People Are Strange

Album: Strange Days (1967)
Charted: 12
Play Video


  • Jim Morrison was depressed. He went to Robby 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.
  • Krieger, The Doors' guitarist, wrote the music. He did his guitar solo in one take.
  • The Doors played this on their only Ed Sullivan Show appearance. They also played "Light My Fire," and Sullivan never asked them to come back because Morrison sang the lines, "Girl we couldn't get much higher." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Rhedd - Ripon, CA
  • This was covered by horror-core rap duo Twiztid on their album Freekshow. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Draven - Chicago, IL
  • In 1987 the Liverpool band Echo & The Bunnymen covered this song, reaching #29 in the UK charts. Their version, which was featured in the film The Lost Boys, was produced by Ray Manzarek, who also played on the track. In a scene from the movie, the vampires' cave contains a huge poster of Jim Morrison in his Jesus pose.

    Manzarek also played keyboards on the Echo & the Bunnymen song "Bedbugs And Ballyhoo"; Echo also covered the Doors song "Soul Kitchen," which appears on their album It's All Live Now. Their guitarist, Will Sergeant, told Songfacts: "We used to get compared to The Doors. I don't know why. It's probably because Mac [lead singer Ian McCulloch] had that kind of lower voice, similar to Jim Morrison. He never liked The Doors when we started out. He sort of got into them, as weeks went on, because I was always playing the tapes in the van. Then he got into the whole thing."
  • In the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, Forrest improves his ping pong game as this plays.

Comments: 64

  • Stacy Cooper from Indianapolis, InI am planning on getting lyrics to this song in memory of my step father who recently passed away. When thinking of choosing the perfect font for this as a tattoo, I was wondering if this is a song or album to which the lyrics are displayed inside the album CD covers? If so where can I get the Legit font type in order to make this more interesting?
  • Zarko Zolo from NirvanaWhen I first heard the doors pay this song at the Fillmore SF in 1967, the title & lyrics/chorus were "When you're straight" rather than "When you're strange."
  • Daniel from São PauloMost of the comments in this page just proves how right Jim was. The lyrics makes perfect sense and still a lot of people is talking about him having an acid trip while writing it down. If this was I'm the Walrus then I would agree, but it just makes all the sense in the world.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 22nd 1967, the Doors performed "People Are Strange" on the WPIX-TV program 'The Murray the K Show' from New York City...
    Six days earlier on September 17th, 1969* the song had entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #65...
    On the same show the quartet also performed "Light My Fire"; and at the time it was in its 17 week on the Top 100 and at position #32...
    * See next posted below; and I made a mistake there, Sept. 17th is the correct date that "People Are Strange" did enter the Top 100..
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 17th 1967, the Doors performed "People Are Strange" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    The very next day on September 18th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #65; and on October 22nd, 1967 it peaked at #12 {for 1 week} and spent 9 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #6 on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart...
    Was track one of side two on the quartet's 2nd studio album, "Strange Days", and the album reached #3 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    One other track from the album also made the Top 100, "Love Me Two Times", it peaked at #25 on the chart...
    R.I.P. Ray Manzarek {1939 - 2013} and 'The Lizard King' {1943 - 1971}.
  • Frank from Bristol, TnI believe the song is about projection, when you feel Isolated alone and depressed it is reflected in peoples strange faces and everything looks uneven. It works the same for the opposite polarity.
  • Anna from New Oxford, PaI bet he was on an acid trip. People are indeed very strange sometimes. And to Melissa, I am Ms. Mojo Risin'.
  • Mindi from Warwick, RiSeems as if some of you don't know the history of Jim Morrison very well. Jim himself pulled away from society. He felt he didn't belong there that he was wanted somewhere else so everyone to him was strange didn't fit his picture so to speak. Jim was a very spiritual man who was trying to get others to see his way not everything with him was LSD or getting high. Pick up his poetry books and read them and if you understand what he was saying then you somewhat understand who Jim was.
  • Danion from Auckland, New ZealandPersonally i don't think Jim had depression, he may have been a bit "Strange" but i don't think he had a form of depression. In my English exam i wrote about how Jim is against this social hierarchy "Woman are wicked when you're unwanted" saying that the woman he has seen aren't very nice to people or himself who aren't socially accepted. But really i think this is just about Jim on an LSD trip and seeing a new perspective on being strange and things that are strange.
  • Marie from Durham, United KingdomI think this song is about feeling different but i also think he has to be talking about the weirdness of looking at strangers faces when your tripping and the alien view of the world that LSD gives the taker. The doors of perception are opened when you trip and take it from me "Streets are uneven when your down".
  • Quinton from Nashville, TnThis song is about alienation from others and how strange other people can seem when you're strange yourself. This is how I was feeling just two nights ago when I had a deep introspective nightmare of a trip on four hits of acid. I felt so disconnected from society and myself that I wanted to just end it all. Thankfully I didn't, but I can't help but remember how the words of this song kept playing over and over in my mind. I truly believe that this song is about a bad trip and the result of an LSD induced disconnection with reality.
  • Jesse from San Antoino, Tx> Maybe a combination of both, on acid WHILE walking down a street and people look at you strange and you look at them back strange but actually YOU ARE BOTH STRANGE
  • Ellie from Melbourne, AustraliaI reckon the song could have possibly been either about acid or jims views of the people around him , but no matter how many books come out were never going to know.The only person who knows is jim himself, but thats the beuaty of songs , as many artist dont fully reveal what their songs are about it is about the connection between you and your interpretation of the song ,as well as what the artist intended the song to be about.Also i doubt jim would have just written a song about an acid trip, there would definantly be a deeprer meaning to it, and i believe the opinion that he was trying to describe an acid trip and nothing more only furthers the jims steryotype of a drunken dug addicted hippy when in actuall fact he was a great poet.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnFreaky little song.
  • Ray from Los Angeles, CaThis is the damn truth, because I've read it in multiple books. Jim Morrison was on one of his suicide trips, he was saying things like "i just don't think I can take it anymore" and really wanted it to be over. He was at the house two of his bandmates (Kriger & Densmore) shared in Laurel Canyon which is in Los Angeles. He was feeling suicidal all night and finally in the morning they told him "go watch the sunrise and see if you feel better." So he went off alone and watched it and when Morrison came back he was just elated! He said "I'm writing again, I got these lyrics..." The point of the song according to him (and I loosely quote) "People are strange, things are gonna be messed up. But if you can see the sun come up and everything's cool, then it's all you. It's a projection of yourself."
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Moacid?! why must every song be about acid?! this is just about the wierdness of society. never has a statement been so true- people are strange.
  • Matt from Houston, Txyes, they sure are strange
  • Rebeka from Rijeka, CroatiaThis is my favourite Doors song.The lyrics is so simple but so smart.I can just listen it all day long.
  • Chris from Tulsa, OkRobbie Krieger wrote some great stuff and he was a very good guitarist. He never really got the credit due him.
  • Nady from Adelaide, --Sorry Joshvall but the only time Jim was fat was toward the end of his life. He was in pretty good shape as a teenage (from what I can tell from photos). He was extremely intelligent for his age (I.Q. of 140 when he was just 16) but that doesnt make him a nerd. He was just well cultured:)
  • Joshvall from Huittinen, FinlandNady from Adelaide, actually Jim was quite fat and kind of nerd too during his teen years. So it's really possible that this song has got some inspriration of that also.
  • Herminio from Rosario, ArgentinaSorry but the first "fact" was at John´s house, not Robbie´s. I´m pretty shure about it because I have John´s book.
  • Nady from Adelaide, Australiaumm im pretty sure Jim Morrison was never a "fat nerd" there may be a hint of jealousy in the air, eh James?ilovejimmorrisonmorethanyoucoulddream
  • Tanita from Rijeka, CroatiaI agree with you Michael from Jacksonvillw !!! I couldn't tell it better myself ! =)
  • Lance from Malibu, CaI feel that the lyrics and meaning are open for all to interept. I can see the drug part but I can also see the other insperations as well
  • Evan from Riverside, NjNot only did the rap duo Twiztid remake it but they also changed the lyrics, "Women seem wicked when your unwanted", to "Women seem Twisted when your unwanted."
  • Moi-même from ParisWhile Morrisson did write songs about drugs, reducing this one to a bad trip would be dumbing it down. The way I see it, it's a brilliant description of the freudian uncanny.
  • Jason from State Of Fitz, NjI agree with jacle from lowell,its amazing that one of the greatest songs about alienation and lonliness was from a sex symbol "women seem wicked when your not wanted" is brillliant. I get chills everytime i hear this song
  • Tristan from Philadelphia, PaFirst time I heard this song was on my dads old record player off or Strange Days, before hearing it I thought, who are the doors? This song got me to be the fan I am today.
  • Michael from Jacksonvillw, FlThe reason why Jim took so much acid was to "find the unknown." If you read Rimbaud-Jim's favorite poet-you would know that Jim took drugs to express himself poetically, not to feel good; it was all for poetry. Not to mention, the Blake quote in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." Jim read that and started dropping acid like they were pez. Also, that is where the Door got there name. In John Densmore's Riders on the Storm, Jim was having a writer's block so he went up to a friend's house that was on a hill that overlooked all of LA, and he wrote People are Strange. It is easy to be depressed when one is on writer's block, but this song is the greatest acid song of all time. Think of the word "stranger" as a pun; one who is on acid is obviously stranger than everyone else, but when you're on acid everything is strange. As for the people who think this song is about depression, I am just going to say that I have heard this song before I took acid and after, if you don't think this song is about acid, trust me it is.
  • Jack from Claremont, Mnwhat don't people get? jim morrison may have been a drug addict, but he wasn't high every minute of every day. Only later in his life. He wrote this song about all the strange people he encountered on his tours, and possibly even about himself.
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkI sing this when the coworker in the cube next to me talkes to loud. It bugs her.
  • Erin from Arlington, NeI don't know whether the song is the result of depression or drugs, all i know is that i can't get this song out of my head, it's something everyone can relate to.
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyThis song was covered by ECHO in the motion picture soundtrack of THE LOST BOYS.
  • Taylor from Barnum, Mnmy friends make fun of me for liking the doors, people are strange.(i am kinda obsessed) i have a t shirt of morrison and on the back it has the last verse to the can play the intro on guitar and i play it over and over... and over. r i p morrison. forever 27
  • Taylor from Barnum, MnI love this song. I listen to it at least twice a's a perfect song to listen to when your mad at people
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkThis is the theme music that runs through my head when I am walking through airports.
  • Rich from St.pete, FlI agree with tori. it is about a trip- finding it difficult to recognize faces, sometimes they are distorted and ugly in the dark, and it's all you. and he used "seem"
  • Jack from Lowell, Ma"women seem wicked, when you're unwanted."

    i think all of us fellas have been THERE. funny it should come from "sex symbol" Jim.
  • Dev01d from Wollongong, AustraliaThis is my favourite song by The Doors, also my favourite song to play on guitar. I just play the intro over and over. I think it's deffinately about depression and feeling alienated and doubt it's about drugs. I agree with Dustin that it's pretty stupid how people can't look past people's drug use.
  • Kim from Stuart, FlI believe I read something in a magazine that was a mixture of all these stories. Morrison was depressed, so he went for a walk in the desert, and saw some people having a tripping party in their garden. He sat and watched them a while from a distance (they were stoned out of their heads so they didn't notice), then went home and wrote this song.
  • Dustin from My Home, InThis song is obviously about depression any one who thinks this is about an lsd trip only focuese on the fact that jim has done drugs and can only focus on that to many great artists liek jimi hendrix have had there songs meaings tarred and featherd by people who know nothing of the band except that drugs are commonly associated with them and now ill get to how i figure it is abotu depression well the rain in the song could represnt the depression and faces comign out of the rain while it coudl be about an lsd trip which i highly highly doubt could represnt the people he meets wiht while he felt alienated becauzse of depression and the depression is what makes him strange so think abotu it like i see it it may be worng but it is jsut my opinion on it all
  • Fred from New York, NyNot EVERY song is about drugs, folks. Jim was inspired to write this song because of the strange people he met when he was touring.
  • Shrek from CaitlinMaybe not for you Tori..
  • Heather from Irving, Txthis is a badass song first off cause its very true people are strange but all in different ways!very strange..
  • Vanessa from Albuquerque, Nmpeople are strange and jim is hot
  • Ann from New York, NyThe '60's was about so much MORE than LSD; people took it to expand their minds, not to escape. Jim Morrison was a very serious poet who happened on the luck of expressing himself through music. Those of us who lived through the '60's and understand the era understand Jim.
  • Shea from Laguna Hills, Cahaha yeah definitely wasn't written about a lsd trip... jim morrison wrote this about being a constant stranger. read wild child by linda ashcroft.
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaIt's true, people are strange.
  • Elysia from Hamilton, New ZealandYou're probably all right. I think this song is about lonliness in general, this can be caused while tripping or depression or whatever. We all tend to feel alienated sometimes, Jim's mind saw things through in extreme why does it have to be literal? Maybe he felt that in his little world at the time he wrote it - that faces came out of the rain. Who knows what he was thinking and feeling at the time, but whatever you take from the song is probably right. He was an amazing poet that could and still can reach all of us on different levels.
  • Craig from Dunedin, New ZealandThis lyric is so introverted,sounds like extreme loneliness-blows me away every time! pssst...keep this a secret...Jim croons Tuesdays and Saturdays at a pub in town here,thinly disguised yank accent...
  • Josh from Ottumwa, Iano on LSD (acid) to Morrison the doors of perception are cleansed.Everyone is weird in a way,the faces he seen in the rain that night were part of the trip. not just things appear how they truelly are but people too. EVERYONE IS STRANGE!
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScMakes sense why it would be about LSD.
  • James from L.a., CaJim was a strange cat. He was never comfortable in his own skin. When he got famous, it blew his mind. Yeah, he was on acid a lot, but if you know anything about Morrison before he became famous, you know that he was a fat nerd for most of his life. That makes you strange, not LSD-- in fact, in the '60's people took acid to fit in.
  • Michael Picard from Lapwai, IdVery cool for describing people, very deep...
  • Melissa from Baltimore, Miyin and yang,yang and yin
    bad and good,prude and sin
    i am strange....I wouldnt have it any other way
    i am ms.mojo risin'
  • Danny Brown from Rumson, NjIn Danny Sugarman's book "No One Here Gets Out Alive" he states jim was driving down a road and saw hippies dancing in the field and came up with the lyric...people are that true?
  • Tori from Boston, MaIt's about LSD. "When you're strange" is referring to when you're on drugs. Depression doesn't make faces come out of the rain.
  • Michela from Brescia, Italyi see the stars come out tonight, than every evening
    jim is a star
    he is brightest star of sky
  • Mike from Chicago, IlRobby Krieger wrote SOME of the music, not all of it.
  • Kev from Hull, Englandder! its about lsd
  • Austin from Holly, Mithis song was also covered by Echo and the bunnyman for the soundtrack to the cult horror film "the lost boys"
  • Brian from Paoli, InYeah I heard that too, I like the guitar or bass riff, and the solo is sweeeet.
  • Julie from Boston, Maaccording to Ray Manzerek, Jim wrote the song after leaving a party in New York very, very early in the morning watching the people come up out of the subways.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Philip Cody

Philip CodySongwriter Interviews

A talented lyricist, Philip helped revive Neil Sedaka's career with the words to "Laughter In The Rain" and "Bad Blood."

Yacht Rock Quiz

Yacht Rock QuizFact or Fiction

Christopher Cross with Deep Purple? Kenny Loggins in Caddyshack? A Fact or Fiction all about yacht rock and those who made it.

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson of Jethro TullSongwriter Interviews

The flautist frontman talks about touring with Led Zeppelin, his contribution to "Hotel California", and how he may have done the first MTV Unplugged.

Carl Sturken

Carl SturkenSongwriter Interviews

Hitmaker Carl Sturken on writing and producing for Rihanna, 'N Sync, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Donny Osmond, Shakira and Karyn White.

Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell NdegeocelloSongwriter Interviews

Meshell Ndegeocello talks about recording "Wild Night" with John Mellencamp, and explains why she shied away from the spotlight.

Famous Singers' First Films

Famous Singers' First FilmsSong Writing

A look at the good (Diana Ross, Eminem), the bad (Madonna, Bob Dylan) and the peculiar (David Bowie, Michael Jackson) film debuts of superstar singers.