OG fans of Guns N’ Roses know that the song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” isn’t the band’s composition as the original singer is Bob Dylan, but do you know the reason why the band decided to cover the track?
According to Loudwire, the rock group have been performing the song since the late 1980s and they finally released an official studio version on their 1991 album “Use Your Illusion II.”
Most of the time, the band play the song at their shows as a tribute to people who have passed away, but the main reason why they covered the classic hit was because of frontman Axl Rose’s near-death experience.
Stephen Davis’ unauthorized biography “Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N’ Roses” detailed what reportedly happened to the singer that ultimately led him to sing the song.
The author revealed that the vocalist was involved in a physical altercation with a police officer in Los Angeles, California, in 1987. He later ended up in a hospital and woke up two days later.
Even though the experience was traumatic, the musician couldn’t recall all the details that happened during the fight.
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“Two days later I woke up, tied to the bed with some wires running into me,” Axl Rose noted.
Following the incident, Davis revealed in the book that the singer was drawn so much to the song as it kept playing in his head, leading him to finally cover it.
At first, he was hesitant to sing it because many artists have already sung the track before him, but he eventually decided to do it.
On June 19, 1987, the band performed “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” for the first time at the Marquee Club in London, United Kingdom. They didn’t stop playing it and even dedicated the track to Todd Crew, the former bassist of Jetboy who passed away in 1987 due to a drug overdose.
Guns N’ Roses first recorded the song from their show in London and the cover made it into the tracklist of their single “Welcome to the Jungle.”
The studio version was later recorded for the movie “Days of Thunder,” the same recording from their record “Use Your Illusion II” but there are a few differences like the voiceovers that can be heard throughout the second verse.
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