All Along The Watch Tower – Jimi Hendrix

It’s the last entry in our #JimiHendrixWeek. The theme week to tower over all other theme weeks (Well… There is no Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden sooo…)

Jimi Hendrix is an artist I remember my Dad really liking from growing up. He’d play the hell out of If Six Was Nine on the Easy Rider Soundtrack and he’d play Are You Experienced? Axis, Bold As Love, Band Of Gypsies and Electric Ladyland in his van on 8 Track, Cassette tape and at home on vinyl. My first Jimi Hendrix record of my very own was a three track seven inch single with Hey Joe and All Along The Watch Tower as B-Sides and Voodoo Chile as the A-Side.

I can’t think of any other artist who could put out three such potent tracks on one tiny piece of black wax and change a young man’s world so fundamentally. I knew Hendrix already but those three songs bought second hand from an ex-jukebox selection in a high street chemist. This was alchemy. This was magic and… This was a cover version?

All Along The Watch Tower put Dylan on the back burner for me to check out later. Dad liked him (So did Mum, this was rare, a recording artist they could both agree on) and he had written this song… But I would put a boogie dollar down that he didn’t play it like Jimi. I knew what Dylan sounded like and it sounded like grown up music. I was most assuredly years away from being one of those. I wanted noise, chaos, magic and cool. I wanted Jimi and Alice Cooper and Kiss and Def Leppard. I wanted Meatloaf and I wanted Heavy Frikkin’ Metal.

Of course Watch Tower wasn’t all mine. It featured in films and TV and got covered by pub bands and kids with guitars and it got played on oldies radio and it was widely recognised as one of the greatest pieces of recorded music in modern history.

Bruce Robinson used it to speed Withnail and Marwood about in their battered Jag in his cult classic comedy Withnail and I. Forrest Gump went to war to the clanging strains of Jimi’s version. Fortunes changed in A Bronx Tale over this track and everyone from National Lampoon to Watchmen have had a montage to it.

Perhaps the biggest song ever featured on Steve For The Deaf. The anthem of rock and roll-ness to end them all brings with it the announcement that we are closing up shop on this here website.

We’re putting a line in the sand. We are at over 900 posts. This massive tune is heralding the beginning of the end. Steve For The Deaf will cease on 1000 posts. And now we’ve started covering things as monumentally universal as All Along The Watch Tower I can reveal the remaining posts will all be the missing ‘Greatest songs of all time’ …according to SteveForTheDeaf that is. So to clarify…

“There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief”

24 thoughts on “All Along The Watch Tower – Jimi Hendrix

  1. You gotta rethink that quit at 1000 thing but your top 100 is going to be good.

    We had a Hendrix tribute band for our wedding – got rid of the aged rellies very quickly with this one….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yup. can’t argue with this take. I was going to dig deeper into your archive but this stopped me. I’ve only heard it too mant times to count and i still get jacked.’Voodoo” was used well in ‘Withnail’ also. Good one on the movie uses.
    Neil Young did a killer version at a Bob rtibute but it sounded more like a Jimi tribute.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a song, and what a version! I don’t think I knew it was Dylan for years and even when I found out, it’s Jimi’s really.

    The best thing is, you can say the title and I just instantly HEAR that beginning and you know there’s no way you could turn it off ’til it’s done.

    Also, congrats on 900, very intrigued to see what comes next – as I’ve been all along – but I echo another comment to say don’t go..!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a tune… as much as I like Dylan’s, this will always be the essential take. Jimi just adds the lightning to it. Makes it sound like there is danger hanging around.

    And speaking of the song’s use in TV and film, I loved the importance of it in Battlestar Galactica. I always thought Jimi’s take would have been perfect, but you can hear the influence of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I applaud you, Stevie Boy, for doing something I have failed to do, which is to say that the time has come to pull up stakes and head your wagons further in the direction you are heading. You know that life has been too busy for me lately to post on my own site much less follow yours; still, there’s a definite ping of sadness in me that you’ll not be there when I need. We humans, eh?, always so self-absorbed, so needy, always about us. Still, a little under 3.3 months to go, and what with the promise of “the greatest songs of all time,” I’ll definitely make time to be a more faithful visitor.

    I will definitely miss this site so. I have this notion that you and I will one day meet up, maybe in London or DC or Philly, and behind it all there will that hanging, “Alas, we’ll always have SFTD,” with the forlorn nature of how we wish we could get back those parts of the past that are worth it.

    What an excellent thing you’ve done here, sir.

    And I haven’t even mentioned the rest of the post: the song, the memories, the references the very IN of it. Just touching, man; I’m pleased to be fortunate enough to be part of it all.

    You’re a good ol’ egg, Steve-o, and when I write the memoir of music in my life, SFTD will certainly be part of it. Looking forward to these last 100 posts.

    Be well, sir, and rock on!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It says something special that so many of us think of this song as wholly Jimi’s, even as we acknowledge Dylan’s genius in penning it. If you deem the coming 100 to rank with this gem, then I cannot wait to follow along.

    Liked by 1 person

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