Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, artist, and writer. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when he was both a chronicler and a reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of Dylan's early songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'", became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving behind his initial base in the culture of the folk music revival, Dylan's six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" radically altered the parameters of popular music in 1965. His mid-1960s recordings, backed by rock musicians, reached the top end of the United States music charts while also attracting denunciation and criticism from others in the folk movement.
"Knockin' on Heaven's Door" is a song 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 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, and certainly one my favorite Dylan songs. The song describes the collapse of a deputy sheriff, dying from a bullet wound; he tells his wife "Mama, take this badge off of me; I can't use it anymore." Over the years, Dylan has changed the lyrics, as have others who have performed this song.