Reuters/Variety - November 20, 1996

LONDON (Reuter) - Youngsters from the Scottish village of Dunblane have recorded the Bob Dylan song "Knocking on Heaven's Door" as a tribute to the 16 children and school teacher slain in the town in March.

The children, some of whom lost brothers and sisters in the massacre, recorded the song at London's Abbey Road studios, made famous by the Beatles.

They were accompanied on lead guitar by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, the project's organizer Ted Christopher told Sky Television Wednesday.

Dylan gave permission for the wording of the song to be changed to fit the Dunblane situation, Christopher said, the first time it is believed this has happened.

Christopher, who runs a music shop near Dunblane, said the idea for the recording was triggered when he was singing the Dylan song shortly after the massacre.

"I was singing the last verse where it says 'put all these guns in the ground, we can't shoot them any more.' With a few changes, it just became exactly what we wanted to say," he said.

After receiving Dylan's permission, one verse of the song was changed to "all these guns have caused too much pain, this town will never be the same, so for the bairns (children) of Dunblane, we ask -- please never again."

Knopfler readily agreed to help.

"It didn't take any persuasion at all. Mark's got twins and he's a very caring father. He was very keen to come on board," Christopher said.

The record's sleeve will carry a drawing of "Christmas Time" by Emma Crozier, one of the children shot dead by loner Thomas Hamilton when he stormed the school.

"It's a great achievement . . . but the circumstances that have contributed to us being able to do it -- we just wish they didn't exist," Christopher said.

The song is likely to be popular in the run-up to Christmas in Britain where memories of the massacre are still fresh.

"If we're up there high (in the charts) at Christmas, it's going to be a positive aside for the children of Dunblane, for the families that they have something other than just looking back," he said.

The proceeds from the record will go to a number of children's charities. Dylan reached number 14 in the British charts with the song in October 1973.

Things Twice PageIndex of Compiled Threads