 1968, after the release of two successful albums, The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Henrix’s band) released its third and last studio album, Electric Ladyland. “All Along the Watchtower”, a cover of a Bob Dylan’s song that had been released less than a year before, was one of the songs featured in the album.

Dylan’s version was released as a single, but it did not reach the charts. Unlike the original, Hendrix’s version reached number 5 in UK charts and number 20 in the US. Dylan himself understood this quite well, as he praised Jimi’s version and started performing the song in a way that resembles Hendrix’s.

Hendrix did not live to see it (he died two years after, in 1970), but “All long the Watchtower” became one of his most acclaimed songs: it stands at the 47th place of the already mentioned Rolling Stone’s list; it was considered also by Rolling Stone the greatest cover ever; and it has been covered by many artists, including U2, Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton & Lenny Kravitz and the already mentioned in this blog Neil Young (both with Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen) and Dave Matthews Band (with an acoustic version that mixes both Hendrix and Dylan’s versions, while simultaneously diverging from them).

If you had the patience to listen to all those versions, you have probably enjoyed them all, as they are all quite good. But Hendrix is Hendrix 😉