The classic song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was written by Bob Dylan for the soundtrack of the western movie “Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid” directed by Sam Peckinpah. The track became one of his most popular and most covered after the 60s and one of the groups that successfully made a new version was Guns N’ Roses.
The Hard Rock band formed in Los Angeles released their version on their 1991 album “Use Your illusion II”. Since then became one of their most famous tracks, being played in almost all their concerts. Curiously, Bob Dylan who doesn’t give many interviews already gave his opinion on this particular version.
What Bob Dylan said about the Guns N’ Roses’ version for “Knocking On Heaven’s Door”
In an interview with back in 1991 with Eduardo Bueno, Bob Dylan gave his opinion on the Guns N’ Roses cover for his song, saying: “Guns n’ Roses are OK. Slash is OK. But there’s something about their version of that song that reminds me of the movie Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. I always wonder who’s been transformed into some sort of a clone, and who’s stayed true to himself. And I never seem to have an answer,” Bob Dylan said.
Dylan is one of the most covered artists of all time alongside The Beatles. Many versions of his songs became more successful and more remembered than the original one. One example is “All Along The Watchtower” that became a Rock and Roll classic after being covered by the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
Slash already “worked” with Dylan
Back in the 90s, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash was invited by producer Don Was to play a solo on Dylan’s song “Wiggle Wiggle”. The track was later released on Dylan’s 1990 album “Under The Red Sky”. However, Slash’s sono didn’t make to the final cut. That record that had guest musicians like Jimmie Vaughan, Slash, Elton John, George Harrison, David Crosby, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bruce Hornsby.
In an interview with Gibson TV (Transcribed by Ultimate Classic Rock) in 2021, Slash talked about that experience, saying: “It was a real basic one-four-five blues kind of thing. Don had suggested me to play the solo for this particular song, which was like an acoustic kind of thing. So I went down to the studio. I went in and did what I thought was a really great one-off. So I said, ‘Don, make me a tape when you guys are done and let me check it out.’”
“So he sends me a tape the next day of the rough and the song’s moving along. The lyrics and chorus go by. Then the solo section comes in and it’s just me playing acoustic, strumming. Then back into the song. I said, ‘What happened to the solo?’ [Don replied,] ‘Bob thought it sounds too much like Guns N’ Roses.’ So it was a great lesson learned for me. At that time I hadn’t done a lot of session work and it was a great learning experience,” Slash said.