Battle of the Bands (BOTB): “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”


“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is one of my favorite songs. It was written and sung by Bob Dylan, for the soundtrack of the 1973 film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Released as a single, it reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Described by Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin as “an exercise in splendid simplicity,” the song, measured simply in terms of the number of other artists who have covered it, is one of Dylan’s most popular post-1960s compositions.

Here is Bob Dylan’s original (and movie) version. This version is NOT part of the battle. Just wanted you to hear the original in case you’re not already familiar with it.


Today I’ll be pitting Arthur Louis, who does a neat Reggae version, against Brazillian singer Ze Ramalho. Give a listen and let us know which version you prefer:

Arthur Louis – (21 June 1945 – 24 December 2014) was a rock, blues and reggae cross-over musician. His surname is pronounced as luːɪs (Lewis) and he held British nationality. He recorded a version of the song in his signature reggae cross-over style. Louis’s arrangement was released as a single in July 1975.


Zé Ramalho – The Brazilian singer and composer Zé Ramalho released a Portuguese version of Dylan’s song called “Batendo na Porta do Céu” in his 1997 album Antologia Acústica (Acoustic Anthology).


TIME TO VOTE! Which one did you like and why??

And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:



33 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands (BOTB): “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”

    • Thanks Debbie! So cool that you featured the song last time. So many bands covered this song. Glad you liked the Portuguese version. But I so agree with you, nobody does it better than Bob. Warren’s sounded so much like the original too.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is a rather strange BATTLE, at least to me. I was familiar with the reggae version and it just never quite did it for me, so I really thought it would be interesting to hear it sung in Portuguese, and I as it started out slower and more similar to the original I really thought it would capture my vote. The strangeness of the language was a bit too much for me, so, Louis’ version wins by default for me, although nobody does it better than Bob.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, absolutely Fae. I just said the same thing to Debbie: Nobody does it better than Bob Dylan! I could listen to his version over and over again. Thanks for stopping by. I gotcha down for Louis.


  2. Here’s a song that we clash on. I dislike the song and consider among Dylan’s worst. As I said the last time this song was put to Battle, I find the song excessively repetitious and boring.

    Your Battle is unique though as it does put a novel twist to the song. The Portuguese version doesn’t do it for me as it is too much like original in pacing though I like the clarity of the recording.

    The reggae version is novel and more interesting to my ears. My vote goes to Arthur Lewis.

    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Lee, I’m so surprised to read that you consider this song to be one of Dylan’s worst!! And it must have made you crazy having to listen to it again since Debbie featured it last time. I could listen to Dylan’s version over and over again. Different strokes for sure.
      Glad you appreciated the battle. I have you down for Arthur Louis. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this is a GREAT song! Not sure where I would rank it in Dylan’s catalogue of recordings because I love so many that he wrote.

    This was a very different and interesting kind of BOTB match-up. And I agree with Janie: the Reggae version was too upbeat, to the point that I didn’t for a second believe the singer felt he was “knocking on Heaven’s door”. So, although the second one sounded peculiar due to the foreign language, I’m still voting for Zé Ramalho.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’


  4. This is not one of my favourite songs because it seems so repetitive but I prefer Ze Ramalho. I like the style of it much better and I am not a fan of Reggae at all. The reggae one does not seem to go with the song ‘s lyrics anyway…to me that is

    Liked by 1 person

    • Others are finding that too, Birgit, that the music just doesn’t match the lyrics in the reggae version. Thanks for your vote!


  5. I love your choices. There are so many covers of that song and you chose two that were quit different. My votes goes to Zé Ramalho , my familiarity with the song breaks down the language barrier and he captures a lot of emotion in the song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mike. So glad you liked my battle! I haven’t yet cast my vote but I’m leaning the way of Ze for the same reason you state. Thanks for stopping by.


    • Hey Paula, Thanks for stopping by! Glad you like the BOTBs! I’m taking a wee break from the garage to come in and answer some comments. Yesterday was the big day and boy, did we have a FULL and OVERFLOWING trailer of junk from the garage. The dump was quite the experience, I must say. And I’ve made three trips to Goodwill this weekend with more stuff in my truck to go next week. I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel so things are looking up. 🙂


    • That’s when you know you have a good song, when the lyrics in a different language don’t deter! Thanks for your vote Robin.


    • Thanks Jeffrey. Yeah, I figured most people would be familiar with the GNR version. Glad you liked what I picked! Thanks for your vote.


  6. I’m voting for Arthur Louis. Zé Ramalho did a good job — great, even — but it sounded so much like the original (except for the Portuguese, haha) that it didn’t feel like anything new. Arthur’s, however, might’ve been a tad too much new 😀 Still, in my book innovation is king, and of these choices his is the version that I’d most likely be found listening to.

    Good face-off! And thanks for the visit over at Quiet Laughter — got you down for Joni 🙂


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