Published On: Fri, Jul 25th, 2014

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – 1968

Ever wonder why Jimi Hendrix is still considered the greatest rock guitarist ever? Newly unearthed footage of The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing “Foxey Lady” at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival should help explain why.

Click play below and grovel at the Master Guitarist at work. He was the real thing!

Also newly released is an extensive array of demos, including Jimi Hendrix’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”.  Hendrix was a devotee of Dylan and made a habit of carrying around a songbook of Dylan’s lyrics in his handbag for easy referral. The guitarist drew inspiration from Dylan’s stream-of-consciousness wordplay and admired his commitment to innovation.

Seeking to cover one of Dylan’s songs on vinyl, Hendrix was given a tape of the as-yet unreleased “All Along the Watchtower” by a friend. He brought together Dave Mason, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Brian Jones to a London recording studio to rehearse it.

According to Ray Padgett: Unlike the later Electric Ladyland sessions in New York – which featured such a large crew of leeches and hangers-on that a frustrated Chas Chandler walked out for good – the January 21 recording of “All Along the Watchtower” was relatively calm. The song was so new that many people in the room had never even heard Dylan’s version. There was no rehearsal either; Hendrix just shouted out the chord changes as they went. “When he was doing his own arrangement, he did it very quietly, without being plugged into an amplifier, so nobody knew what he was doing because only he could hear it,” Kathy Etchingham [his then-girlfriend] recalls.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix Experience All Along the Watchtower

Jimi Hendrix methodically developed the song over 27 takes to make the song his own. He overdubbed his guitar parts later, including the now famous slide guitar in which he used a cigarette lighter to create a surreal Hawaiian guitar sound in the middle section of the song.

Dylan is reported to have loved this cover of his song and, even today, some fans forget or don’t even know that it was originally a Dylan song!

Both versions of the song are great, but Jimi Hendrix used the raw material to expand the boundaries of rock and rock and the electric guitar.

For a step-by-step analysis of the recording sessions, see Ray Padgett’s invaluable “The Story Behind Jimi Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower“.

In the meantime, here is a video of the final song as recorded and released in 1968.



About the Author

- Robert Maley has worked in publishing, banking and – as incongruent as it may seem – the theatrical world. After many years of living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, he now resides in the more pastoral setting of Virginia. A playwright with an MFA from Columbia University, he has had several plays produced off-off-Broadway. Presently, he is a critic of the Cultural Marxism to which he once allied, especially as it pertains to the arts, faith and academia.