Saturday, December 20, 2008

The End

This is the end, Beautiful friend
This is the end, My only friend, the end.
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end

I'll never look into your eyes...again
Can you picture what will be, So limitless so free
Desperately in need...of some...stranger's hand
In a...desperate land
Lost in a Roman...wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane, and all the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah
There's danger on the edge of town
Ride the king's highway, baby
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby
Ride the snake, ride the snake To the lake, the ancient
lake, baby
The snake is long, seven miles
Ride the snake, he's old, and his skin is cold
The west is the best, the west is the best
Get here and we'll do the rest
The blue bus is calling us, the blue bus is calling us
Driver where you takin' us
The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery
And he walked on down the hall

He went into the room where his sister lived, and...then he
Paid a visit to his brother, and then he

He walked on down the hall, and
And he came to a door...and he looked inside

Father, yes son, I want to kill you

Mother...I want to...fuck you
C'mon baby take a chance with us
meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin' a blue rock, on a blue bus
Doin' a blue rock, c'mon, yeah
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill

This is the end, Beautiful friend

This is the end, My only friend, the end It hurts to set you free
But you'll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die
This is the end.

- Released January 4, 1967

(Mary Werbelow and Jim Morrison on the right)

- Said (Jim) Morrison in 1969, "Everytime I hear that song, it means something else to me. It started out as a simple good-bye song probably just to a girl, but I see how it could be a 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." Producer Paul Rothchild said in an interview that he believed the song to be an inside trip, and that "kill the father" means destroying everything hierarchical, controlling, and restrictive in one's psyche, while "fuck the mother" means embracing everything that is expansive, flowing, and alive in the psyche. Ray Manzarek, the former keyboard player for the Doors spoke about it defensively saying,

"He was giving voice in a rock 'n' roll setting to the Oedipus complex, at the time a widely discussed tendency in Freudian psychology. He wasn't saying he wanted to do that to his own mom and dad. He was re-enacting a bit of Greek drama. It was theatre!" Reference

- Inspiration: Friedrich Nietzche's The Birth of Tragedy. Jim was quoted in the book, No One Here Gets Out Alive, "Oedipus, murderer of his father, husband of his mother, solver of the riddle of the Sphinx...You can really get into your head just repeating the slogan over and over."

"Sophocles had a romantic notion about Oedipus, one that Nietzche wrote about. He called Oedipus the "most sorrowful figure of the Greek stage...the type of noble man who despite his wisdom is fatal to error and misery, but who nevertheless, through his extraordinary sufferings, ulitmately exerts a magical, healing effect on all around him, which continues even after death." Reference pg. 98

- In 1969, Morrison said in an interview that songs like The End and When The Music's Over were free-form pieces that became static when they were recorded. They stopped changing. How do you feel about that?

PR(Paul Rothchild): Well, that's very hip, but not quite accurate. I saw the Doors perform The End no fewer than 100 times, and it simply wasn't that different most of the time - before and after we recorded it. Occasionally Jim would throw in lines - little bits of inspiration like a rhyming couplet - but most of the time the song had a very specific form.

When The End was first performed in the studio, we took almost a whole day to set it up, because it was a very complex piece to record. When we finally got the tape rolling, it was THE most awe-inspiring thing I'd ever witnessed in the studio. It's still one of the top musical events of my LIFE, and I've made over 160 records.

We were about 6 minutes into it when I turned to Bruce (Botnick, the Doors' engineer on every album) and said "Do you understand what's happening here? This is one of the most important moments in recorded rock 'n' roll." Bruce was a just a kid then, and he said, "Really?" I said, "Stop listening to the sound - it's fine - and listen to THE SONG." When it was done, I had goosebumps from head to toe. It was MAGIC.

I went into the studio, and I told them exactly what I just told you, and then, I asked them to do it again. "Let's make sure we've got it." So they did it again, and it was equally brilliant. Afterwards, Ray (Manzarek) said "Whew, I don't think we can do that any better.'"I said, "You don't have to. Between the two takes, we have one of the best masters ever cut." It turns out we used the front half of take one, and the back half of take two. We did the same thing with Light My Fire.

My point is, what you hear on the record is EXACTLY the way the Doors wanted you to hear 'The End'. We had done some trimming before we recorded it - cut away some fat - but what's there WAS the song. So I'd say Jim's statement is not quite the truth. Reference

The blue bus is calling us =The lyrical reference to "the Blue Bus" has been variously conjectured to refer to either Indian mystic Meher Baba's "Blue Bus" tours of the 1930s or to Santa Monica's "Big Blue Bus" public bus lines. The link to Meher Baba seems unlikely given the dark and nihilistic tone of the song, with its references to insanity, patricide and incest, concepts alien to the life and outlook of Meher Baba. A reference to a bus line is a somewhat better possibility, but probably the most likely conjecture is that Morrison was referring to the drug numorphan (oxymorphone), an opioid substitute for morphine, which in the drug culture at the time was often referred to as "The Blue Bus" (it was available in blue 10mg instant-release tabs). Because of its highly euphoric effect Numorphan was very popular with the drug using community before it was withdrawn from the market in the 1970's. Given Morrison's well-known affinity for drug and alcohol use, and the overall "otherworldly" tenor of the song, this seems a more likely probability. The inspiring image would be that of being together with one's lover in the altered, dreamy state of consciousness induced after taking the powerful opiate-like drug. Similarly, the line "the blue bus is calling us" likely refers to the addictive attraction of oxymorphone that develops in abusers of the drug, and "driver where you takin' us" would refer, again, to the dreamy, exploratory, unpredictable state of altered consciousness experienced while under the influence of the drug.

Another explanation for "the Blue Bus" phrase would be as a reference to the blue buses that, in the United States, military inductees boarded for transport to basic training during the era of the Vietnam War, when the song was written. Morrison may have intended it to be an anti-Vietnam anthem. Morrison's father was an admiral in the U.S. Navy and as a "navy brat", he was familiar with military life; no doubt he saw many "blue buses" in his youth. Reference

- Doin' the blue rock = I am not able to confirm this, and none of the slang references to drugs in the 60's can confirm this, but I am led to believe that Jim Morrison is referring to this.

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