Video Fridays: Jimi Hendrix Plays Bob Dylan

I’ve been listening to a LOT of Bob Dylan lately, and in today’s Video Fridays installment I’d like to feature one of the greatest Dylan covers of all time.

This version of the classic Like A Rolling Stone, performed by Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, is remarkable in a number of ways.

Hendrix, as he’s introducing the song, tongue firmly in cheek says, “I’d like to bore you a little bit for about six or seven minutes…” I don’t have any evidence for this, but I think there’s a good chance that he might be referring to the fact that there are so many words in the song. Some Dylan detractors thought his wordiness bordered on tedium, and let’s face it, most people at Monterey were there to hear Hendrix’s virtuoso guitar playing.

Jimi, himself, seems a little conflicted. He can’t even make it through the introduction, and unexpectedly says, “Excuse me for a minute and just let me play my guitar, alright?” It’s a funny moment, but it’s also a moment of complete abandon to the music. He literally has to stop talking because the guitar is begging him to play it.

Then he steps on the breaks long enough to finish the intro, before launching into an unbelievable, commanding performance, his lush, layered guitar licks mixing resonating chords and melodic fills that drip with honey, honey so sweet that you don’t even notice that he uncharacteristically does not do any extended soloing.

Anyway, enough words.

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy!

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