Story line and song structure[edit source | edit]Edit
The song describes the feelings and impressions of a deputy, who feels that he is dying and can no longer continue his role as a law enforcer. The song consists of four chords in the key of G major: G, D, Am7, and C. The basic pattern throughout the song is G-D-Am7-Am7 and then G-D-C-C, and this is repeated. Over the years, Dylan has changed the lyrics, as have others who have performed this song .
Cover versions[edit source | edit]Edit
Larry Norman[edit source | edit]Edit
Larry Norman released his cover on December 31, 2004 as the third track of his Sessions album. With the exception of the chorus line, the song has completely original lyrics. Per Norman's recording label (Solid Rock), "Larry made a CD called Sessions solely for folks who contribute to Compassion [International] through us. It isn’t for sale anywhere, and we make no profit from it. The CD includes previously unreleased sessions by Larry, Randy Stonehill, Tom Howard, Daniel Amos & other Solid Rock artists".
Vlado Kreslin[edit source | edit]Edit
Arthur Louis[edit source | edit]Edit
Arthur Louis recorded a version of the song in a reggae crossover style. Louis's arrangement was released as a single in July 1975, a week before Eric Clapton released his own interpretation of Louis's arrangement, of the same song.
Eric Clapton[edit source | edit]Edit
Eric Clapton recorded a reggae influenced version of the song produced by Albhy Galuten in August 1975 and released it as a single later that year, almost two years after Dylan's original track was released, using Arthur Louis's arrangement. Clapton's single featured "Someone Like You" as the B-side, previously recorded with Louis. Live recordings of this arrangement of the song appear on Clapton's album Crossroads 2: Live in the Seventies (1996), which features a performance recorded in London in April 1977. The song was also included on his album Time Pieces: The Best of Eric Clapton (1982) and resurrected for the Journeyman and One More Car, One More Rider world tours in 1990 and 2003.
The Grateful Dead[edit source | edit]Edit
The song was performed by Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead, during a joint tour in July 1987. Between August 1987 and July 1994 the Grateful Dead often closed their shows with a performance of this song. On July 7, 1989, the Dead used the song as an encore at John F. Kennedy Stadium. It was not known at the time, but it was to be the swansong for the stadium, which was condemned 6 days later.
Guns N' Roses[edit source | edit]Edit
|"Knockin' on Heaven's Door"|
|Single by Guns N' Roses|
|from the album Use Your Illusion II|
|Format||CD single, 7", 12"|
|Genre||Hard rock, blues rock, heavy metal|
|Producer||Mike Clink, Guns N' Roses|
|Guns N' Roses singles chronology|
In 1987, Guns N' Roses started including the song in their live sets. A live version of the track was initially released on the Maxi-Single of "Welcome to the Jungle". They recorded a studio version in 1990 for Days of Thunder's soundtrack, which was later slightly modified for the 1991 album Use Your Illusion II (basically discarding the responses in the second verse). Released as the fourth single from the album, it reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart as well as #12 in Australia and #1 in Ireland. Their performance of the song at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concertin 1992 was used as the B-side for the single release and was also included on their Live Era: '87–'93 album, released in 1999.
- Axl Rose - lead vocals, backing vocals, production
- Izzy Stradlin - rhythm guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals, production
- Slash - lead guitar, production
- Duff McKagan - bass, backing vocals production
- Matt Sorum - drums, production
- Dizzy Reed - piano, production
- Additional personnel
The Alarm[edit source | edit]Edit
Dunblane tribute[edit source | edit]Edit
In 1996 and with the consent of Bob Dylan, Scottish musician Ted Christopher wrote a new verse for "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" in memory of the schoolchildren and teacher killed in theDunblane massacre. This has been, according to some sources, one of the very few times Dylan has officially authorized anybody to add or change the lyrics to one of his songs. This version of the song, including children from the village singing the chorus with guitarist and producer of Dylan's album Infidels (1983) Mark Knopfler, was released on December 9 in the UK and reached #1. The proceeds went to charities for children.
The song was featured on the compilation album Hits 97, where all royalties from the song were given to three separate charities.
Warren Zevon[edit source | edit]Edit
Avril Lavigne[edit source | edit]Edit
Avril Lavigne performed the song on radio sponsored multi-artist appearances, which took place on January 23, 2003 and ended on June 4, 2003. A music video was made with her performance. Later on she included the song during herTry To Shut Me Up Tour. She first released her cover version on the bonus CD of her My World video release in 2003, and afterwards as a Japanese bonus track for her 2011 album Goodbye Lullaby.
Wyclef Jean[edit source | edit]Edit
Wyclef Jean recorded a version of the song, which was used in the documentary: Ghosts of Cité Soleil (2004), by the director Asger Leth (1970).
Babyface[edit source | edit]Edit
Antony and the Johnsons[edit source | edit]Edit
U2[edit source | edit]Edit
In August 2010, at U2's first performance in Russia, Bono invited Yuri Shevchuk to join him on the stage for a spontaneous duet. During the performance Shevchuk performed a Russian version of the first part of the song. U2 and Shevchuk were helping draw attention to the Khimki Forest issue, over which many environmental activists and journalists have been arrested, injured, and killed. The activists are trying to stop the construction of a roadway through a protected old-growth forest by allegedly corrupt politicians.
(Ms.) Randy Crawford[edit source | edit]Edit
Internationally known singer, Randy Crawford, recorded this song in 1989 and it also features musicians Eric Clapton and David Sanborn on it. She renders a soulful version of this song. She is best known for singing lead on The Jazz Crusaders mega hit song "Street Life" (released in 1979).
Other performances of this song[edit source | edit]Edit
Other artists to perform the song include Bon Jovi, Dylan alongside Paul Simon, Phil Collins, Boy George, Mike Peters, The Animals, Cat Power, Pat Pacino, Aretha Franklin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Sisters of Mercy, Bryan Ferry, Meir Ariel, Yuri Shevchuk, Television, Mark Knopfler, Bruce Springsteen, Heaven, The Lost Dogs, Mungo Jerry, Lana Del Rey, Luciano, Les Fradkin, Selig, Beau Jocque, Randy Crawford, Chaozz, Roger McGuinn, Cold Chisel, Zé Ramalho,DMX, Sandy Denny, Antony and the Johnsons, GWAR, Neil Young with Dylan, Roger Waters, Herman Brood, Nazareth, S Vremena Na Vreme, Angela Aki, Sunny Jim Band, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Dolly Parton, The Red Army Chorus and Ensemble with the Leningrad Cowboys, Ruth Lorenzo (as seen on on The X Factor (UK)), Bride, RedOne with Nabil Khayat, Seether and Korean singer Youme .