Eric Clapton

Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Song Review by

One of Bob Dylan’s best songs becomes one of Eric Clapton’s weakest. Perhaps going to the well once too often with its reggae syncopation, Clapton’s perfunctory vocals meander nearly as indifferently as their instrumental backing. Dylan’s version, vocal imperfections and all, has an emotional power that’s missing here. Clapton’s effort seems weirdly inert. Where Dylan imbues his song with sympathetic, melancholy resignation, it’s difficult to say what viewpoint Clapton is attempting to convey. Given the powerhouse cover version by Guns N’ Roses, it’s clear that ”Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is versatile enough to be performed in many widely differing styles. That seems to be the major problem here. To be coming from one of the most stylish performers in Rock history, there just isn’t much style to this.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Time Pieces: The Best of Eric Clapton 1982 Polydor 4:21
Backtrackin' 1984 Polygram 4:26
No Image 1984 RSO
The Cream of Eric Clapton 1987 Polydor 4:24
Crossroads 1988 Polydor 4:21
The Cream of Clapton 1995 Polydor / Chronicles 4:23
The Roots of Rock: Rock 'n' Reggae 1996
Various Artists
Rebound Records 4:24
Double Up: Timepieces/Timepieces, Vol. 2 1998 DJ Specialist 6:20
Reggae Party 1999 1999
Various Artists
Polygram 4:24
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Eric Clapton 2004 Polydor 4:24
Guitar Heroes, Vol. 1 2006
Various Artists
Music Avenue 3:36
Complete Clapton 2007 Warner Bros. / Reprise 4:24
Icon 2011 Polydor 4:22
Icon 2 2011 Polydor 4:22
Give Me Strength: The '74/'75 Studio Recordings 2013 Polydor / Universal 4:24