Moonlight Drive

Album: Strange Days (1967)
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  • Jim Morrison wrote the lyrics while he was living on a rooftop in Venice Beach, California. At night everything was clear, so he would look into people's windows, study what they were doing, and watch their TV sets. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Shelby - Lincoln City, OR
  • Jim Morrison recited this as a poem to Ray Manzarek when they ran into each other on a beach in Southern California in 1965. Manzarek, who knew Morrison from UCLA film school, thought it was great and convinced him to form a band.
  • This was the first song recorded by The Doors. It was left off their first album because they felt it wasn't good enough. Speaking with in a 2011 interview, Manzarek recalled there was chemistry straight away: "I knew instantly we had found 'it,' that indefinable, transcendent something that Kerouac refers to," he said. "I remember showing Robby the chord changes for a simple 'G' progression. He pulled out his bottleneck and said, 'I've got an idea for this, something sort of liquid-like.' A lot of The Doors music came to be like that – water-y. That came from living on the beach. We were actually there, whereas even The Beach Boys, for instance, didn't really live on the beach."
  • The Doors started recording this as more of a blues song. Ray Manzarek got the idea during recording to do it as "a rock tango."
  • The lyrics are about a tryst on the beach under the moonlight.
  • This was one of the song The Doors included on their first demo, which led to a record deal with Elektra.
  • This was released as the B-side of "Love Me Two Times."

Comments: 24

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 27th 1967, the Doors performed "Light My Fire"* on the CBS-TV program 'The Jonathon Winters Show'...
    The 'Winters' show was a taped performance; for on Dec. 27th, 1967 the group was appearing at Winterland in San Francisco, and during their set, they paused, and a TV was wheeled onstage so they could watch themselves on television...
    * They performed two songs on the 'Winters show', the other was "Moonlight Drive", which was track six of side one from the quartet's second studio album, 'Strange Days'.
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkIn 1967 when this came out on their LP "Strange Days" I was in college at University of Kansas. A big girl from the dorm room across the hall had the LP first then I heard it & had to buy my own. I fell in love with The Doors. Amy, the big girl (450 lbs.) across the hall was already in love with Jim Morrison & planned to hitchhike to L.A. to convince Jim to marry her. What a dreamer! What times! The psychedelic rock/acid rock era. Moonlight Drive was probably about many things: love, young infatuation, lust, sex, sex, sex. And our introduction to The Doors!
  • Britt from Boston, MaMoonlight Drive and Indian Summer are my two favorite Doors songs. I have a picture of Jim from the very early sixties on my wall and he's wearing a vest and he's in a garden. It is the most beautiful picture of him I've ever seen. He is pure brilliance. Peace
  • Ken from Castle Rock, CoThere's nothing to confirm this, but a lot of Jim's earlier songs were about his first love, Mary Werbelow, and how much he missed her- particularly when you're living on a rooftop with nothing more than a blanket and canned foods- it's very easy to be missing your loved one then. The first two stanzas are him beckoning to her to come with him and park by the oceanside. He wants to be alone with her on their "own" moonlight drive. The third stanza is nothing more than genuine poetry: "Surrender to the waiting worlds that lap against our sides." He is merely saying that he is willing to return to the "real" world with her after they've been on their own moonlight drive. The fourth stanza begins to show clearly that Morrison understands he cannot be with her- this is prevalent in all of his love songs: "You reach a hand to hold me, but I can't be your guide. It's easy to love you as I watch you glide." As much as Jim wanted to be with Mary, he knows that he can't, but that he's also more willing to surrender his love for her to become a star in L.A. than to be with her in Florida. And the last stanza is NOT about murder- it's about letting go. As much as it pains him, he understands he must let go of it all, and the best way to do so- is to make it a sacrifice, to "kill" the memories that haunt him so. To put it bluntly, "Moonlight Drive" is a really nice love song.
  • Valerie from Eureka, CaI trip on all the 'inside' information people put on this site. I have to repeat myself. Unless you were there with the Doors when they recorded, wrote, performed all this stuff, you really don't know what actually happened, now do you?
    But Moonlight Drive I will agree, is one of the best Doors songs. I used to play it early in the mornings while having coffee. I lived in a 3rd floor flat in Massachusetts. In the winter, early mornings during full moons a purple light would cast over the snow. I used to sit at my kitchen window, drinking my coffee listening to Doors while looking down at the snow. It is one of the best memories I have of that time. Thanks for letting me share it here.
  • Nady from Adelaide, Australianot everything is about sex michelle, i think maybe you should listen to it again
  • Jim from Placentia, NcMoonlight Drive is possibly the best song the Doors wrote and recorded. One of top 10 songs ever recorded.
  • John from Lafayette, LaThis song is about the accidental death of two lovers. The couple (possibly in an altered state) were seduced by the reflection of the moon on the sea. When the moon is low on the horizon out over the sea, its reflection looks like a golden shimmering sidewalk that leads out to the vanishing point. It appears as if you could just walk down the sidewalk, through the tide and to the moon. Unfortunately, their moonlight drive ended in trajedy.
  • Valerie from Eureka, CaStill haveing a great time on this site! Yea, Anonnymous you have a cool English teacher. Moonlight Drive....again, I have to say, who knows what the meanings behind the words qre/were, what difference does it make? It's a good song. Bottleneck guitar work send chills down my spine as does most of the Doors music. I have been listening to their music since 1968. Hey tomorrow is Jim's birthday...he would have turned 64.
    Valerie, California
  • Andrew from Adelaide, Australiai love tihs song and i suppose it's about sex and loving until the end.
  • Craig from Melbourne, AustraliaThis is the song Robbie Kreiger played when he auditoned for the band. It was his idea to use the bottle neck. Manzarak thought Robbie was going to stab him when he pulled out a broken bottle neck. He had no idea what it was! After playing the song, Robbie was in. Morrison wanted him to play bottle neck on every song!
  • Bob from Brentwood, CaI always thought it was about 2 lovers committing suicide, like "lover's leap"-type thing
    -B. Lee, Brentwood, CA
  • Dani from Hamburg, Nyi deffanatly agree, mike...where did u see an in depth study of them...its my favorite song!
  • Michael from Jacksonvillw, FlI have never seen an in-depth study of the lyrics to Moonlight drive, but how much can one say. It is a psychedelic love song and the birth of psychedelic rock. Nothing comes close to it. The lyrics are easily the greatest lyrics EVER in all of Music. It is pure poetry. I don't know how people hear this song and don't say "Oh, my God. This is miraculous. 'Let's swim to the moon / Let's climb thru the tide' are you kidding me." Ray M. heard those lyrics for the first time and almost defiled himself. The first time I heard those lyrics, I instantly went to the book store and bought his poetry books; and yes, I knew that someone who could write a song like that had to have a poetry book out there. Jim really was a poet who so happen to be a rock star. In fact it really is a shame that he was a rock star because if he was not, he would be taken seriously as a poet. Not to mention, it kills me how people view Bob Dylan as a poet singer and not Morrison. Bob Dylan is not a poet. Some of his songs can be somewhat poetic, but he incorporates too many clichés in his music and poetry; the clichés are generously peppered throughout his work. You will be hard pressed to find a one cliché in Morrison's work.
  • Tom from St Catharines, CanadaThis is the best Doors song ever, combining lyrical brilliance and otherworldly guitar by Krieger. I am a huge Doors fan and of all their songs I love, this is the greatest. Also the song that led to the formation of the band.
  • Willis from Castro Valley, CaIn some live versions of Moonlight Drive Morrison recites Horse Latitudes in the middle of the song.
  • Ray from Memphis, TnOne of my fav' Doors songs. Great lyrics.
  • Jimi from Reno, NvAnonymous, you have a really cool English teacher. I would also like to say this is on my top 10 best doors song. I love the piano parts of it. May Jim rest in peace.
  • Anonnymous from Nashville, TxGood song. My English teacher once let me borrow a Doors CD, and it was really good.
  • Michelle from San Diego , Cai LOVE this snazzy song about sex! im actually surpirised of the absense of comments...poser ppl focus on the most main stream singles of this band when they could get deeper and find that there are even better songs less known then others.
  • Calum from Bathgate, ScotlandI've been having great dreams lately due to this song, dreams of swimming through the air and space to the moon. I know it isn't meant to be taken so literally, but I love the imagery of doing that.
  • Xavier from Melbourne, AustraliaNot only was this the first Doors song recorded, this was the first song they, as a quartet, ever played. It was in a friend's living room, in a house behind a greyhound bus terminal in Hollywood, 1965. Ray played on an old German tack piano. - This song also marks one of the first appearences of the bottleneck guitar in rock.
  • Peter from Providence, RiThe song works pretty good live..there is footage of this song being performed on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
  • Crystal from Show Low , AzThis song, is one of my favorites, i love jims voice in this one, and i like the guitar solo, and i just think its a great song. Peace.
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