Who's better? Jimi Hendrix or Bob Dylan

chique Darwin love her, seems to think that Bob Dylan totally out classes Jimi in every way shape and form -even going so far as to call Jimi “Just a demi god”!!!

(Angry spluttering sounds)

Now, not that i don’t like Dylan, but what the hell?!

Take “All Along the Watchtower”. Dylan wrote it, and as far as i’m concerned it’s a benchmark of Folk music. Poetic, deep, true, good. But Jimi took that, kept it’s truth and turned into the mind blowing kinda thing only Jimi could pull off (i’ve met many who thought Jimi actually wrote it.)

To make this really simple: Neither could sing, but Jimi could play some crazy guitar while Bob sat and strummed his 3 chords.

What’s that you say? Dylan wrote better? Sure, i’ll give you that, but damn Jimi have his moments.
Come on Rachel, just accept it.

[sub]i really hope this hasn’t been done before, i ran a search but i hate to think of those poor servers choking and grinding away in an attic someplace just to do this[/sub] [sup]twice[/sup]

Actually, according to VH1, Dylan liked Hendrix’s version so much he began to perform it like that in concert.

Boy, what a tough question!
They are both geniuses in their craft. I never cared much for Jimi’s singing voice, but I sure dig the music.
And while Dylan’s voice is the butt of a thousand jokes, it still sounds good to me, almost comforting.
Dylan’s poetry sure tops Jimi’s, IMO.

IMHO…Dylan without question.

Jimi was in innovator, and Rock-n-Roll would not be the same without his contribution, but…

There has never been a Songwriter like Dylan, except King David of course. Dylan’s lyrics are unmatched. He is the voice of a generation, he is prophetic. Even the simplest lyrics he writes are interpreted on a couple different levels.

As for his voice, most of his songs cannot have the same effect when done by someone else, because the way he sings them are just as important as the words he sings. Not that alot of the covers of his songs aren’t good, they’re just not the same.

Dylans guitar work, if you ask me, is really underrated. He definitely is no Hendrix, but he knows his way around a fretboard.

Hendrix covered Dylan, but did Dylan ever record a Hendrix song?

Where to begin…

I must first state that I am quite biased towards Dylan. I own ALL the albums, collections, gobs of bootlegs, etc. I own NOTHING by J.H. That said I may continue.

Both musicians pretty much single handedly changed the direction of music in popular culture. Both of they began a music subgenre: BD, a neo-folk and JH, a blues influenced guitar-riff heavy rock. Both were/are masters at their craft. Tney both cite similar influences. At the risk of sounding wispy, JH expressed his soul through his guitar; he mad it laugh and cry with his masterful playing. His death was truly a loss to music. It is a bit interesting to ponder what future influences he might have had in the early 70s.

Dylan, however, exposed the soul of the populace with his lyrics. Interpretations on many levels and all, as was said above, but the primary level was the most powerful. On the PBS special of Peter, Paul and Mary when they do “Blowin’ in the Wind”, their performance is backed by a chorale group. As they perform this piece, the camera focuses on a black man in the chorus. He’s singing with all his being, tears streaming down his face. I doubt this has happened to anyone singing a JH tune.

I gotta go with Bob. There are few lyricists in his league. Perhaps I’d put Robert Hunter, Bruce Coburn (on a good day), Ani DiFranco and Tom Waits in this group. They have expressive lyrics, but I don’t think any of them could define a group or time.

Feh. Easy one. As a performer and the one I’d rather listen to, Hendrix!

I never tire of listening to his version of All Along the Watchtower or The Star Spangled Banner. Masterful guitarist.

If I didn’t have to listen to Dylan sing… I saw him in concert once. :: shudder :: It was awful. Drugs were flowing pretty freely through the crowd, so maybe if I’d accepted that hit of acid, I might have enjoyed it more.

I will agree about Dylan’s lyrics. Blowin’ in the Wind has been a favorite of mine since I was in about the fourth grade and found it in one of Mom’s piano books. But like Leslie Fish, he should NOT sing.

Which is better?

Grilled ribeye steak, medium rare, or lemon chiffon pie?


They’re BOTH good, you schmuck, but aside from the fact they’re both food, what’s the basis for comparison?

Thanks Uke for redepositing this thread back into the land of reason, at least momentarily.


Uke wrote:

We’re not trying to get complicated here chowderhead, this is IMHO. (Sorry about the chowderhead thing, but who wants to be called a schmuck?)

Actually Randy, i much prefer Paul Simon’s writing (especally his newer stuff) and he can sing.


Oh, okay. I think Dylan’s better. He’s not dead, for one thing.

Dylan’s not dead – does he know ?
What are you camparing;….;songwriting, haicuts, guitar work, penis length, lyrics.
Dylan was part of an identifiable tradition, Hendix came from no where I’ve ever heard of – a true, one-off original, damn close to genius kinda guy.

Go with what you can relate to.

Dylan has something of an unfair advantage in this question as he’s had the last 30 years to create additional material, and Hendrix… well, he’s been dead.

There has been considerable speculation as to what Hendrix would have done had he lived - everything from a complete shift to jazz/fusion via Miles Davis, playing/composing classical music, to writing plays.

My personal theory is that he would have followed the Clapton route - spend the early '70’s out of the limelight, tired of his hectic, everybody-has-a-piece-of-me lifestyle, kick his drug habits, then come back with much of his original spark gone and write/perform light R&B exclusively.

Then again, there is a part of me that would like him to be around as the elder statesman of rock, with all his chops and brilliance intact, getting the accord he deserves. But everybody burns out, fades away, or gets hermatically sealed - no exceptions.

Primal, eh? I suggest strongly you check out the live version of a song called “Machine Gun”. I believe it’s on the “Band of Gyspys” album. Probably wouldn’t make anyone cry, but as an anti-war message and sufficient to nearly put me in shock the first time I heard it, primal enough. Play it… loud. Real loud. You might hear the exact point where Jimi wrenches his soul out of his body, or at least sounds like he has.

I’ve got to go with Dylan. I owned most of his albums when I was in high school, listened to them all the time, thought I understood exactly what he was saying. Now – almost ten years later – I listen to the same songs and find that they speak to me in totally different ways. I suspect that will still be true twenty or thirty years from now. And I have to admit that, as brilliant as much of Hendrix’ music is, it does still sound the same as it did when I was fifteen.

It is a somewhat unfair question, though, when we don’t know what Hendrix would have accomplished if he were alive today … and while Dylan’s early stuff is brilliant, the songs I’m really thinking of are the ones from the Blood on the Tracks and Infidels eras – when he was much older than Hendrix was when he died. So honestly, I don’t know.


Just got a brainflash of 58-year-old Jimi with a neat salt-and-pepper haircut, a trimmed Van-Dyke beard, a pair of wire-rim specs, and a fancy Italian suit and necktie a la Wynton Marsalis…

London… you’ve never heard of Seattle?? (Well, near there anyway, Washington State)

Before Jimi’s leaving us, he was beginning to mess a round with come crazy ass funk, great stuff!! If you can get ahold of some of his late, late work (even some of the albums they fired togather because they’d sell; South Saturn Delta for example) you find that the level music he was producing right up to the end was at least on a par with the level of Poetry Dylan put out.

We’re talking sound paintings here people; “1983”, “And the Gods Made Love”, “House Burning Down”, Either “Voodoo Child (slight return)” or “Voodoo Chile”, “Axis Bold as Love”, “3rd Stone from the Sun”, and “Are you Experienecd?”. Songs from his later work like “Pele Gap”, “Machine Gun” and “New Rising Sun” just give the slightest impression of what we lost. Keep in mind the Man was only in the spotlight from 1967 till 1970.

As far as Jimi and the salt and pepper beard… a guy like him kinda had to go when he did, it’s a cosmic thing. For those who havn’t noticed, Janis, Jim Morrison and Jimi all died in 1970… bad time to have a J name. Like Dean said; live fast, love hard and die young…

[sup]just a demi god my ass[/sup]


I must chime in with Ike, I don’t really see Dylan and Hendrix on the same plane for comparison. Now if you had a Hendrix vs. Van Halen for electric guitar innovation/inspiration, or a Dylan vs. Lennon for songwriting abilities I could see that.


Ok, Upham, I’m here. You dragged me into it :rolleyes:

Ya want me to argue rock history? Not gonna happen - I don’t know enough about it.

What I DO know is that, almost without exception, the original is better than the remake.

I also know that if I had to choose, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, between Dylan and Hendrix, I’d choose Dylan everytime.

Now that’s not to say that Hendrix isn’t one of the best guitarists of all time. The argument, however, was about one particular song - ‘All Along the Watchtower’ - and, IMHO, Dylan’s version is better.

So there. Nyah :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m with Ike on this one.

Comapring Hendrix and Dylan is, well…Upham, I’m only gonna say this because I love you so, but it’s stupid. You can compare their versions of “All Along the Watchtower,” if you really want. But even that’s well nigh impossible, because they’re both great. Different from each other, but both magnificent.

She loves me… but she thinks i’m stupid…

I can live with that.