Dylan originally wrote and performed the song, which has been covered by everybody and their brother, but probably the best known and most loved version was performed by the Jimmy Hendrix Experience.
I listened to both the Dylan and the Hendrix version. I had a really hard time understanding Dylan’s vocals and I prefer the psychedelic vibe of the Hendrix version, so I’m going to have to say that one is my favorite.
Hendrix’s version evokes that late 60’s early 70’s vibe that just makes you want to roll a joint and “go to Mars.”
I most strongly associate Hendrix’s version with movies and TV shows about the Vietnam War. The song is well suited to that purpose, since it instantly transports you to the time frame and is well suited to a sort of cynical and dystopian view of the world that fits the Vietnam era.
All Along the Watchtower is probably not a song I’d put on heavy rotation on my playlist, but it is one that defines an era and evokes a certain mindset in a powerful way and thus a worthy entrant on this list.