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Bob Dylan’s opinion on Jimi Hendrix

Bob Dylan
Hendrix image by George Shuba and Dylan from "Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President" documentary


Bob Dylan’s opinion on Jimi Hendrix

Bob Dylan is one of the most prolific songwriters of all time and already has written more than 600 songs during his career. He wasn’t the only one who had a lot of success with the songs he wrote, there were many other artists who were able to take a Dylan track and really give the song a new point of view musically, making it even bigger. Jimi Hendrix was one of those musicians and he had the chance to cover a few Dylan songs during his career.


Dylan already talked about Hendrix and gave his opinion on the late American singer, songwriter and guitarist.

What is the opinion of Bob Dylan on Jimi Hendrix

Both artists were almost the same age, since Dylan was only one year older than Hendrix, but the Folk Rock artist started his musical career in 1959, three years before Hendrix. The musical revolution caused by Dylan started already in 1962 with the release of his self-titled debut album and continued during that decade inspiring artists all over the world, including The Beatles.

Hendrix played during those years with many other artists, including Little Richard, before finally creating his own band: The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was on his third album “Electric Ladyland” that he covered alongside Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, the classic Dylan song “All Along the Watchtower”, which had been released by the Folk artist only one year earlier.

The electrifying Hendrix version completely transformed the song into a Rock and Roll classic and Dylan was happy with it. He always admired Hendrix and thanked him when he was honored in 2015 as MusiCares Person of The Year. Dylan talked in his speech about his career and thanked many artists who covered his songs. One of them was, of course, Jimi Hendrix.

“Oh, and can’t forget Jimi Hendrix. I actually saw Jimi Hendrix perform when he was in a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames — something like that. And Jimi didn’t even sing. He was just the guitar player. He took some small songs of mine that nobody paid any attention to and pumped them up into the outer limits of the stratosphere and turned them all into classics. I have to thank Jimi, too. I wish he was here,” Bob Dylan said.

It wasn’t the first time Hendrix covered a Dylan song. In 1967 during his historical performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, he played “Like a Rolling Stone”.

They had the opportunity to meet each other

There were many musical revolutions happening at the same time in the 60s and the artists worked really a lot, but Hendrix and Dylan had the chance to meet each other. As Jimi told Steve Barker in 1967, they saw each other once but they were completely out of their minds. The musician also said that he liked Dylan but he wasn’t an inspiration because he felt like he could never write like Dylan.

“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. 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’! He doesn’t inspire me actually, because I could never write the kind of words he does.”

He continued:

“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. 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,” Jimi Hendrix said.

In the same conversation he was asked about the Scottish Folk Rock artists Donovan. Hendrix said he liked him but was more into Dylan’s music. The reason was because he felt like the compositions of the American artists were more “more earthy and live”.

He also said that he would like to do some session work with Dylan, something that sadly never happened. “I’d like to play some sessions behind Dylan. His group ought to be a little more creative”.

When Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, Bob Dylan had already released 10 albums. Now, more than five decades later he has already released 40 studio records.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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