knocking on heaven’s door

Bob Dylan has been there done that.
A musician, singer, songwriter, actor and a Nobel winning writer.
Probably, one can never retire from what they do !
Dylan was once asked by his friend to write a song for the movie “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid”. The song plays in the background as a sheriff is dying. The song was titled “Knocking on heaven’s door”.
Later Eric Clapton covered the song and that too drew a lot of attention. People loved the rendition.
Image Credit: uDiscoverMusic
And then there was another cover by Guns N Roses. This was loved by the younger audience but criticized by older ones for it being extremely loud and missing the key message that the original song had.
In March 1996, Dunblane Britain was shaken by a massacre of school kids and their teacher. To pay tribute to the little angels, Mark Knopfler of the band Dire Straits collaborated with a choir to perform the song. A new verse was added to the song in memory of the kids.

After 9/11 when USA witnessed probably the most tragic incident in its history, Clear Channel Organization that runs multiple radio channels in USA took out an internal memorandum.

The memorandum had a list songs that the channels were banned from playing. The songs were considered to be hurtful to the emotions of people of America who had undergone a horrific tragedy. Most of the songs in the list were understandably unfit for playing during times. A casual reference to air planes for anti-establishment lyrics would have upset the people who needed a calm and peaceful environment.

The song ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ was listed in their as well.

The basis to include the song in that list is still not clear. It might be that the song is too sombre and can depress a grieving audience.

Such are the vagaries of human emotion. A song that pays tribute might also make one depressed.

It’s a coincidence that Bob Dylan’s album ‘Love & Theft’ released on the same day when th tragic incident of 9/11 occurred. When asked about 9/11 Dylan said,”

“it is time to change the internal world.” Considering the international
conflicts, oil depletion, the destruction of the natural world, our culture’s disregard for the arts,
amongst other detrimental qualities of the modern world, Dylan’s advice to change “the internal
world” means he finds little-to-no hope of avoiding continued large-scale disasters like that of
9/11.

Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities (3.2), Ed. Tirtha Prasad Mukhopadhyay,
URL of the Issue: http://rupkatha.com/v3n2.php
URL of the article: http://rupkatha.com/V3/n2/07_Bob_Dylan_Folk_Poetics.pdf
Kolkata, India. © http://www.rupkatha.com

Image credits:Wikipedia

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