Grateful Dead – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” Live
Jerry Garcia Absolutely Knows How To Rock The Stage
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was written and originally performed by Bob Dylan. It was written as part of the soundtrack of “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” which was released in 1973.
The song describes the collapse of a deputy sheriff; dying from a bullet wound, he tells his wife “Mama, take this badge off of me; I can’t use it anymore.” 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.
The Grateful Dead’s version was acoustic and they performed it in the Rambler Room. On July 1987, they sang this track alongside Bob Dylan since they toured together. They have often used this to close their shows. A number of other artists also covered this track and they created their own versions including reggae.