Break It Up

Album: Horses (1975)
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Songfacts®:

  • The subject matter of this song is Jim Morrison. It is a combination of a dream Patti Smith had about the late Doors singer and her visit to Morrison's grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.
  • In Patti Smith's dream, she helps Jim Morrison, bound like Prometheus, to break free. She recalled in her lyric collection Complete:

    "I had this dream. I came in on a clearing. There were natives in a circle bending and gesturing. I saw a man stretched across a marble slab. Jim Morrison. He was alive with wings that merged with the marble. Like Prometheus, he struggled, but freedom was beyond him. I stood over him chanting, break it up break it up break it up… The stone dissolved and he moved away. I brushed the feathers from my hair, adjusted my pillow, and returned to sleep."
  • This is about as close as Horses comes to a conventional hard rock track. It is therefore no surprise to learn that it was co-written with by Smith with Television's Tom Verlaine (who was then her lover). Verlaine also contributed guitar work to the track.

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