All Along The Watchtower - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Rola: All Along The Watchtower
Traducción: A lo largo de la torre de vigilancia
Intérprete: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Compositor: Bob Dylan
Disco: Electric Ladyland
Productor: Jimi Hendrix


The Jimi Hendrix Experience began to record their cover version of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" on January 21, 1968, at Olympic Studios in London. According to engineer Andy Johns, Jimi Hendrix had been given a tape of Dylan’s recording by publicist Michael Goldstein, who worked for Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. "(Hendrix) came in with these Dylan tapes and we all heard them for the first time in the studio”, recalled Johns.[20] According to Hendrix’s regular engineer Eddie Kramer, the guitarist cut a large number of takes on the first day, shouting chord changes at Dave Mason who had appeared at the session and played guitar. Halfway through the session, bass player Noel Redding became dissatisfied with the proceedings and left. Mason then took over on bass. According to Kramer, the final bass part was played by Hendrix himself.[20] Kramer and Chas Chandler mixed the first version of "All Along The Watchtower" on January 26, but Hendrix was quickly dissatisfied with the result and went on re-recording and overdubbing guitar parts during June, July, and August at the Record Plant studio in New York. Engineer Tony Bongiovi has described Hendrix becoming increasingly dissatisfied as the song progressed, overdubbing more and more guitar parts, moving the master tape from a four-track to a twelve-track to a sixteen-track machine. Bongiovi recalled, "Recording these new ideas meant he would have to erase something. In the weeks prior to the mixing, we had already recorded a number of overdubs, wiping track after track. [Hendrix] kept saying, ‘I think I hear it a little bit differently.’” The finished version was released on the album Electric Ladyland in September 1968. The single reached number five in the British charts, and number 20 on the Billboard chart, Hendrix's only top 20 / top 40 entry there.[23] The song also had the #5 spot on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

Dylan has described his reaction to hearing Hendrix's version: "It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn't think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day."[25] In the booklet accompanying his Biograph album, Dylan said: "I liked Jimi Hendrix's record of this and ever since he died I've been doing it that way… Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it's a tribute to him in some kind of way."

This version of the song appears at number 48 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,[26] and in 2000, British magazine Total Guitar named it top of the list of the greatest cover versions of all time.


Duración: 04:01
Año: 1968
Formato: 7"
A la venta: 21/09/1968
Lado B: Long Hot Summer Night
Disquera: Track


Jimi Hendrix - guitarra, voz y bajo
Noel Redding - bajo y coros
Mitch Mitchell - batería
Dave Mason - guitarra de 12 cuerdas y bajo


Lugar en 'Listas de popularidad'



"There must be some way out of here,"
said the joker to the thief
"There’s too much confusion,
I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine,
plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know
what any of it is worth"

"No reason to get excited,
" the thief, he kindly spoke
"There are many here among us
who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been through that,
and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now,
the hour is getting late"

All along the watchtower,
princes kept the view
While all the women came and went,
barefoot servants, too

Outside in the distance
a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching,
the wind began to howl

"Debe haber alguna forma para salir de aquí"
dijo el bromista al ladrón
"Hay demasiada confusión
no puedo tranquiilizarme
los comerciantes se beben mi vino
los campesinos aran mi tierra
y ni uno de ellos se da cuenta
de lo que esto vale.

"No hay porqué excitarse"
dijo amablemente el ladrón,
"Hay muchos entre nosotros
que piensan que la vida no es más que una broma.
Pero tú y yo ya hemos pasado por esto,
y no es este nuestro destino.
De modo que no empecemos a decir falsedades
que se está haciendo tarde"

A lo largo de la torre de vigilancia
mantenía la vista la princesa
mientras las mujeres iban y venían
al igual que los descalzos sirvientes.
Fuera, en la distancia,

gruñó un gato salvaje
dos jinetes se aproximaban,
el viento comenzó a aullar


Let’s start by looking at the lyrics. This song came off of Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding album, which marked a radical departure from his previous recordings. His older compositions often had many more than the standard three verses of popular songs — “Positively Fourth Street” boasted twelve. His lyrics had often been pointed and sharply critical. His use of language was unusual, and called attention to itself by juxtaposing words and images not usually associated with each other.

In contrast, “All Along The Watchtower” is spare and restrained. The song consists of only three verses, with no chorus. The language is simple. Yet the three verses are packed with meaning and drama. Let’s see how it starts.

“There must be some kind of way out of here,”
Said the joker to the thief.

Notice how Dylan starts the song by throwing us into the middle of a conversation, and begins with an urgent statement. We don’t know where the “here” is from which the speaker wants to escape, but we know he wants out. The sense of drama is immediate. We find out that the two people speaking are “the joker” and “the thief.” These are archetypal characters that have existed in one form or another for thousands of years. By identifying them in this way, Dylan invokes a sense of timelessness. Because these figures are broad archetypes, there is already a suggestion that this might be a parable of some sort, a story whose essence remains the same over many different times, places and characters. The joker, or jester, can be seen in general to represent the artist: someone whose role is to amuse other members of the established order, but also to provoke them, to suggest alternate ways of looking at reality. And, of course, the joker and the thief are both outsiders of a sort, united in their separation from more ordered segments of society.

“There’s too much confusion,
I can’t get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine,
Plowmen dig my earth.
None of them along the line
Know what any of it is worth.”

The rest of the verse tells us why the joker wants to escape: there is too much confusion. But what is confused? Others are benefiting from his labors, and working for him to help produce the results. But neither understands the worth of their efforts. So the confusion is about values: what is valuable and what is not.

“No reason to get excited,”
The thief he kindly spoke.
“There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we’ve been through that,
And this is not our fate.
So let us not talk falsely now,
The hour is getting late.”

The second verse begins with the thief speaking “kindly” to the joker. This adverb lets us know that he is sympathetic and that he, perhaps, understands the worth of the joker and his efforts. The thief goes on to say that while there are those who think that life is “but a joke,” the thief and the joker know better, having lived through that. So while others may still be confused, these two are not. Since they understand the value of life, it is important for them to be truthful with one another. Then the last line of the verse brings us back from exposition to a sense of drama and movement, and impending action: “the hour is getting late.”

All along the watchtower,
Princes kept the view,
While all the women came and went —
Barefoot servants too.
Outside in the cold distance,
A wildcat did growl.
Two riders were approaching, and
The wind began to howl.

The beginning of this final verse suddenly shifts the scene, without at first giving us any sense of how this new setting connects to the first one. In contrast to the first two verses, which were full of conversation, this verse unfolds almost cinematically, full of visual imagery. This new scene is populated with princes, women, and barefoot servants, establishing a time and place in the past, although again using enduring, archetypal figures. These figures guarding their castle seem to represent established society, and the existing power structure. But what are they guarding against?

A wildcat growls from a distance, suggesting the savage, untamed power of nature lurking just beyond the well-ordered lights of the castle. Then we see the two riders approaching. Suddenly, in only four words, the first two verses are connected with the last. With a sort of cinematic establishing shot, but used at the end of the story rather than the beginning, we see the thief and the joker approaching the castle. We already know that they want to establish a different set of values, one based on the worth of human life. Their approach towards the guarded castle suggests an impending confrontation. And then the last line of the song strengthens this suggestion with imagery of a furious storm starting to build.

Note how this last verse has made physical the relationships suggested in the previous lines. The thief, joker and wildcat are all placed outside the castle, which is occupied by princes and servants. So we now have, in a very concrete sense, independent outsiders and a rigid power hierarchy.

Dylan’s accomplishment here is nothing less than amazing. In the space of a few verses, in a song so spare it could almost be missed as a throw-away, Dylan manages to accomplish all of the following.

* Summarizes his own life to date. Given his earlier efforts to make pointed fun of almost everything around him, and his near-fatal motorcycle crash that marked a turning point in his career, it is hard not to see the joker as Dylan himself. He has now learned that life is not a joke, and distinguishes between artists and outsiders who understand the seriousness of life, versus the businessmen and fans who treat his art as simply a marketable commodity.
* Identifies the primary issue of our time as one of values. Modern thinkers such as Ken Wilber, with his image of our contemporary “flatland,” in which everything is seen as neutral, and devoid of value, are brought to mind. In earlier songs Dylan talked tirelessly of modern figures misunderstanding the significance of issues such as war, freedom and poverty. Here Dylan stands back from these specific issues and reduces the confrontation to its essential element: human values against the established order.
* Propels his theme with a powerful dramatic structure. From a traditional dramatic viewpoint, almost nothing happens in this song: two riders talk to each other while approaching a castle. We’ve hardly got a decent first act, let alone a whole play. Yet by repeatedly hinting at the intensity of a coming confrontation, and by identifying the two opposing forces, Dylan keeps us on the edges of our seats, wondering what will happen next. The effect at the end is comparable to the conclusion of William Butler Yeats’ famous poem, “The Second Coming”: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” In both cases, there is a perceptible chill creeping up the spine, as the poet leaves his reader to contemplate the inevitability and intensity of the coming confrontation, and its consequences.

Well, so much for the lyrics. Dylan’s original reading of the song is as spare and compact as his words, with the music adding little. Hendrix’ treatment is a whole different matter, though. The first element to note is how the music here parallels the dramatic structure of the song. Listen to the opening drums and guitars, as one example. (Audio clip - 44K.) The beat starts, intensifies, and then stops. As in the lyrics, the power is hinted at, but not unleashed. The music, like the words, points towards some future action, presents the tension, but does not resolve it. This device is repeated throughout the song, with Hendrix mostly holding back, repeatedly returning the song to its basically quiet pace.

The second element I want to note is Hendrix’ use of guitar to represent the confusion that the joker is experiencing. This is a perfect role for Jimi, of course, since his guitar parts often defy our normal expectations for the instrument. He uses bent notes, a wah-wah pedal, and other devices to represent a disorienting, almost inhuman sonic landscape. Here is one example.

The third musical element I want to comment on, and the one that really frames and defines the whole song, is Jimi’s repeated, gradually progressing ascents up the scale with blistering notes. Here is what I mean, the first time it appears, at the beginning of the first guitar break, between the first and second verses. (Audio clip - 16K.) Here is what it sounds like at the end of the second, and longer, guitar break, between the second and third verses. (Audio clip - 40K.) And here, finally, is the way it sounds at the end of the song. (Audio clip - 220K.) Notice how Jimi seems to be gradually reaching for a note that he only finally hits at the end of the song. And then when he gets there, he repeats it, over and over, making a high keening sound, representing not only the howling wind referred to in the last line, but that coming conflict that the song so clearly prepares us for. And the music ends on this note, as do the lyrics, without resolution, but clearly pointing forwards to some anticipated future act of liberation.

This is simply a brilliant collaboration between songwriter and musician, the accompaniment extending and reinforcing the meaning and drama of the lyrics, and showcasing the unique possibilities of the electric guitar along with nothing more than a bass, drum kit and acoustic guitar.



1. "...And the Gods Made Love"
2. "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)"
3. "Crosstown Traffic"
4. "Voodoo Chile"

1. "Little Miss Strange"
2. "Long Hot Summer Night"
3. "Come On (Part 1)"
4. "Gypsy Eyes"
5. "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"


LADO C 1. "Rainy Day, Dream Away"
2. "1983… (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)"
3. "Moon, Turn The Tides…Gently Gently Away"

LADO D 1. "Still Raining, Still Dreaming"
2. "House Burning Down"
3. "All Along The Watchtower"
4. "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"

Electric Ladyland es el tercer álbum de The Jimi Hendrix Experience (la banda de Jimi Hendrix), el cual fue lanzado en 1968, siendo el último de la banda.

Es un álbum doble que suele ser considerado uno de sus mejores álbumes. Se destacan elementos que anticipan el rock progresivo en canciones como "1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)", y la versión de la canción de Bob Dylan "All Along The Watchtower" (que suele ser considerada por muchos como la mejor versión de la misma, incluso por Dylan).

La grabación del álbum fue muy problemática. Luego de una complicada gira por Escandinavia e Inglaterra, Hendrix decidió regresar a su país natal, Estados Unidos (se había mudado a Inglaterra antes de ser popular). Frustrado por las limitaciones de las grabaciones comerciales, decidió crear un moderno estudio en Nueva York, en el que no tuviera limitaciones para expander su visión musical. La construcción del mismo, llamado Electric Lady, tuvo diversos problemas y no fue terminado hasta mediados de 1970. Como resultado, grabó gran parte de "Electric Ladyland" en The Record Plant.

Los disciplinados hábitos de trabajo de Hendrix se volvieron erráticos, y la combinación de sesiones interminables y de estudios llenos de aduladores finalmente causaron que el productor Chas Chandler renunciara en mayo de 1968. Chandler más tarde se quejó de que Hendrix insistía en grabar muchas tomas de cada canción (al parecer, "Gypsy Eyes" tomo 43 grabaciones, y a pesar de eso Hendrix aún no estaba satisfecho con el resultado). El perfeccionismo de Hendrix llevó a Dave Mason a grabar 20 tomas de la guitarra acústica de "All Along The Watchtower".

A pesar de las dificultades, muchas canciones de este álbum muestran la expansión de la visión de Hendrix (se dice que el sonido de este álbum inspiró parcialmente al de "Bitches Brew" de Miles Davis), y en el colaboró con músicos como Mason, Chris Wood y Steve Winwood de Traffic; el batería Buddy Miles, el bajista de Jefferson Airplane Jack Casady y el exorganista de Dylan Al Kooper.

La cooperación entre Hendrix y el bajista Noel Redding no estaba funcionando muy bien por lo que Hendrix toca el bajo en varias canciones. Durante la grabación de "All Along the Watchtower" Redding fue a un bar cercano por una cerveza y Hendrix grabó las pistas del bajo para acelerar el proceso. Redding toca la guitarra acústica en su composición titulada "Little Miss Strange".

En las últimas etapas de producción, un técnico de estudio renombró el álbum erróneamente como "Electric Landlady." El álbum casi salió lanzado bajo ese nombre, pero Hendrix se dio cuenta a tiempo y se enojó. El título fue cambiado rápidamente.

Electric Ladyland fue lanzado en Estados Unidos en septiembre de 1968 y fue el único álbum de Hendrix en llegar al primer puesto en ventas. La edición británica llegó al quinto puesto tras su lanzamiento en octubre, y originalmente contó con una portada diferente y controvertida: como el arte original no llegó a tiempo, fue usada una tapa con mujeres desnudas frente a un fondo oscuro, lo que causó una reacción importante. La portada original se volvió desde entonces la oficial en todo el mundo. La familia de Hendrix, que es dueña de los derechos del álbum y de la mayor parte de su catálogo, afirmó que la tapa original británica no sería usada ya que no le gustaba al mismo Hendrix. Hay una edición rara de CD de los años 1980 que tiene esa tapa.

En 1998 los lectores de la revista Q ubicaron a "Electric Ladyland" en el puesto 22 de los mejores álbumes de todos los tiempos; en 2003 el canal de televisión VH1 lo ubicó en el puesto 72.


The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Seattle

James Marshall «Jimi» Hendrix (nacido como Johnny Allen Hendrix; Seattle, Estados Unidos, 27 de noviembre de 1942 – Londres, Inglaterra, Reino Unido, 18 de septiembre de 1970) fue un guitarrista, cantante y compositor estadounidense. Es considerado y citado frecuentemente por varios artistas, por diversas revistas especializadas en música, por varios críticos y la prensa en general y por la admiración y el cariño de la gente como el más grande guitarrista de la historia del rock and roll, además de ser uno de los mayores innovadores y más influyentes artistas en una gran cantidad de géneros.

Hendrix fue introducido en el Rock and Roll Hall of Fame en 1992.

En el año 2003, la revista Rolling Stone lo eligió como el mejor guitarrista de todos los tiempos y en 2004 lo incluyó en su lista de los mejores artistas de toda la historia (n.º 6). En 2009, la revista estadounidense Time lo situó como el mejor guitarrista de guitarra eléctrica de la historia, por delante de B. B. King, Slash, Chuck Berry, Keith Richards y Eric Clapton, entre otros.

Igualmente, en 2003 la revista especializada británica Total Guitar, con el voto de más de 4000 lectores, eligió a Jimi Hendrix como el mejor guitarrista de la historia del rock. Además posee el mejor riff en la historia de la música por su canción «Voodoo Child» según una encuesta realizada en 2009 por la página especializada británica Music Radar, superando a otras bandas de renombre como Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Led Zeppelin y Deep Purple, entre otras.


Bob Dylan (original); Dave Mason; U2; Neil Young; Grateful Dead; Brian Ferry; The Allman Brothers Band ; Brewer and Shipley; Jackson Browne; Eric Clapton; Richie Havens; Taj Mahal; Pearl Jam

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