This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #343: The End by The Doors.
Whenever I go to write one of these music posts, I always start by conducting my own research. Sometimes, I already know the story behind the song and am just searching for details such as record sales totals or the exact year the singer/band was inducted to The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But, sometimes, while I may be familiar with the song, I don’t know the story of how it came to be so, I read as many sources as I can and then, I try to figure out the best avenue for storytelling that these new facts present to me. This was the case with “The End” by “The Doors”.
Of course, I was aware of who “The Doors” were. Jim Morrison was a legendary frontman who, along with Ray Manzarek (on keyboards), Robbie Kreiger (on guitar) and John Densmore (on drums) produced some of the most famous songs of the 1960s and 70s such as “Break On Through”, “L.A. Woman”, “Light My Fire” and, the one featured in this post, “The End”. I already knew that “The End” was a hit at the time of its release and that it gained a second wind when it was used over the opening credits in the Academy Award-winning movie, “Apocalypse Now”. But, I never knew the story of how Morrison came to write “The End”. I have to tell you, it is incredibly bizarre……the most bizarre background information I have read about any singer or group so far. Here is my report.
Initially, “The End” was written about the break-up of a relationship he had with his girlfriend. That, in and of itself, is not bizarre in the least. But, as many of you know, Jim Morrison was into drugs in his 20s and, as such, he began to have visions and revelations about what his life was becoming and how he saw himself evolving as a human. One of the things that influenced him and his vision-quest was the song, “The End”. The more he performed it, the more meaning it began to hold for him. The meaning changed to include focussing on the old classic tale of Oedipus Rex. There are many live recordings of “The End” in which Morrison speaks aloud about killing his father and “f**king” his mother. His reasoning was for him to cast off any and all residual influences they may have had in shaping who he had become so that he could, like an insect molting, be reborn, totally new and unsullied by past baggage.
I kid you not.
This is the information I found, from multiple sources, including eye witness accounts from Densmore and Manzarek. If any of you know differently, feel free to let us all know in the comments. But, for now, that is my story about Jim Morrison and “The End” and I am sticking to it. There are many live versions of this song out there on YouTube and the Interweb. Many are quite long and quite a few are filled with Morrison’s rambling monologues about his mother. If you want to hear him talk about “f**king” his mother, check out the video from Madison Square Garden. For this post, I am going with the opening scene from “Apocalypse Now” because that is one of my favourite movies of all time. So, there you have it. Here is “The End” by “The Doors”. Have a wonderful day, all!
The link for the video to the song, “The End” by The Doors, as used in the motion picture, “Apocalypse Now”, can be seen here.
The pin to the official website for The Doors, can be seen here.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post…..even if the research that went into it is kinda disturbing! The link to their official website can be found here.