The Original vs. The Cover – “All Along the Watchtower”

For this month’s The Original vs. The Cover, we are tackling the classic song “All Along the Watchtower” written by Bob Dylan.  We are going to explore the Bob Dylan version and the Jimi Hendrix version.  The two versions of this song couldn’t be more different.  You have Bob Dylan’s version which is more Folk Rock and then the Hendrix version which is pure guitar rock.  Each version is a classic in its own right so how do you choose.  Let’s learn about each version first before we decide.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan wrote and recorded the song back in 1967.  It was on the album John Wesley Harding which was released in December 1967.  The song itself wasn’t released as a single until November 22, 1968 which was actually after The Jimi Hendrix Experience released it as they released it as a single on September 21, 1968.  If we base the original and the cover based off single release date, then Hendrix’s is the original…right?  No, it isn’t but one could make an argument if they so choose.

The song itself is a slow, almost ballad like for part of the song.  Instrumentally, the standout is the harmonica which is the main driver of the song.  The guitar and drum parts were background and their simplicity is what makes it work.  The folksy sound and Dylan’s gritty voice were magical and he sings with such emotion.  This is one of the few songs I actually could understand what he was saying.

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The Original Vs. The Cover – “Hurt”

This month’s ‘The Original Vs. The Cover’s focusing on the Nine Inch Nails Song “Hurt”.  The song is one of my favorite Nine Inch Nails songs and I am not a huge fan of the band, but this song always struck a chord with me.  However, it was the cover of this song by a gentleman who goes by the moniker of Johnny Cash that made me stop and pay attention to this song (maybe you have heard of him).  It was one of the most surprising song choices for Cash to cover, but damn! did he make it his own song.  Let’s start off with the Original version of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails.

NINE INCH NAILS:

The song, “Hurt”, was written by Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor and is off their album ‘The Downward Spiral’.  For those not familiar with the band, their style is very industrial rock and has a very metalic sound.  This song is no different other than the slow, plodding pace of song.  It comes at you with such a sadness and a dark tone that you immediately feel the pain the singer is going through.  The opening lines define the song right out of the gate…”I hurt myself today / To see if I still feel”.

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