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"Knockin' On Heavens Door" is a song that connects with both experienced and new guitarists. Its simplicity is what makes it so appealing to players of all levels. With just four chords - G, D, Am, and C - you can strum along and feel the magic of this iconic track. Bob Dylan, a masterful poet and songwriter, weaves together emotions and imagery that resonates with the human experience.

The song's chord progression, characterized by its melodic simplicity, serves as the perfect backdrop for Dylan's poignant lyrics. Soft strumming and gentle fingerpicking create a calming atmosphere. However, it is the lyrics of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" that truly elevate the song to a higher level. 

Chords Needed

OR: As a challenge, opt for the full C and G chords.

Song Breakdown

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Lyrics that speak to everyone

Dylan's words are a testament to his ability to capture the essence of human longing and redemption. The song's opening lines, "Mama, take this badge off of me / I can't use it anymore," immediately establish a sense of vulnerability and weariness. Dylan's evocative language allows the listener to empathize with the protagonist's desire to shed the burdens of their past and find solace in a higher power.

As the song progresses, Dylan's lyrics continue to delve into themes of loss, regret, and the search for meaning. Lines such as "I feel I'm knockin' on heaven's door" and "Put my guns in the ground / I can't shoot them anymore" evoke a sense of surrender and a longing for redemption. These words resonate deeply with listeners, as they tap into universal emotions and experiences.

Ultimately, "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" is a song that speaks to the soul. Its combination of heartfelt lyrics and captivating chord progression creates a powerful and emotional experience for the listener. Bob Dylan's ability to craft poetic words that touch the depths of human emotion is what makes this song a timeless classic, cherished by generations of music lovers.While playing these chords and singing, you will experience a heightened sense of emotions and a strong connection to music. It provides a powerful means of self-expression.

Fan and artist favorite

Many legendary artists have put their own spin on this timeless classic. Tracy Chapman sings with emotion, while Guns & Roses give the song a powerful rock sound.

Now, it's your turn to make it your own. You can play it gently on a guitar or rock out with an electric solo. The stage is ready for you to show off! Its universal appeal and melodic simplicity make it a crowd-pleaser at any gathering or jam session. So gather your friends, grab your guitars, and discover your own sound in this classic.

Start your musical journey with "Knockin' On Heavens Door", and check out Fender Play, the ultimate guitar learning app for beginners for more in-depth lesson content. 

Learn the song in Fender Play: “Knockin’ On Heavens Door” 

Other songs which use G D Am and C:

Friend of the Devil - Grateful Dead

Don’t Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin

Here I Go Again - Whitesnake

Let It Be - The Beatles

Where Did Our Love Go - The Supremes

And find even more in the Easy Acoustic Strummers collection