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Original Vocal

NOW YOU SING

The song describes the collapse of a deputy sheriff, dying from a bullet wound; he tells his wife "Mama,take this badge off 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.

 

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 Concert in 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.

 

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

 

Knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door
Knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door
Knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door
Knock-knock-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

 

Knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door
Knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door
Knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door
Knock-knock-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"*


Knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door