Here’s how to play “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan, and later covered by Guns N Roses. This is an excellent beginner song to start with! It features four chords, all open chords, making it very playable and fun.

The song came out in 1973 and since has become one of Bob Dylan’s most covered songs. Artists including Eric Clapton, Guns N’ Roses, Randy Crawford, and others have all put their unique spin on it. Will you be next?

“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” has a simple struture with two short verses, given you the chance to put your own twist on it as your guitar skills improve. It’s a great opportunity to practice your chord changes among four popular chords. You’ll find helpful chord diagrams below.

Guitar Chords

The chords you’ll need to play this song are below:

  • G major
  • D major
  • Am (A minor)
  • C major

G chord

G Chord

D chord

D Major

a minor

A Minor

C chord

C Major

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to remember these and 25+ other essential chords, check out our free guitar chord flashcards.

How to Play Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

For this song, make sure your guitar is in standard tuning. The strumming pattern you can use is D D DU but feel free to experiment with other strumming patterns, as well, depending on your mood.

Will you use your acoustic guitar like Bob Dylan? Or reach for your electric guitar like Guns N Roses? The choice is yours with this classic hit.

Intro

G  D  Am
G  D  C

Verse

G            D                                 Am
Mama take this badge from me
G           D                 C
I can’t use it any more
G                    D                         Am
It’s getting dark, too dark to see
G                           D                              C
Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Chorus

G                             D                               Am
Knock-knock- knockin’ on heaven’s door
G                             D                               C
Knock-knock- knockin’ on heaven’s door
G                             D                               Am
Knock-knock- knockin’ on heaven’s door
G                             D                               C
Knock-knock- knockin’ on heaven’s door

Verse

G           D                               Am
Mama put my guns in the ground
G           D                           C
I can’t shoot them any more
G                             D                        Am
That cold black cloud is comin’ down
G                           D                                   C
Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Chorus

G                             D                               Am
Knock-knock- knockin’ on heaven’s door
G                             D                               C
Knock-knock- knockin’ on heaven’s door
G                             D                               Am
Knock-knock- knockin’ on heaven’s door
G                             D                               C
Knock-knock- knockin’ on heaven’s door

 

For educational purposes only. The materials on this page represent the author’s own work and his creative interpretation of the song shown. It is intended for private study, scholarship or research only.