365 Days of Song Recommendations: Jan 21
The Jimi Hendrix Experience — All Along the Watchtower
You might ask, does this song really require recommending? After all, you’d have to have been living in a cave for decades not to have heard it. Either that, or somehow “classic rock” radio waves can’t penetrate your force field.
But that’s exactly why it must be recommended. Because you DON’T listen to it. UNLESS … it comes on the radio. And then you’re not really listening.
So I’m recommending that you give yourself a few minutes for some genuinely deep listening. Four minutes, to be precise. Get the headphones on, turn out the lights, get comfortable, and really lean into this song.
From the moment that big, fat 12-string stomps in and then gets cut by the echo-soaked vibraslap, there’s a gripping sense of drama and urgency. And then the intensity of that first guitar line—it hits like a Coltrane quest. The sound of searching.
This is, of course, one of the rare instances when a “cover” song very nearly outduels its original. For myself, I love them both—the pointed simplicity of Dylan’s version; the maniacally psychodramatic funk of the Hendrix rendition. They’re both genius. But it’s this one that rewards the deep, deep listen.
So do it. Lean in. Listen. And do it tonight. After all, it was 53 years ago today that Hendrix began recording this track.
This song, as with every song we recommend as part of the #365Songs project, is featured on our ongoing playlist: