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SoulMonster

Knockin' On Heaven's Door

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Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:30 am


KNOCKIN' ON HEAVEN'S DOOR
Album:
Use Your Illusion II, 1991, track no. 4.

Written by:
Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan cover).

Musicians:
Drums: Matt
     Bass: Duff
     Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Slash
     Rhythm Guitar: Izzy
     Vocals: Axl
     Background Vocals: Axl, The Waters

Live performances:
'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' was played for the first time at the Marquee, England, on June 19, 1987. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {KNOCKINSONGS} times.
Lyrics:
Mama take this badge from me
       I can't use it anymore
       It's getting dark too dark to see
       Feels like I'm knockin' on heaven's door

Kn-kn-knockin' on heaven's door
       Kn-knockin' on heaven's door
       Kn-knockin' on heaven's door
       Kn-knockin' on heaven's door

     Mama put my guns in the ground
       I can't shoot them anymore
       That cold black cloud is comin' down
       Feels like I'm knockin' on heaven's door

     Kn-kn-knockin' on heaven's door
       Kn-knockin' on heaven's door
       Kn-knockin' on heaven's door
       Kn-knockin' on heaven's door

     "You just better start sniffin' your own
       rank subjugation jack 'cause it's just you
       against your tattered libido, the bank and
       the mortician, forever man and it wouldn't
       be luck if you could get out of life alive"

     Kn-kn-knockin' on heaven's door


Quote:
And there are times when everybody comes together, like in singing 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door.' That's one reason we do the song: it's for people [Interview Magazine - May, 1992].

I was staying at someone’s apartment and Axl was at his place and we were on the phone talking about covers for the shows at the Marquee in London, and that song came up, and I was like "I have always wanted to do that song." And he was like "Yeah, that’ll be awesome!" So we went to the Marquee and did it at soundcheck and just did it that night. It’s gone through a lot of changes over the years. Actually we had a punkrock version of it at first, and we finally mellowed it out to an actual song that sounds like we thought it should sound like. But that was while recording. When we play it live it’s sort of a cross-over. Very hard and heavy, but at the same time sort of like the album [Guns N' Roses: The Hits - 1992].

On Thursday, June 11 [1988], we were ready to perform our very first gig in Europe [At the Marquee in London]. During the sound check, the guys started into a rocking song that I wasn't sure I had heard before. I was like, "Wow, this is a cool new tune." It had a haunting familiarity to it that I couldn't quite place. Since Axl wasn't there yet, Izzy and Duff started singing it the second time around and only then did I realize it was 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door.' I smiled; "Oh yeah, it's that song." I realized we were taking the classic Bob Dylan tune and rocking out ion it, taking it solidly under our wing into Guns N' Roses territory (...). It was Axl's idea to do 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door.' He told Slash about it, they learned it, and we did it. They never even mentioned it to me though, just expecting me to pick up the beat on the fly. I didn't know if this was a tribute to my drumming adaptability or a sign of their abject disregard for my needs as a members of the band (but I could venture a pretty god fucking guess) ["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010, pp. 126].

At soundcheck before the first show on June 19, 1987, we ran through a cover song. We played it just once, but somehow our feelings found a vessel in this Bob Dylan song and our emotions just came pouring out [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 123-124].

Those Marquee shows were loud and hell-bent; what I remember I remember fondly. (...) One of those nights was also the first time that we ever played 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door,' which we put together at sound check on a whim. I'd always loved that song and loved that live version - it was much more raw than what we ended up on Use Your Illusion [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp, 184-185].

'Heaven's Door' has that same sound in it for the solos [as on Estranged], and that's the Explorer on the rhythm pickup, with the tone down [...] There are two [solo] sections on that song, I'd been playing those solos off-the-cuff since we started playing that song. But when we went into the studio to do it, I played it completely differently than I've ever played it. I did this whole melody off the top of my head. I did one solo one day, and then the next solo the next day, and they are both one take. [...] The outro solo [...] I did the first day after I came up with the melody for the first solo, I did the second one and [Mike Clink] wasn't really happy with it. I thought it was fine. I took it home and listened to it. The next morning, on my way somewhere, I stopped by the studio and just pulled it off one more time and did it way better [Guitar For The Practising Musician, April 1990].

There's two solo sections on that song. I'd been playing those solos off-the-cuff since we started playing that song. But when we went in the studio to do it, I played it completely differently than I've ever played it. I did this whole melody off the top of my head. I did one solo one day, and then the next solo the next day, and they're both one take. (...) The outro solo on 'Heaven's Door,' I did the first day after I came up with the melody for the first solo. I did the second one and he [Mike Clink] wasn't really happy with it. I thought it was fine. I took it home and listened to it. The next morning, on my way somewhere, I stopped by the studio and just pulled it off one more time and did it way better [No Illusions, Guitar - April, 1992].

The first recording with Matt [Sorum] was 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door,' for the Days of Thunder soundtrack (which also ended up on the Illusions albums). I remember doing the solo for it on my way somehere and I used a '58 Gibson Explorer. It was an amazing take, I just ran in there with my girlfriend and some friends in tow, picked up the guitar, and really let the solo sing: I turned the tone down on the bass pickup, I locked it and let it scream. I really love the way that one came out - it was very emotional yet effortless [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp, 311].

'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' was brilliant. We took that old song from Bob Dylan and turned it into that kind of hymn. That was special [loveloveleon, July 2010].

Audio of 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' performed live at the Marquee, England:


'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' performed live at the Ritz, USA, in 1988:

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