1968 The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower
Johnny Allen Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1942 and began playing guitar while in high school. He became a member of the US military for about a year in 1961 and began a full-time career as a guitarist when he was discharged. He played in the numerous backup bands before settling in with the Isley Brothers into 1965.
Jimi’s career took off when he moved to London and signed with Chas Chandler, the former bass player of the Animals, as his manager. Chas convinced him to change his first name to Jimi and helped him recruit Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The resulting group became billed as The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The band quickly found its way onto the top ten of the UK singles chart with their first three singles in 1966 and 1967. The best any of those releases did in the US was a disappointing #65 for Purple Haze.
Bob Dylan’s eighth album came out in late 1967 or early 1968 depending on who you ask. John Wesley Harding sounded more like early Dylan work rather than the electric blues that had recently dominated his albums. The album did not even have a single release for a few months, but when it did, All Along The Watchtower heavily featured harmonica solos rather than guitar work.
The song might have escaped notice by most of the music public, but in late 1968, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released their version of the song. It was a lot more electric.
The single reached #20 on the Hot 100. Sadly, it was to be the only single by the band to reach the top forty on Billboard’s Hot 100. The record did better in the UK, where it reached #5.
The Experience broke up by the middle of 1969, and Jimi died at age 27 the next year.
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