Knockin' On Heaven's Door

The song "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" by the legendary Bob Dylan is most likely one of the best known songs in the history of rock or folk. It is also probably the most covered song ever. Hundreds of bands, from professionals to garage bands have this song in their encore arsenal. I'd be willing to bet every guitar player in the US can whip off that famous sound, or at least wants to.

For me the song has always been a favorite, although Bob Dylan's version was not the first version I'd ever heard. The song is easily in my "Top Five Songs of All Time List." I first heard it on a shitty, rediculously over-priced bootleg tape of a Guns N' Roses concert. (I was actually ripped off, since the concert had been shown numerous times on cable - the famous live show at the CBGB). On that tape was the live version GNR did, before they put it on Use Your Illusion (was it I or II?) . I was blown away. The deep well of despair in the voice of Mr. Rose, the soaring heights of what is, in my opinion, one of the best guitar solos of all time, the simple yet hypnotic rythm of the song - all transported my fourteen year old mind to a place I'd never thought music could take me. Man, what a great song.

Now, I've been a wanna' be guitarist for about twenty years, forever trapped in that transitional stage between ultra-beginner and it's-now-getting-a-little-challenging beginner. The one song I've wanted to know how to play, since the day I first heard it, was "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." But being blessed with zero natural musical ability, I need someone to show me everything. Today someone did. My friend and colleague Rodger showed me in just a few minutes the rythm pattern I had not been able to discern for myself since I was a freshman in high school. I can't put the guitar down. I am again caught in the simple but soulful embrace of the song, once again imagining my rock and roll fantasies, this time with real sound. I am Bob Dylan.

Rodger also had a cool idea. See, since I am such a fan of the song, I have acquired numerous covers of the tune. How cool would it be to put together a compilation CD? Of course, it would be a legal nightmare given all the copyright stuff, but it would still be worth it. I bet someone's already done it. I haven't checked. Anyway, I'm off to rock out to Mr. Dylan's song. "Mama take this badge from me. I can't use it anymore. ..."


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