The Recording of Hendrix “All Along the Watch Tower”

This very cool article by Ray Padgett in his forthcoming book, includes recordings of early takes (including a wasted Brian Jones playing piano very badly), and Hendrix’ guitar stems.

Jimi spent months agonising over ever bit of the track.  He started recording just drums and acoustic guitars, with Dave Mason on 12-string.  It was all rather struggle, as you can hear on the recordings that accompany this article.  His bassist Noel Redding stormed out of that initial session to the pub, saying afterwards that he preferred Dylan’s tune to what Hendrix was planning. So Mason did the bass track – which Hendrix re-dubbed himself in one of the many subsequent iterations of the track.

The development of the amazing guitar work on the track took weeks and many sessions. The article includes a couple of guitar stem tracks, including one of the many solos that never made the finished version.

The result was Hendrix’ only really big hit – which he never really liked playing to live audiences.   It was particularly big with US troops in Vietnam.

Hendrix was a Dylan devotee. Bob’s willing acceptance that this cover was in fact the definitive version of his song, was one of the few accolades that Hendrix valued.

Hugh McManners

Oxford-based singer-songwriter and guitarist, with a love of the blues, psychedelic rock and the poetry of song. Past lives in Australia and the British Army; and a forty-year career as a writer.

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