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Lesson Transcript

This Advanced Audio Blog is entirely in English. You’ll find the transcript of this audio blog in the first comment of this post.
Top 10 American Songs—"All Along the Watchtower," Jimi Hendrix
"All Along the Watchtower" is one of the most critically acclaimed recordings made by Jimi Hendrix and his band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Originally written and recorded by Bob Dylan, Hendrix heard the song and liked it. In early 1968, the Jimi Hendrix Experience started recording the song, which turned out to be a process that would take a very long time.
Jimi Hendrix had worked out an elaborate arrangement and would frequently improvise his guitar runs on the song. This caused a great deal of difficulty for the other musicians on the record, so much so that his bassist, Noel Redding, quit halfway through the recording. Dave Mason, a session guitarist helping out on the record, then played the bass. However, the engineer has claimed that Hendrix himself plays the bass guitar on the recording.
Even though the initial recording sessions took five days, with the final session being on January 26, 1968, Hendrix wasn't satisfied with the results. He took the recording to The Record Plant studios in New York. There, he worked on the song throughout the summer, adding guitar parts and re-recording.
Tony Bongiovi, the engineer on the record at The Record Plant, said that Hendrix was becoming dissatisfied as the sessions went on. Finally, however, "All Along the Watchtower" was released on the album Electric Ladyland in September 1968.
Ever since then, Hendrix's version of the song has been more popular than Bob Dylan's. It appears frequently on the list of greatest songs and greatest guitar solos. Bob Dylan himself has praised the version, saying that Hendrix made it better than it was.
The song itself sold very well and reached the number 5 spot on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, it reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Hendrix's only Top 20 hit there.