One the Bob Dylan’s biggest talents by and huge is his capability to attach with eternally recurring themes and also express them v the elegance and also grace of an old Greek poet ~ above the actions of Olympia. In 1973, Dylan once again confirmed his deification with a excellent expression of death and passing, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. 


Much choose The time They room A-Changin’, Blowin’ In The Wind, Don’t Think Twice, It’s all Right, and Gotta serve Somebody, Dylan has produced a powerful tune that is infinite relevant and shows that his efficacy because that graceful lyricism. Among the many covered songs to ever before be penned, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Aretha FranklinNeil Young, Bon Jovi, Dolly Parton, and also Bruce Springsteen have all understood the tune. Though the many interesting and undoubtedly rapturous envisioning was the of Guns N’ Roses.

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Here’s just how the God of Folk’s throwaway masterpiece turned right into a firearms N’ Roses staple v 72,000 singing follow me at Wembley stadion in a issue of years.


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From the mouth of a poet to a stadion of rockers, this is the transitional story of Knockin’ top top Heaven’s Door: from Dylan to guns N’ Roses.

Bob Dylan

It all begun, somewhat surprisingly, through screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer. The movie enthusiast to be acquainted through Dylan transparent the ’70s and also asked him to compose a few songs for a western he was working on. The movie, Pat Garrett and also Billy The Kid.


Dylan agreed and also recorded a couple of songs in February 1973 at Burbank Studios, California. The result was 10 tracks, all created by Dylan.

The most poignant, Knockin ~ above Heaven’s Door, was inspired by the film and written native the perspective of a dying sheriff. With two splendidly an easy verses:


Mama, take it this badge turn off of meI can’t usage it anymoreIt’s gettin’ dark, as well dark because that me come seeI feel prefer I’m knockin’ ~ above heaven’s door

Mama, take these weapons away indigenous me,I can’t shoot lock anymore.That long black cloud is coming downI feel prefer I’m knockin’ ~ above heaven’s door

The tune plays if Sheriff Colin Baker is dice from gunshot wounds and also Dylan cameos together the character, Alias.

Famous blues prodigy, Booker T. Jones, sometimes claims to have played bass on the track as he and also Dylan were neighbours in Malibu. However, terrycloth Paul is credited as the bass player top top Knockin’ ~ above Heavens Door however, while Jones is credited on 4 other songs.

Upon the soundtracks release most doubters responded unfavourably. Well known rock movie critic Robert Christgau graded it a ‘C’ in Creem, and described the album as “two middling Dylan songs, four good original Bobby voices, and a most Schmylan music.”

Furthermore, john Landau created in Rolling stone that, “it is every bit as inept, amateurish and also embarrassing as me Portrait. And it has actually all the earmarks that a deliberate courting of advertising disaster, a flirtation the is apparently part of an attempt to totally free himself native previously imposed obligations derived from his audience.”

Nonetheless, Knockin’ top top Heaven’s Door was a certified hit upon release reaching #12 on the Billboard hot 100 and also #14 on the UK height 75.

Guns N’ Roses

A common plague because that Bob Dylan is that plenty of think his songs weren’t created by him as their effortless simplicity way they are quickly adaptable. I have actually seen plenty of a surprised confront upon being told All along The Watchtower was not written by Hendrix. Knockin’ ~ above Heaven’s Door is much the same.

Guns N’ Roses originally recorded and released a studio version for the 1990 soundtrack come the Tom Cruise movie Days the Thunder. This variation was slightly modified for their 1991 album Use her Illusion II. 

Following the pass of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury native AIDS in 1991, there was a tribute concert organized as Wembley stadium on 20 April, 1992. The advantage sported acts such as Elton John, and also Brian May.

The showstoppers however, were weapons N’ Roses. In prior of a offered out crowd of 72,000 civilization they launched right into a an effective rendition of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, no doubt heightened in power by the current loss of Mercury. Check out the stunning performance below:

Ted Christopher

Another otherworldly version comes from Ted Christopher who asked Bob Dylan if the could add a verse and cover it in the wake up of the Dunblane massacre. The most dangerous mass shoot in British history took location on 13 March, 1996 when Thomas Hamilton shooting dead 16 children and one teacher prior to taking his very own life.

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This is one of the rarely occasions whereby Bob Dylan has actually granted his blessing to readjust lyrics come his music. The song immediately reached #1 in the UK and is together chilling as it is uplifting.