How Jimi Hendrix’s ‘All Alongside the Watchtower’ Surpassed ‘Hey Jude’ as 1968’s Largest Strike

What is the signature Jimi Hendrix track? if you’ve pondered that issue (for no matter what purpose) for any size of time, you know it is a challenging 1. In Hendrix’s life time, followers at his demonstrates would simply call out for originals these as “Foxey Lady” or “Purple Haze.”

As soon as Hendrix had released his 3rd and final album with the Expertise, you could argue “Voodoo Youngster (Slight Return)” or “Crosstown Traffic” also have been in the working for signature Jimi compositions. But Hendrix’s include of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” had develop into his greatest strike.

In Oct ’68, the observe attained No. 20 on the Billboard Incredibly hot 100 chart. That represented Hendrix’s maximum-charting solitary, and it wasn’t significantly near. “Crosstown Targeted visitors,” his 2nd-best constitution, only created it to No. 52.

The Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” which topped the charts for two months straight in late ’68, reigned as the year’s greatest strike when Billboard crunched the quantities. But a long time afterwards, Billboard named Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” as the most important strike to occur out of ’68.

Billboard named Jimi Hendrix’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’ the top rated hit of ’68 based mostly on afterwards electronic product sales and licensing

Joan Baez and Jimi Hendrix chat at a Biafran Relief Advantage demonstrate at Steve Paul’s Scene. | Bettmann

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In its 2014 “Revisionist History” sequence, Billboard rejiggered its major hits from the several years prior to 2004. The concept was deliver in the digital income information that grew to become applicable soon after ’04, together with a song’s airplay on Television set, movie, and online packages.

That authorized Billboard to get a photo of a hit song’s legacy in the 21st century. Of study course, it didn’t convey to an whole tale of a song’s reputation, as numerous artists (The Beatles included) did not make their catalogues readily available until later. out?v=TLV4_xaYynY

But Hendrix’s display-halting just take on “All Together the Watchtower” surpassed every hit from ’68 — “Hey Jude” integrated — working with that system. Billboard cited the hold off (until 2010) of the Fab Four’s catalogue likely on line as well as “All Together the Watchtower’s” licensing discounts as distinction-makers.

But a person marketplace determine pointed out an additional element to Billboard: the accessibility of “All Alongside the Watchtower” in relation to other Hendrix classics. And as opposed to the extended singalong at the conclude of “Hey Jude,” the argument goes that Hendrix’s signature music only aged much better.

Bob Dylan after thanked Hendrix for turning ‘All Together the Watchtower’ into a common

Jimi Hendrix on stage in 1968
Guitarist Jimi Hendrix performs onstage in 1968. | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Pictures

If you aren’t acquainted with Dylan’s “All Alongside the Watchtower,” the monitor appeared on his ’67 release John Wesley Harding. It featured a humble arrangement of guitar, bass, and drums with Dylan singing and playing harmonica as the lead instrument.

In temporary, it doesn’t have the sledgehammer impact that Hendrix’s rendition options. Quite a few new music supporters consider Hendrix’s version the best cover of all time for that purpose. Dylan certainly considered Hendrix made a whole lot out of the monitor.

“[Hendrix] took some smaller music of mine that no person paid any notice to and introduced them up into the outer restrictions of the stratosphere, turned them all into classics,” Dylan explained in a 2015 speech (through Rolling Stone). “I have to thank Jimi. I want he was listed here.”

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