This was the title track to The Doors' fourth album. It sold well, but many critics felt it was a sellout to pop music. Their next album, Morrison Hotel, was a return to their roots and was recorded a lot faster.
Morrison put the lyrics together out of pieces of poetry he had written.
Many of the images are of people walking along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, where Morrison often hung out.
The Doors played this live only once: on a PBS television special in 1969.
Suggestion credit: Sam - Lincoln, NE
The melody in this song is something The Doors came up with in 1966 when they did music for a Ford corporate video. That video surfaced in 2002.
William from Gwinnett County GeorgiaThis song is all about America in it's time of civil rights and early baby boomers. I'm from Indiana and this song didn't make sense until I moved to Georgia. I went to Black Methodist Church with a friend. I learned about Jim Jones basically. You can not petition the Lord with prayer? That was really going on when this album was recorded. I mean I was born in 96 so I don't know what I'm talking about....but... I think the lyric 'better bring your guns,' is a reference to Oakland California. Slay a few animals at the crossroads left out on the yard at the crossroads is a reference to the KKK in Indiana. Indiana Jones..?. I'm playing go fish here but it's making sense to me... A lot of people disagreed with Jim Jones. So... Everything about this song makes sense. The Soft Parade is a real composition. It's about commercial civil tensions in america. White people is not a valid categorization of people. All kinds of different people built this country from Manhattan Sunshine. Georgia is the 4th state. There's a lot of history built into this song. The silent generation and early baby boomers think a certain way and it's in Jim Morrisons lyrics. The lights are getting brighter? To describe sailors to the underfed? What? White? What got us this far to this mild equator. Black people have a code they sort of speak in through their predicament. We do this too but aren't aware of it in the way they are. It all makes sense but we all know how that works right? We need someone or something new something else to get us through. I think that's Bout Jim Jones but probably not . You got to meet me. Too late, baby. Slay a few animals. At the crossroads. Too late. All in the yard. But it's getting harder. By the crossroads. Oh, we're going great at the edge of town. Got to come along. It's all about America . I swear to God. It's a pretty scary song honestly. I've tripped on some kind of acid drugs since 14 til and stuff so yeah it's possible I'm just hearing all his from this song. It's not a bad trip it's just aware of the devil. Not living in reaction to the devil but being aware of him in living people is very valuable. It's all real. Everything about this song gives me a flow state and give me room to work and make shifts and do personal experiments. Tropic corridor, Tropic treasure, what got us this far to this mild equator? Primitive and intrinsic intensity is still very important and controversial. We all want to make money doing nothing and do what ever we want basically. Just have everyone else do the work for us. We all know this..... That's my take on this song. .... Please give me feed back thank you guys!!!.... hahaha!
William from Gwinnett County GeorgiaI'm from Indiana and this song didn't make sense until I moved to Georgia and went to black church. This song's f--king insmaey
Limp Mcduffey from CtWhip the horses eyes comes from Crime & Punishment, Dostoevsky. It is one of the most intense scenes from the book which I can imagine Morrison what deeply affected by. The term "whipping the horses" eyes means that everything else has run out so why not do the only thing left. Possibly the most violent thing. Just my opinion.
Bob from Milwaukee, WiWhat's beautiful about this song... is that only certain people really get what this band is doing. Love this one.
Bil from Cardigan, United KingdomThe Soft parade is what happens when super "relaxed" sitting there, warm in the sun, maybe on the strip or where you live as the world in all it variety passes slowly by as your eyes inexorably and almost timelessly close... isn't it?
Dan from Kittery Point, MeI have to agree on the wtf about this being the Doors most commercial album. Shamans Blues? Soft Parade? Gimme a break. Want to know what this song means? Sing it. Sing it till you know it. Jim Morrison was my inspiration as a vocalist and a lyricist. You can't fail to FEEL this song when you sing it. If you were alive then, and part of what was going on, and watching all those high hopes and dreams fade into shabby violence, ego politics and sexual predator gurus, this song lives. And it lives just as well now, when life gets to that point. I still sing it. Don't get too analytical, your mind will blind you.
Ulrik from Haslev, Denmarkwhip the horses eyes is an indian trip hidden in the tune,rytme. it will burn all the f--ked stuff out of your head and body. a horsehead is right in front of you with eyes of fire and you swing a whip over the horses head to the rytme. make them sleep and cry. he is takin about people with mental illness.. I dont know why it came over me maybe I was nerly going crazy. rip jim. the indians knew some crazy stuf ey.
Dogg from Tulsa, OkThis is one of the most unique and creative albums from the greatest band to ever exist. Why critics panned it only speaks to why it is that those who don't have talent, criticize. Morrison wrote lyrics beyond anything other bands have been capable of, and the other three were just born to play together. As for this song, it is epic. I understood the term "soft parade" after I dropped acid many years ago. I don't recommend it to others now.
Mona from Grand Marsh, WiThis song took 11 months to record. The producer was a perfectionist. I forget his name.
Gerwin from Amsterdam, NetherlandsThey actually played this live once more that I know of, at Madison Square Garden in 1969.
Davíd from Woburn, MaI've always found it ironic that people viewed this album as the Doors "selling-out" and resorting only to pop music. There is nothing pop-oriented on this album. Overall, it is probably one of their more spacy. Oh, and on the remastered version, there is an intorduction to this song: I am troubled immeasurably by your eyes, I am struck by the feather of your soft reply. The sound of glass speaks quick disdain, and conceals what your eyes fight to explain.... It's awesome!
Jesse from San Antoino, Tx"This is the best part of the trip This is the trip, the best part"
Jesse from San Antoino, Txawesome song to trip on
Chloe from St. Louis, MoThe weirdest song ever? I think so.
Welcome to the Soft Parade. :)
Barry from New York, NcMischi from Malmoe, Sweden what the !$%@! are you babbling about?? Poor grammar and spelling too. Regardless, THE SOFT PARADE is a great song. When I was in College I helped organize a scavanger hunt! When I was thinking of things the contestants needed to find, I thought of this song. So the scavanger hunt list included these items: 1) peppermint 2) miniskirt 3)chocolate candy 4)champion SOCKS 5)A girl named Sandy (signature or photo of drivers license).
Kadir Köz from Istanbul, TurkeyVery Acidic
Mischi from Malmoe, SwedenI thought whipping the horses eye was a referance to animal farm, like we are all pigs (coming back to 'I dunno whats gonna happen, but I tell you this, I am gonna have my kicks before the whole s--thouse goes up in flames'), like some kind of conscience arising in the mad raver.
My brother usually conects me with this Jim (before an eventuall conscience) and he thought it was about shooting heroin lika a last exit for the lost (and I tell u this, that Will make you sleep And cry), then of course maybe its just a song about a boy and his magic dragon.
Theese references to nihilism and escpecially Crime and punishment that is a lot about concience fits quite well (like nihilsm is the way to be if ur on H. and well, -concience was my theory).
This May show that, when ur connected (to the left and the right) u will have acces to wisdom greater than ur own.
Have you ever considered enlightment, real enlightment, enlightment of mind, even big brothers?
The thing about the shallow grave, was told to me from the greatest doorshead ever lived (R.I.P.) was about reincarnation. He gave me my first and only dose of H. btw.
Maybe the monk buying in to all bs around is what interfeeres with a subtle reentry after death. The man I'd say is a reference to the Grim reeper, like in Canterbury tales;)
The four ways to get unravel are the four types of psychedelic experience, acording to Learys translation of the Tibetan Book of the dead.
Then comes death iniviteably, the only thing is it carries the small infant (post mortem the mind is already getting ready for reentry), to the river styx, witch makes it forget who he was.
And even if u ride with the angels from hell, no one gets out of it alive (that is a paraphrase to u wont get back from the other side-remembering).
The succesfull hills are obviously the hobbits houses, since some mortal may learn to remember like where they lived in a past life, kind of strange dontcha think that everyone was a Pharao or Mahardja in past lives?
Theese hills are mentioned also by Marshall matters, so a higher level of enlightment than Slim's is not possible, now Jim sees this, and he creates a city that would make Tim Burton jelous with all the funny colours.
And he realises there is nothing you can do but going with the flow. Even if you wants something good to die for to make it beautiful to live. With giving in to the urge to plunge into the abyss, he becomes a victim to energy suckling vampires making the world around him more primitive, harder to describe the most basic of his games, the pirates he came with are sailing by, and he tries to be humble and ask for forgiveness, and perhaps it´s all about adrenochrome.
Did I pass?
Joe from Chicago, IlDid no one else catch the reference to Crime and Punishment at the end? The horses eyes being wiped? Nietzsche was a fan of the book and it is likely the reason he had a breakdown upon seeing the horse.
Roy from Granbania, MaThe many mood changes in this song make it reminiscent of a modern classical piece, with its many movements (however it is not necessarily classical in styling). This makes the song very interesting and catchy overall. The lyrics are quite complicated but remain very deep and beautiful.
Rose from Philadelphia, Paput everthing away.nothing but this song,close ur eyes and listen,really listen.open ur eyes now tell me how do u feel!!!!???
Infidel from Pittsburgh, PaNietzche, nihilism, and acid... what a combination.
Sean from Chicago, IlI'm surprised that nobody appears to have been through high school...the lyrics to this song -- except, of course, "peppermint, miniskirts, chocolate candy, champion sax and a girl named Sandy" -- are VERY Canterbury Tales, including "The monk bought lunch."
Mike from Windsor, CanadaI thought it was a great song. I especially like how the mood changes alot.
Dubravko from Kakanj, BosniaHis sanctuary was his death (I think). The Man is at the door... soft asylum...Think about it! THE MAN (him) at the door of the other world.
Tristan from Philadelphia, PaI love this song, especially when things get crazy after "the monk brought lunch" by far the best song on the album. And in responce to Nick from Buffalo, JIm and the other Doors were very close and had a great relationship, however as the Doors became bigger and progressed in the music world, Jim distances himself more and more from them making it difficult for anyone to really help him. Plus he cheated on all the women who loved him.
Dave from Philadelphia, PaIt is beleived that the lines"can you give me santuary, i must find a place to hide" is about Morrison faking his death and hiding in another country to avoid the public.
D from Many, MaThe clip (mixed?) from the Doors dvd (per Stone) has the best recording of this song, I think. His voice was at the pinnical right there. Godly.
Jonathon from Clermont, FlThis is one of the songs on the album that's actually worth listening to.
Douglas from Melbourne, FlYou cannot petiton the Lord with prayer! That tells everybody that just goes through the motions with their religion, will be surprised to find out that by not believing in the Almighty, and think just by prayer they will be saved, is and will be sorry. You have to believe.
Bill from Erie, PaSumner: Nietzsche never even argued for nihilism, much less invented it. He actually was very much against the "anything goes" attitude.
Cameron from Irvine, CaThe live version was performed on PBS in 1969 weeks after the Miami incident. I agree, this version is better.
Brian from Alluhrst, Njthis song seams to be very anti religon
Ashley from Moncton, CanadaThis song has some wicked lyrics.
Steve from Philly, PaThis song symbolizes an escape, a parade to be marched for all who need to escape real life and all the bulls--t and hardness it can give you and that you go through. Morrison saw this as a magical place, imaginary or real, that was all about having fun, no worries. The beginning may be seen as a cry and it in fact does present the song as an escape or a helping place people need to go to to get away and do what they want. the crazy lyrics are that in fact showing how it is crazy, it is whatever happens and anything can happen. He saw it as a place where things wern't normal and ordinary. The lines, "all our lives we sweat and save, building for a shallow grave, must be something else, we say", also signify the escape and the want for something different. we are all going to be the same way and the sweating and saving is not worth it to him. the fun and the parade is our cry for help and our time and place of fun in life or outside of it.
Robert from Puyallup, WaThe "Sanctuary" section, near the beginning of the song, is one of the most moving things The Doors ever recorded. Jim's plaintive singing, accompanied by harpsichord, is stunning.
Nelle from Lima, PeruThis song kicks ass.... Everything must be this way Everything must beee this waaay
Sumner from Paragould, AkK from New Jersey is probably right. This hasn't been said by the Doors, Jim or in any of his biographies but it seems to be the best explanation. Nietzche was one of Jim's favorite Germanic philosophers and the founder of nihilism. Nietzche went into a nervous breakdown which he never recovered from after seeing a horse whipped across the eye in the city of Milan. He died a few years later.
K from Lbi, Njat the end of the song morrision says " when all else fails we can whip the horses eyes, and make the sleep, and cry", i believe this was taken from one of the last things that philosipher Nietzche said. Nietzche said it because he saw a horse get whipped across the eye. Nietzche didnt say this directly but it would explain what happened.
Josh from Montrose, MiLater on an audio commentary on a DVD, the surviving members of the Doors admitted they didn't know what the hell Jim was saying. John Densmore emphasized the "If all else fails you can whip the horses eyes, and bleed and cry.." that he thought that was really f--kin wierd.
Nick from Buffalo, NyPersonaly i beleave that at this point Jim was falling deeper and deeper into severe depresion. In the opening lines are an out right cry for help. If he had any real friends they should have seen this. The song is phenominal absolutely...but where were his real friends???
Jeff from Wyckoff, NjA true soft "parade" of great Morrison poetry...just another example of America's Greatest Poet
Niko from Davis, CaThe live version on Essential Rarities is so great. I love it.
Jojo from Hawkes Bay, New ZealandI love this song too! Cool beat and I love the line of the "cobra on myleft, leopard on my right".
Patrick from Durham, NcIt is where the Doors peak creatively. There is nothing Pop-like on the album.
Patrick from Durham, NcThe Soft Parade is the best Doors song musically and lyrically. This song is about more than is said above. "The Soft Parade" is a metaphor for life and how crazy and interesting it can be. It is rooted in insanity. Great bassline.
John Lennon's lead guitar work on Yoko Ono's "Walking On Thin Ice" proved to be his final creative act. It was upon their return home after completing laying down the track that Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman.