All Along The Watchtower
by U2

Album: Rattle And Hum (1988)

Songfacts®:

  • This is a cover of a Bob Dylan song made famous by Jimi Hendrix. Said Bono: "What other band in our position would learn the chords of 'All Along The Watchtower' five minutes before they went on-stage, play it live and record it ? No one." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • U2 recorded this live at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco in 1987. It kicked off what Bono called the "Save The Yuppie" concert, in honor of the stock market crash the month before.
  • The Edge's guitar intro was not recorded at the concert and had to be dubbed in later.
  • At the concert, Bono spray painted "Stop The Traffic - Rock n Roll" on a nearby fountain, mocking an anti-grafitti law in San Francisco that could have him arrested. Promoter Bill Graham paid to have it removed and Bono was never arrested.
  • In their documentary movie Rattle And Hum, they are seen frantically rehearsing this just before the show.
  • Bono added the line "All I got is a red guitar, three chords and the truth."

Comments: 6

  • Beau from Phoenix, AzYes, Bono forgot the lyrics, but Dylan himself admitted during a guest appearance at a U2 show that year that he himself forgets his own lyrics all the time and can't be arsed to memorize things.
  • David from Syracuse, NyThere must be some kind of way out of here...Bono was caught up in the moment, and even messed up the first line...OH WELL...The tone is good, and that is what it is all about.
  • Mike from Nashville, TnThis rendition of the Bob Dylan classic sounds like the original, both in vocals and music, as opposed to the Hendrix version.
  • Alina from Karlstad, Swedeni think they really made this song their own, making it sound very U2 (all to Edges guitar play). love hendix's version as well.
  • Acrobat from Adelaide, AustraliaBono forgets the lyrics a lot... to their own songs too. He also forget the lyrics to BLowin' in the Wind (another Dylan song incidently) anmd he had been dragged up on stage to help sing it. He ad libbed... Dylan liked it and said it was better than the original. I am a singer/songwriter myself, you would be surprised how common it is to forget lyrcis of even your own songs. I have one song where the second verse has changed at least seven times.
  • Shane from Kildare, IrelandBono forgot the lyrics at one stage, and just started making up lyrics to fit. Thats were "All I got is a red guitar, 3 chords and the truth" came from.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Boy Bands

Boy BandsFact or Fiction

From NKOTB to 1D, how well do you know your boy bands?

Bryan Adams

Bryan AdamsSongwriter Interviews

What's the deal with "Summer of '69"? Bryan explains what the song is really about, and shares more of his songwriting insights.

Fire On The Stage

Fire On The StageSong Writing

When you have a song called "Fire," it's tempting to set one - these guys did.

Dwight Twilley

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al YankovicFact or Fiction

Did Al play on a Beach Boys record? Did he have beef with George Lucas and Coolio? See if you can spot weird but true stories.

Elton John

Elton JohnFact or Fiction

Does he have beef with Gaga? Is he Sean Lennon's godfather? See if you can tell fact from fiction in the Elton John edition.