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"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. (thanks, Coleman - Richmond, VA)
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. (thanks, Jeff - wyckoff, NJ)
Morrison got the idea for this while waiting in the audience before performing a concert in 1967.
On bootlegs of live recordings, Morrison included the phrase "f--ked up" in the spoken word section at the end. He swore a lot at live shows, but the studio albums were always curse-free.
The part of the song about "Shadows of the evening" is an adaption of the Victorian-era hymn "Shadows of the Evening," whose first verse is:
Now the day is over,
Night is drawing nigh.
Shadows of the evening
Steal across the sky. (thanks, Jamie - Perth, Australia)
Robby Krieger recorded a version of this with Marilyn Manson for the 2000 Doors tribute album Stoned Immaculate
In 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.
Jay-Z sampled this on his 2000 song "Takeover." The track was produced by Kanye West, who often uses old rock or R&B songs in rap records.
The lyrics, "No one here gets out alive" were used for a Jim Morrison biography
by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman. (thanks, bob - Laguna Beach, CA)
Mos Def sampled this track on his 2004 release "The Rape Over" from his album The New Danger. Mos Def's song contains the bass line and drums with Jim Morrison's "Come On!" at the beginning of the track. Though "Five to One" is not a political statement per say; Mos Def's "The Rape Over" directly hits the capitalist blows against the minorities of the US. (thanks, Kay - Costa Mesa, CA)
Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.
Jon Fratelli talks about the band's third album, and the five-year break leading up to it.