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This was the first song on The Doors first album, and also their first single. It got some airplay on Los Angeles radio stations after their friends and fans kept requesting it.
The original line in the chorus was "She gets high." Elektra records censored "high," making it sound like, "she get uuggh," but the "high" line can be heard in live versions. You can also hear the song as intended in the 1999 reissue of the album, which was overseen by their original engineer Bruce Botnick. He also replaced Jim Morrison's "f--k"s on "The End
Jim Morrison got some of the lyrics from John Rechy's 1963 book "City of Night."
The guitar melody was inspired by Paul Butterfield's "Shake Your Money Maker."
John Densmore added the knocking drum sound by hitting his drumstick sideways across the snare.
This was one of 6 songs The Doors recorded for a demo on Aura Records while they were trying to get signed in 1965. Robby Krieger was not yet with the group.
The vocals are a mix of two of Morrison's takes.
In year 2000, the surviving members of The Doors taped a VH1 Storytellers episode with guest vocalists filling in for Morrison. Scott Weiland from The Stone Temple Pilots sang on this.
This was included on the Doors tribute album Stoned Immaculate
, with Scott Weiland on vocals.
As John Densmore states in The Doors Box Set
, the beat of this song was inspired by Brazilian Bossa Nova like Joao Gilberto and Tom Jobim.
In The Doors Box Set, Ray Manzarek said this was the last song they played live. It was during the Isle of the Wight Festival in the summer of 1970. The festival occurred while Morrison was on trial in Miami faced with charges of indecent exposure, and the band got a special 5 days of recess to be in England and get back to US. "This was to be the first gig of an European tour just as Miami was to be the first gig of a 20-city US tour. We never got beyond the first date of either one," said Ray. (thanks, Nisio - Belo Horizonte, Brazil, for above 2)
In an episode of The Simpsons, Krusty the Klown sings this when he shows the crowd a tape of him when he was younger. (thanks, bob - Laguna Beach, CA)
Gary Louris of The Jayhawks
The Jayhawks' song "Big Star" has special meaning to Gary, who explains how longevity and inspiration have trumped adulation.
Mike Watt - "History Lesson, Pt. 2"
Mike Watt of the Minutemen tells the story of the song that became an Indie Rock touchstone. It's also the story of what Mike calls "The Movement."