All Along The Watchtower – Bob Dylan (live Vancouver 11-11-1978)

Bob Dylan 1978

Bob Dylan 1978

If it were not for Bob Dylan writing so many great songs, I would probably be listening to more classical music. Today we look at All Along The Watchtower, a Dylan song which became so famous because Jimi Hendrix covered it. Many claim it to be the greatest covered song in Rock history. It would also appear Dylan modified the song live from his original version to be a bit more like the Hendrix version. Wasn’t he quoted as saying “sometimes cover’s are better”?

Dylan’s original on his underrated John Wesley Harding album was ‘real’, a parable in my young mind, not obscure. I could see myself being part of it and I could see it from a distance. Hendrix took that essence of the original on John Wesley Harding, and exploded it, disintegrated the song, and turned it into this hypnotic beast. You can read an excellent review here about Hendrix’s version from fellow blogger Badfinger on his blog Powerpop.

To my ears there exists no better version where Bob is honoring Hendrix than live in Vancouver 11-11-1978. It’s a Tour de Force ramp-up of his own song which possesses this other-worldly chaotic barrage and mesh of strange noises, coalescing to form (if you could imagine it) a ‘circus’ big-band sound. I have not heard anything like it before or since from Dylan.

The song was compiled as part of a project called Dylan’s Desert Island Revue‘ which I undertook on the Expectingrain web site.  More information about that project as well as the actual live recording can be obtained from the aforementioned link. The original studio record can be heard below:

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
6 comments on “All Along The Watchtower – Bob Dylan (live Vancouver 11-11-1978)
  1. macalder02 says:

    You have dedicated your last three appearances to your blog to review the best music that shook the world. A delight for those of us who miss those rhythms that sometimes delight us in endless parties with lots of smoke until we see the sun rise. A good time to bring back nostalgia.

  2. badfinger20 says:

    I will admit that when I first heard Dylan’s original song that I liked it better. I love the harmonica and guitar because it was stripped bare and after hearing the Hendrix version all of my life…it was nice hearing a bare-bones version…but as time went on I came back to the Hendrix version…you said it perfectly…a hypnotic beast… and the Hendrix version is my go to version… I love how Dylan changed the way he did it to match more in line with the Hendrix version.

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