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© William James Warren/Science Faction/Corbis
Bob Dylan’s recording of All Along The Watchtower, released on his 1967 album John Wesley Harding, was a breezy, whirling and gently beguiling number that leaned heavily on the sound of the troubadour’s pre-electric days.
A year later, Jimi Hendrix turned the song on its head, stretched it like a rubber band and shot it outside our atmosphere. His reading of Watchtower, issued on the last studio recording by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland, was the product of multiple recording sessions, during which the frustrated guitarist chased a ghost, cutting endless overdubs, scrapping them and starting all over again. (The final version features Dave Mason on acoustic guitar and Hendrix himself on bass.)
A masterpiece of sounds, moods and cross-cutting rhythms that seem to exist in their own spatial dimension, it features one of Hendrix’s greatest solos, a four-part tour-de-force of reckless spirit and mad, untethered creativity.
Said Dylan in the booklet to his Biograph album, "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."