Bob Dylan‘s “All Along the Watchtower,” which Jimi Hendrix recorded, reached new heights as a result of his contribution. Dylan’s poetic longing evolved into one of the most important rocking moments of the 1960s. In reality, when Dylan sang the song live in the years following Hendrix’s passing, he occasionally thought of it as an homage to the musician.
The reality is that when one thinks about American music in the 1960s, Hendrix and Dylan are two of the top names that come to mind. The two legendary musicians built much of the framework that gave the 1960s the nostalgic energy it has today, even though they approached art from opposite angles.
When asked about singer Donovan in a 1967 interview, Hendrix said in the same sentence that he favored Dylan. Hendrix said, “He’s a nice little cat in his own groove, all about flowers and people wearing golden underwear, I like Donovan as a person, but nobody is going to listen to this ‘love’ bit. I like Dylan’s music better because it’s more earthy and live.”
Hendrix then said that Dylan‘s band could use someone creative like him and expressed his desire to perform in it. Jimi said, “I’d like to play some sessions behind Dylan, His group ought to be a little more creative.”
Jimi also talked about the time he met Bob in New York. “I saw him one time, but both of us were stoned out of our minds. I remember it vaguely, It was at this place called The Kettle of Fish in the Village. We were both stoned there, and we just hung around laughing. Yeah, we just laughed.”
It’s fascinating to hear Hendrix describe his contemporaries in this context—both of them high. Hendrix also acknowledged that reviewers tended to be somewhat pessimistic about Dylan, but this didn’t stop him from appreciating the music. He said, “People have always got to put him down, “I really dig him, though. I like that Highway 61 Revisited album and especially ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues!'”
Interestingly, despite his adoration for Dylan, Hendrix didn’t feel inspired by him. “He doesn’t inspire me actually because I could never write the kind of words he does, But he’s helped me out in trying to write about two or three words ’cause I got a thousand songs that will never be finished. I just lie around and write about two or three words, but now I have a little more confidence in trying to finish one, ” he said.
Hendrix also noted, “When I was down in the Village, Dylan was starving down there. I hear he used to have a pad with him all the time to put down what he sees around him. But he doesn’t have to be stoned when he writes, although he probably is a cat like that, he just doesn’t have to be.”