The tragedy of losing Jim Morrison at the tender age of 27 is one that still rings out across rock and roll to this day and is only heightened when revisiting his and The Doors remarkable set of songs. Few artists embodied the counterculture as effectively as The Lizard King, and, as well as being one of the scene’s foremost lyricists; he had a unique vocal delivery that provided transcendent moments of unmatched poetry. Caught between singing the bridge and living under it, Morrison was the archetypal poet — deft, a little drunken and always dexterous.
Few songs capture all of these facets more accurately than The Doors song ‘The End’. It’s a song that has gone on to not only define the output of The Doors — easily thought of as one of their best — but also render Morrison as an artist most vibrantly, despite the subject matter at hand. Below, we can hear every nuance in the isolated vocal of Jim Morrison for The Doors song ‘The End’.
The song may well rank as one of the gorup’s finest on record, but it is also the most confusing. There are countless themes within the song, and Jim Morrison wasn’t even that sure what the track actually meant. Speaking with Rolling Stone, Morrison elucidated the meaning of the track and how it was never a concrete theme. “Let’s see…Oedipus is a Greek myth. Sophocles wrote about it. I don’t know who before that. It’s about a man who inadvertently killed his father and married his mother. Yeh, I’d say there was a similarity, definitely.”
Adding: “But to tell you the truth, every time I hear that song, it means something else to me. I really don’t know what I was trying to say. It just started out as a simple goodbye song.”
It’s a common feeling for artists. Writing pop songs isn’t an exact science, and there has to be a fair deal of trial and error when penning the tracks. The singer describes the track as a “simple goodbye song”, but who was Morrison saying goodbye to? “Probably just to a girl,” he continues, “But I could see how it could be goodbye to a kind of childhood. I really don’t know. I think it’s sufficiently complex and universal in its imagery that it could be almost anything you want it to be.”
However, this confusion or deliberate confoundment, depending on how favourably you view Morrison, does nothing to diminish Morrison’s performance vocally. In fact, with its hushed tone, potent and purposeful delivery and unique indifferent inflexions, one may argue that this is some of Morrison’s finest work behind the microphone.
Listen below and be transported back to the summer of love as we remind ourselves of Jim Morrison’s incredible power with his isolated vocal for The Doors song ‘The End’.