The Doors Songs

The Doors songs were a collection of tunes filled with cryptic lyrics, strong vocals, distinct keyboards and at times guttural shrieks that could only be initiated by Jim Morrison, the band's unpredictable lead singer.

The Doors were an influential American rock & roll band that was formed in 1965 in Los Angeles. They consisted of lead vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. They were contoversial due mainly to Jim Morrison's provocative lyrics and erratic stage presence. They were major contributors to some of the Best Classic Rock Songs of the 60's and 70's.

One of the first albums that I ever purchased was "The Doors". This classic eponymous album was the first album put out by the band and contained some of the most memorable tunes in rock & roll history.

The HITS

"Break on through (To the other side)" This was the first single released by the band and was relatively unsuccessful compared to later hits, reaching only #106 in the US.

"The Crystal Ship" Regarded as a goodbye love song to Jim Morrison's first love Mary Werbelo.

"Twentieth Century Fox" The title is the name of a movie studio. It is used to represent the woman in the song, who is glamorous, but artificial. Producer Paul Rothchild had the band walk on wooden planks during the chorus to get the pounding effect.

"Alabama Song" A favorite of mine which contained sort of an oom-pah Oktoberfest sound and had the unforgettable lyrics; "Well Show me the way to the next Whiskey Bar, Oh don't ask why". The Doors got the idea for this from an album of German songs their keyboard player, Ray Manzarek, had.

"Light My Fire" Was the Doors signature song which became a huge hit and launched them to stardom. The Doors' record company thought this was too long to get radio play, so the guitar solos were edited down for the single to make it considerably shorter. Many stations played the 6:50 album version anyway. Since the single was a shortened version, fans had to buy the album to get the extended mix, which helped spur sales of the album. Most of the lyrics were written by Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger. He wanted to write about one of the elements: fire, air, earth, and water. Jim Morrison wrote some of the second verse, and Ray Manzarek came up with the organ intro.

"Back Door Man" A Willie Dixon blues song from 1961, this has been covered by John Hammond Jr. and Howlin' Wolf, among others. The Doors decided to cover this after their guitarist Robbie Krieger heard John Hammond Jr.'s version. A "Back Door Man" is a guy who has relations with a woman while her husband has been out slaving away to provide for her. The usual guilty perpetrator if a wife was caught cheating was a regular tradesman caller (Plumber, Insurance Salesman etc.). He would then run out the back door as the husband entered the front door.

"Take it as It Comes" Dedicated to the Maharishi, a teacher of transcendental meditation, after Jim Morrison attended one of his lectures

"The End" Developed during live performances at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, a Los Angeles club where they were the house band in 1966. They had to play 2 sets a night, so they were forced to extend their songs in order to fill the sets. This gave them a chance to experiment with their songs. This started as a short song about a farewell to a girl, and developed into an 11 minute epic.

Their second album which came out in the summer of 1967 was "Strange Days"

The HITS

"Strange Days" One of the earliest songs using the MOOG synthesizer. The lyrics are about how normal places can still be strange and uneasy. Jim Morrison's vocals were heavily processed to enhance the feel.

"Love Me Two Times" Guitarist Robbie Krieger wrote the lyrics. They are about The Doors going on the road and American soldiers going to Vietnam. The theme is sex as a way to survive in strange times.

"People Are Strange" Jim Morrison was depressed. He went to Robbie Krieger's house, they went to a canyon to watch a sunset, at which time Jim realized he was depressed because "if you're strange, people are strange." He then wrote the rest of the lyrics, which are about feeling alienated.

"When the Music's Over" During live performances, Jim Morrison usually ended up flopping around on the floor. The Doors performed it live many times in 1966 when they were the house band at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles. It was not released on an album until a year later. The theme is music being the fire of life. When it stops, so does life's spirit. Arguably, one of the most beautifully intense moments of any Rock song is when Morrison screams, "Persian Night! See the Light! Save Us! Jesus! Save Us!" The first 2 lines reference the wise men from the Bible, often referred to as The Magi. The Magi is a priestly caste from ancient Persia. On that Christmas night the Persian Magi looked into the night and saw the Star of Bethlehem.

1968 Album "Waiting For The Sun"

The HITS

"Hello, I Love You" Jim Morrison wrote this in 1965 after seeing a beautiful woman walking on the beach. He thought up the song and wrote it that night. The song was not recorded until 3 years later.

"The Unknown Soldier" This is an antiwar song, but not specifically about the Vietnam War, which was going on at the time.The Doors took over 130 takes to record this. Producer Paul Rothchild was being very particular.Many radio stations refused to play this due to its controversial content

"Five To One" In this song, "Five to one" was the approximate ratio of whites to blacks, young to old, and non-pot smokers to pot smokers in the US in 1967. It was also the amount of Vietnamese to American soldiers in Vietnam, although Jim Morrison said the lyrics were not political.Jim Morrison was so drunk when he recorded this song, he needed help from the studio staff on when to begin singing. If you listen closely, you can hear someone in the background say "One more time" before Jim starts his first verse

In 1969 they recorded the Album "The Soft Parade". It is my favorite album mainly due to it's powerful hair raising vocals and unforgettable melodies.

The HITS

"Tell All the People" Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger wrote this. He thought this was perfect for Jim Morrison to sing, but Morrison didn't like it because he thought the lyrics would imply that he thought of himself as a leader

"Touch Me" Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger wrote this as "Hit Me," based on fights he had with his girlfriend. In a rare show of restraint, Jim Morrison insisted on changing it to "Touch Me."

"Wishful Sinful" Was a beautifully melodic love song It follows the general theme of this album by incorporating elements of classical music.

"The Soft Parade" Morrison put the lyrics together out of pieces of poetry he had written.

1970 Album "Morrison Hotel"

The HITS

"Roadhouse Blues" When Jim Morrison got drunk, he liked to sing Blues numbers at their jam sessions. They jammed on a lot of Blues numbers, and came up with this at one of the sessions. Jim Morrison came up with the line about keeping your "Eyes on the road, your hands up on the wheel" after riding with his girlfriend, Pamela Courson, to a cottage they owned outside Los Angeles. She was driving erratically. John Sebastian from the Lovin' Spoonful played harmonica. He is identified on the album as "G. Puglese" because he was afraid to be identified with The Doors in light of Morrison's arrest in Miami.

"Waiting For the Sun" This is about the quest for the American Dream, which is never attained.

"Peace Frog" Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger came up with the guitar riff. The lyrics were based on 2 of Jim Morrison's poems, one called "Abortion Stories," which is where the bloody images came from. This was written in the studio. After Krieger got the guitar riff, they went through Morrison's notebooks and found the poems to create the lyrics. The first lines they got were "She came, she came, she came, just about the break of day." The lyric "Blood in the streets of the town of Chicago" refers to the 1968 democratic convention. The lyric "Blood in the streets of the town of New Haven" refers to Morrison's arrest in New Haven in 1967. Police were called when Morrison was seen getting intimate with a young girl before the show. An officer confronted Morrison, who was arrested on stage after he exposed himself and went on a rant against the police.

"Ship of Fools" The title may have been inspired by the 1962 novel by Katherine Anne Porter, "Ship Of Fools" It was made into a movie in 1965. The phrase has since become common in rock lyrics. This is about an acid trip. Along with 1967s "The Crystal Ship," the second time The Doors used the ship as a metaphor for drugs.

1971 Album L.A. Woman

The HITS

"Love Her Madly" Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger wrote this. It is about the numerous times his girlfriend threatened to leave him.

"LA Woman" In this song, "Mr. Mojo Risin'" is an anagram for "Jim Morrison." He repeats the phrase at the end of the song faster and faster to simulate orgasm

"Riders on the Storm" This was the last song Jim Morrison recorded. He went to France and died a few weeks later. The single was released in June, 1971, shortly before Morrison's death. If you listen closely, you can hear Jim Morrison whispering the lyrics over his own singing. This causes a kind of creepy effect

.The Doors Songs were among the most influential and popular in the history of Rock & Roll.

Touch Me

Peace Frog

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Comments 13 comments

chains profile image

chains 7 years ago from Bengaluru, India

Very good compilation. I love the Doors and their songs and this article is enlightening to say the least. Well done. :)


hglick profile image

hglick 7 years ago from Ronkonkoma, NY Author

Chains,

Thank you very much. The Doors are definitely one of the top classic rock bands of all time


Drew Breezzy profile image

Drew Breezzy 7 years ago from somewhere in my mind

I really enjoy their first album! There is a lot of background info in this hub thanks!


hglick profile image

hglick 7 years ago from Ronkonkoma, NY Author

Drew Breezzy, Thank you for your comments

Yes the Door's 1st album is one of my favorites. It was the 3rd album I purchased in my life. Almost every song is a hit.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

It's easy to forget just how many hits the Doors produced in a relatively short period of time. A first album that offers a half-dozen hits (and/or great songs) is truly amazing. It also leads me to wonder why bands feel they need three years off between albums since some '60s bands actually put out two or three a year--and it was good stuff.

Thanks for posting this, I am a big fan of the Doors and love singing along to their music (when no one is around to listen, of course!).


hglick profile image

hglick 6 years ago from Ronkonkoma, NY Author

Yeah Mike, I remember buying their first album (one of the 1st albums I bought) and listening to it over and over and over again. I enjoy some of their less popular songs like "the Unknown Soldier", "Peace Frog" and "The Alabama Song". I also had a friend who did a pretty good impression of Jim Morrison singing "Tell All the People", from my favorite album of theirs, The Soft Parade.


justom profile image

justom 6 years ago from 41042

Nice hub, always loved them. Had tix to see them but the show was canceled after Jim was popped for pulling it out on stage. Check out the vectored art my son Justin did of Jim and other musicians from that era. Peace!!


ben pickrell 6 years ago

the doors are sick and every good thing you and any body can think about all i havee to say is break on to the other side


Phoebe 6 years ago

The Doors were the late 60's. Thanks for this info.


John... 6 years ago

The Doors touched me in a place,a place I never knew existed. Once touched I found myself lossed to the touch!


music messenger profile image

music messenger 6 years ago

Great hub and good info on one of my favorite bands. Have you heard any of their albums in high resolution surround? Amazing! I have music reviews and info on my hub. Check it out and let me know what you think. I voted.


SydFletcher profile image

SydFletcher 5 years ago from Slovenia

I love this band! Great hub!


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 13 months ago from New Jersey

Great info about the songs, I didn't know some of it. I've always been a big fan. I never heard American Prayer until the other day, it's so different from the usual stuff they did, I ave to give it another listen.

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