All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan – 1974 (1968)

February 28, 2013

First released in 1968, re-released in 1974 (live version), All Along the Watchtower is one of Bob Dylan’s best known songs and yet, it never charted… not for him anyway.

Bob dylan 2i knew it would come to this

I knew that one day, on seventiesmusic, I’d have to include a Dylan song–no hardship, of course; the question was, however, which song would it be? Then, the other day I downloaded the fabulous 1974 album, Before the Flood. I made a rash decision; the very next one of Bob’s songs that I heard on the radio (and that was released in the 70s) would be this week’s seventies hit.

Suddenly, Bob disappeared from the airwaves, until this afternoon with the familiar strains of All Along the Watchtower…

Bob dylan 3robert zimmerman what can i say?

What can anyone say about Bob? Most seventies music fans grew up with his songs in the background somewhere. We heard his folk songs; we heard him go electric; one of us even called him Judas! We watched him go through his Christian phase; then a phase where his music seemed to lack a bit of the old Zimmerman passion; then, in recent times, we’ve seen him come back with some fine songs—but I can help thinking, his best were produced back in the 60s and, to a lesser extent, the 70s.

all along the watchtower fax

  • All Along the Watchtower originally appeared on Bob’s 1967 album John Wesley Harding. It was written during Bob’s recovery period following his July 1966 motorcycle crash.
  • Bob dylan 1All Along the Watchtower was released as a single but never charted. Despite that it has been included on most of Bob’s greatest hits compilations and has been performed in concert more than any of his other songs. It has also appeared on four of Bob’s live albums, including the wonderful, Before the Flood (1974) recorded with The Band.
  • Cover versions of All Along the Watchtower have been numerous, but none is as well-known as Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland recording. It made the Top 20 in 1968 and was ranked at 47 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • Other cover performances include: Dave Matthews Band, Dave Mason (who also played on Jimi Hendrix’s version), U2, Neil Young, Grateful Dead, Bryan Ferry, Pearl Jam, Chris de Burgh, Richie Havens, Jeff Healey, Van Morrison, Supertramp, Paul Weller, Bobby Womack, Bruce Springsteen, and XTC.
  • According to Bob, by midway through last year (2012), he had performed All Along the Watchtower, 2,034 times.
  • All Along the Watchtower lyrics.

all along the watchtower – bob dylan – 1968 – original version – video

all along the watchtower – bob dylan – ?? – live video

all along the watchtower – jimi Hendrix – video

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Doctor My Eyes – Jackson Browne – 1972

February 21, 2013

Jackson Browne Doctor My Eyes CoverHe’s sold over 17 million albums in the US alone. He’s written hit songs for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tom Rush, Nico, Gregg Allman, Joan Baez, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, The Byrds. He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And yet, he’s only ever had two songs of his own in the US top ten: Somebody’s Baby peaked at #7 in 1982, and Doctor My Eyes peaked at #8 in 1972.

he’s clyde browne

Clyde Jackson Browne, one of the great American singer/songwriters, was born in Germany where his serviceman father was stationed.

By the time he was 18 the family had relocated back to the US, Jackson had been schooled in California, and he’d moved onto New York, attracted by the Greenwich Village music scene. There he joined The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band who later recorded a number of his songs.

In 1967-68 he worked as a backing singer, notably for German singer Nico of the Velvet Underground. They were an item back in those days and Jackson wrote quite a few of the songs (and played guitar) on her Chelsea Girl album.

going solo in the 70s

By 1971, Jackson had signed as a solo artist and released a string of albums full of songs that were powerful both musically and lyrically.

First came Jackson Browne (1972), which included Doctor My Eyes, Rock Me On the Water, and Jamaica Say You Will.” To promote the album he toured with Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell.

For Everyman (1973) began to sound more like the Jackson many of his fans recognise. While magical and beautiful, his music is often laidback to the point of sullenness. For Everyman included the songs Take It Easy which Jackson co-wrote with Glenn Frey and which became a hit for The Eagles.

Late for the Sky (1974) continued his maudlin style; sentimental and thoughtful—some would say depressing, maybe, but I think Jackson is one of the best songwriters of my time.

That style grew even more pronounced in The Pretender (1976). Released after the suicide of his first wife, Phyllis Major, it includes the wonderful, Here Come Those Tears Again. That song was co-written by Nancy Farnsworth, Phyllis’ mother.

Running on Empty (1977) recorded on the road and included live tracks and tracks recorded on the tour bus and in hotels along the way.

if we were looking at the 80s

If we were looking at the 80s I’d tell you about Jackson’s next album, Hold Out—his most successful album and only #1, but, we’re not, so I won’t mention it!

doctor my eyes fax

  • Doctor My Eyes was written and performed by Jackson Browne and comes from his self-titled debut album.
  • Doctor My Eyes peaked on the US singles chart at #8.
  • Backing vocals on Doctor My Eyes are performed by David Crosby and Graham Nash.
  • Doctor My Eyes sounds quite upbeat for a Jackson song—it wasn’t always that way. It began life as quite a sorrowful song. It’s about a man who has endured the hardships of life, but having done so, fears that he’s now unable to feel anything. Other musicians working on the song convinced Jackson to rework it and add a bit of an upbeat tempo. He also altered some of the more pessimistic lines.
  • Cover versions have been released by: The Jackson 5, Mary Travers, Ben Folds, Wilson Phillips, and Sheryl Crow.
  • Doctor My Eyes lyrics.

doctor my eyes – jackson browne – 1972 – video

doctor my eyes – jackson browne – 1972 – video – performed in 2010

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London’s Calling – The Clash – 1979

February 14, 2013

London's Calling-the clash-1979One of the original punk songs from one of the first UK punk bands, London’s Calling, released in 1979 was The Clash’s biggest 70s hit.

punk, reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, rockabilly and politics

The Clash 1Punk, reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, rockabilly and politics, The Clash combined them all to produce some of the best music of the seventies.

Formed in 1976 with the major players being Joe Strummer (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick Jones (lead guitar, vocals), and Paul Simonon (bass guitar, vocals), the band achieved greater commercial success than most their punk rock counterparts.

It began with their album, The Clash, in 1977. By the time their third album, London Calling, was released in December 1979, they’d amassed quite a following. That album was released in Januray 1980 in the US and was rated so highly that ten years later Rolling Stone magazine declared it the best album of the 80s.

The band broke up in 1986.


In January 2003, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, a year later, Rolling Stone magazine rated them at #28 in their 100 greatest artists of all time list.


Joe Strummer was a committed leftist and that was reflected in the band’s lyrics. They are also credited with pioneering the advocacy of radical politics in punk rock. So much so that New Musical Express magazine called the band, “The Thinking Man’s Yobs.”

an inspiration

Many bands list The Clash as one of their greatest influences.  These artists include: Billy Bragg, Rancid, Green Day, Manic Street Preachers, The White Stripes and The Strokes.

Bono said of The Clash,

They are the greatest rock band. They wrote the rule book for U2.

Jakob Dylan calls London’s Calling,

…the record that changed my life.

The Clash 2london’s calling fax

  • London’s Calling was written by Clash members Joe Strummer and Mick Jones. It was released on December 7 1979—it was the title track of the band’s third album.
  • The title, London’s Calling refers to the station identification for the BBC World Service. “This is London calling …”, was used during World War II, often in broadcasts to occupied countries.
  • London’s Calling peaked at #28 on the UK charts – it did not chart in the US. The band’s highest charting hit was Should I Stay or Should I Go which hit #1 in the UK in 1982.
  • The lyrics to London’s Calling refer to Joe’s concern about world events at the time. In particular it mentions “a nuclear error” which is a reference to the incident at Three Mile Island, which occurred earlier in 1979. There are also references to police brutality.

We ain’t got no swing / Except for the ring of that truncheon thing

  • London Calling was ranked #42 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the ’80s and is one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
  • At the 2003 Grammy Awards, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl, Steven Van Zandt, Pete Thomas, and Tony Kanal performed London’s Calling as a tribute after the death of Joe Strummer. Bruce had earlier offered to join the band at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2002. The band refused to play at the ceremony, however, claiming they did not want to play at a function where seats were upwards of $1,000. They said they’d rather play for their fans.
  • London’s Calling was performed live twice by Bob Dylan during his November 2005 residency at London’s Brixton Academy—he merged the song into Like a Rolling Stone. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened with London’s Calling at the Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park, London on 28 June 2009.
  • London’s Calling lyrics.

london’s calling – the clash – 1979 – video

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All The Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople – 1972

February 7, 2013

Mott the Hoople - all the young dudes - 1972As recently as 2010 Mott the Hoople’s 1972 hit, All The Young Dudes was ranked at #256 on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Rock and Roll Hits. It’s also one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

two become one

British glam-rock band Mott the Hoople were an amalgam of two bands–The Soulents and The Buddies.

Initially named Silence, the band were noticed by Island record producer, Guy Stevens. While in prison (for a drug offence) Guy had read the Willard Manus novel Mott the Hoople about an eccentric who works in a circus freak show. He loved the name and was determined to use it as a band name. Silence weren’t convinced at all but agreed reluctantly because, as all fledgling bands know, the man with the money calls the shots!

about guy stevens

Guy deserves a special mention here. Not only did he give Mott the Hoople their disctinctive name, he also came up with the name, Procol Harum. During his time in the record industry he produced such acts as; Procol Harum, Mott the Hoople, Free, Spooky Tooth, and The Clash.

Guy died in 1981 from an overdose of prescription medicine he was taking for his alcoholism.

back to mott the hoople

The band’s eponymous 1969 debut album was recorded in a week, and became something of a cult success. The success was short lived; their second album, Mad Shadows, was released a year later and slated by the critics—as was their third album, Wildlife (1971).

The band decided to split…

…but then along came david…

David Bowie, for some reason, was a fan of the band. Hearing they were about to disband he offered them his song, Suffragette City—the band turned it down. So, Dave wrote them the song, All the Young Dudes. The rest is, as they say, history…

Mott+the+Hoople 3all the young dudes fax

  • All the Young Dudes was written by David Bowie and originally recorded by Mott the Hoople in July 1972—it has become something of an anthem of the glam-rock era.
  • All the Young Dudes peaked at #3 on the UK single chart and #37 on the US charts.
  • When first released the lyrics had to be altered for play in the UK. There is a line in verse two that goes: “Wendy’s stealing clothes from Marks and Sparks.” This was clearly a reference to UK store Marks & Spencer who were known by that colloquialism. This breached 70s broadcasting regulations relating to advertising. The line was replaced with: “Wendy’s stealing clothes from unlocked cars”.
  • In November 1972, Bowie introduced the band on stage at their concert in Philadelphia and performed the song with the band. By 1973 David was perfroming the song in his shows.
  • In 2010, Rolling Stone put All the Young Dudes at #256 in its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It’s also one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
  • All the Young Dudes covers include versions by: Ringo Starr, Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Billy Bragg, Mick Ronson, Travis, The Church, Rolf Harris, Massive Attack, The Smashing Pumpkins (live, with David Bowie), Cyndi Lauper, The Skids, Judas Priest, and Jimmy Barnes.
  • The Clash were fans of Mott the Hoople. They paid homage to All the Young Dudes with their song All the Young Punks (New Boots and Contracts).
  • All the Young Dudes lyrics.

all the young dudes – mott the hoople – 1972 – video

all the young dudes – david bowie – video

all the young dudes – queen, david bowie, ian hunter, mick ronson @ the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, 1992 – video

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