"All Along the Watchtower" is a song written and recorded Bob Dylan. It initially appeared on his album John Wesley Harding, and has been covered by other artists in different genres.
Dylan recorded the song on November 6, 1967, at Columbia Studio A in Nashville, Tennessee. Dylan played acoustic guitar and harmonica, Charlie McCoy played bass guitar and Kenneth Buttrey played drums. The producer was Bob Johnston, who produced Dylan's two previous albums, Highway 61 Revisited in 1965 and Blonde on Blonde in 1966.
The session was the second of three in the recording of Dylan's ablum John Wesley Harding. "All Along the Watchtower" was done in five takes, the third and fifth of which were spliced to create the album track. As with most of the album's selections, the song is a dark, sparse work that stands in stark contrast with Dylan's previous recordings of the mid-1960s
Dylan's version is simple and timeless. Listen:
Then Jimi Hendrix performed his masterful version in 1968. Dylan said that Hendrix's version was "definitive."
A few lesser bands covered Watchtower, then Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young had at it. As much as I can't stand Neil Young, the dude can play.
The Grateful Dead made Watchtower a staple of the Dead's performances.
And so did many other bands. U2, for example.
Which cover is best? Vote at the poll in the upper right corner.