Staffer Reviews: “The End” by The Doors

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Staffer Reviews: “The End” by The Doors

Gabe Hales, Staff Reporter

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As an avid music listener and connoisseur, not many bands can really stick with me. Of course there’s always that song or album that I love and obsess over for maybe a month, two tops, but it never goes beyond that. I call the end of this two-or-so month period the “musical horizon.” If a song, album or band is able to be loved and enjoyed after this two month period, it has passed the horizon, automatically deeming it one of my favorites. But much like the “event horizon” of a black hole, it’s very hard to get there.

Only a select few artists have crossed this threshold, and among my favorite, and longest running, artists to do so, are The Doors.

I can remember being about five or six driving with my dad to the beach, every window was down and the song ‘Light My Fire’ was blasting at full volume. He would try his very best to hit the high (and low) notes with Morrison, all the while playing his imaginary guitar and drumming on the driver’s wheel as we headed down the road. It’s memories like this that stick with you in that hidden corner of your mind, only to be unlocked years later when you somehow find the song again. I think that’s where my love for this band started. It’s not until my later years that the fondness matured, much like myself.

I could go on and on about how this band has changed my life and the way I look at music, but I’m actually going to focus this review on one particular song, ‘The End’.

This piece is special in many ways, being one of the first 11 minute epics to be put on a hit album. And it comes in many different stories. The song began with the band’s starting gigs at a local bar in their hometown, Los Angeles, called the “Whiskey a Go-Go,” where The Doors were forced to play two sets a night, driving them to stretch out and experiment with some of their songs. After many months of this, ‘The End’ was born, and they would finish off every set they had with it echoing through the bar. Funnily enough, this song is what eventually got them kicked out of the venue as the lead singer, Jim Morrison, yelled the lyric “kill the father, f–k the mother!” over and over. Thankfully this didn’t come as a huge blow to the band, as they had recently signed a record deal with the company Elektra.

Morrison often stated many things about this song, relating it to his relationship with his mother and the hatred he had for his father and in other cases, relating it to the journey of death, but ultimately concluding that “It can be whatever the listener wants it to be.”

When they first tried to record this piece, Morrison was tripping on acid which was unknown to the rest of the band.

The Mojo Collection states: “Comprehensively wrecked, the singer [Morrison] wound up lying on the floor mumbling the words to his Oedipal nightmare. Then, suddenly animated, he rose and threw a TV at the control room window. Sent home by producer Paul Rothchild like a naughty schoolkid, he returned in the middle of the night, broke in, peeled off his clothes, yanked a fire extinguisher from the wall and drenched the studio. Alerted, Rothchild came back and persuaded the naked, foam-flecked Morrison to leave once more, advising the studio owner to charge the damage to Elektra; next day the band nailed the track in two takes. Morrison lived for only another five years.”

The final recording was done with all the lights off in the studio except for a small lit candle next to Morrison, leading the band’s Producer Paul Rothchild to say it was “one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever had in a recording studio.” This is also said to be the final thing Morrison heard as he passed away in Paris in 1971.

Personally, this composition has come with me through many periods of my life, and no matter the time or the feeling I have when I start it, I always somehow find peace with myself and enjoy it until the very end.