All Along the Watchtower
Vocals: Dave Matthews (4/21/94), Buddy Miles (10/22/96)
Original Artist: Bob Dylan
Original Album: John Wesley Harding (1967)
Historian: Phil Nazzaro
When Bob Dylan writes a song and Jimi Hendrix makes it famous, you know it has got to be good. “All Along the Watchtower” made its debut on Bob Dylan’s 1967 album John Wesley Harding. However, it is the version on Hendrix’s 1968 Electric Ladyland that most of us think of when this song is mentioned.
Phish has only performed “Watchtower” twice to date. Both times their take leaned a little more towards Jimi’s soaring, psychedelic version that became an anthem of sorts during the Vietnam War. A guest musician who uses “Watchtower” as a signature song spurred one appearance on; the other helped make it famous. The first time around on 4/21/94 this song crept out of a drum duet between Fishman and Dave Matthews Band drummer Carter Beauford, with Dave Matthews himself taking the lead vocals as he has done in his own shows for years. Funny it should begin with a drum solo; the next time it appeared was when Merl Saunders and Buddy Miles took the stage with Phish for the encore on 10/22/96 at Madison Square Garden. Although present on Electric Ladyland, Buddy was not the drummer on Hendrix’s original cut. But playing drums for Jimi’s Band of Gypsys (and beyond) he certainly did his part to make this song famous. With Phish, he not only played the drums (while Fishman played Trey’s drum kit), he also took the vocals.
Jimi Hendrix, "All Along the Watchtower"