Along the watchtower

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Comments (4)

Luud Riphagen on September 29, 2007

Hallo Erik, ik heb nooit geweten dat all along the watchtower van Bob Dylon was, ik ken het alleen van Jimmy Hendrix. Groeten Luud

Erik van den Ham on September 29, 2007

The song depicts a conversation between two people, a "joker" and a "thief", about the difficulties of getting by in life ("There's too much confusion"). The joker is concerned about losing his property, while the thief observes that some individuals among them aren't taking life as seriously as they should: "There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke." It has been said that Dylan was complaining about record company executives cheating him out of royalties and making themselves rich[citation needed] with the lines "Businessmen they drink my wine/Plowmen dig my earth".The joker then suggests that time is running out, which may hint of their own mortality or foreshadow a change in society. In the last verse the viewpoint of the song switches abruptly. The ruling princes stand guard in a watchtower over their women and servants as an unnamed pair approach amid ominous sounds.

Cover versions

The Jimi Hendrix Experience "All Along the Watchtower"

The Jimi Hendrix Experience recorded what is widely considered the definitive cover version of this song. Hendrix heard the track after being taken to a party by Traffic's Dave Mason. Hendrix, a longtime fan of Dylan's work, commented he would love to cover the track. Due to Noel Redding's absence over the tension created by Hendrix in the studio during the recording of Electric Ladyland, Hendrix played the bass himself with a righthand, shortscale Fender Mustang bass guitar.[6] Dave Mason initially played the 12-string acoustic part, but was unable to satisfy Hendrix's growing perfectionism and was moved to bass, then completely off the track, as Hendrix played everything except the drums. While Dylan's version had been minimalistic, Hendrix's spared nothing—his wailing electric guitar and vocal delivery were wholly different from Dylan's quiet folk performance. Hendrix rearranged the song to include several electric guitar solos, where the harmonica solos were in Dylan's version, and included it on the Electric Ladyland album (1968). The longest solo on the song (in between the second and final verses) features slide guitar, done with a cigarette lighter rather than a more traditional tubes of glass or metal. Hendrix settled on the lighter after frantically trying other objects to get the exact sound that he had in his head for that portion of the solo.[citation needed] The solo also features a wah-wah line, and an echo effect in its middle section (from the 'slide' part to the end of the wah-wah part). Overwhelmed by the reinterpretation, Dylan himself has since based his own performances of the song on Hendrix' version

Luud Riphagen on September 30, 2007

Dank je wel Erik , al weer iets wijzer, en dat 40 jaar later. Groeten Luud.

stacy metcalf on June 14, 2011

thanks for the meaning and history behind this fine song, Erik.

appreciated in Canada

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on September 23, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Erik van den Ham