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.
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…
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.
- All 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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