This song nominee might win just based on the number of readers who submitted it so far – 84:
I’m writing in to nominate my favorite cover of an already well-known song. I’m sure I’m not the only person to submit this one, but it’s got to be the Jimi Hendrix cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower“:
Dylan’s poetry is at its best in the song’s lyrics, and it works musically, but you can’t ever go back and listen to the original once you’ve heard Hendrix’s. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a series of guitar solo so perfectly illustrate the drama and stormy environment of a song’s narrative. There are plenty of songs with instrumental sections that manage to paint an even more vivid picture than its lyrics, but this one just blows them all out of the water.
This is a really fun idea for a contest, by the way! Keep up the awesome work!
Another writes, “Hendrix’s version so great that I think people forget it’s actually a cover.” Another adds:
The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s cover of “All Along the Watchtower” is a classic (and easy) choice, but c’mon, even Dylan was impressed by this version. Per Wikipedia, Dylan described his reaction in an interview:
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.
Live version here. Another points to the “story behind the song“. One more:
And on the subject of Hendrix/Dylan covers, Jimi’s version of Like a Rolling Stone isn’t half bad either. He did a few others, too. But nothing comes close to “All Along the Watchtower”. Play it loud.