The Hit Songs Deconstructed Wire

Penn’s Pick: The Doors – Not To Touch The Earth



Band: The Doors
Song/Album Not To Touch The Earth / Waiting For The Sun
Writers: Densmore, Morrison, Krieger, Manzarek
Year Released: 1968
Genre/Sub Genre: Rock / Heavy, Dark, Foreboding Acid Rock

Why it’s a “Penn’s Pick”:

Founded in 1965, The Doors were the antithesis of the peace, love and happiness that permeated the air in the mid to late 1960’s. While other bands were singing about being “Happy Together,” finding “Somebody To Love” and having “Good Vibrations,” The Doors were singing about “Breaking On Through To The Other Side,” “Strange Days” and the “Celebration Of The Lizard.”

Morrison’s dark, poetic lyrics coupled with the infectious, evocative music provided by Manzarek, Densmore and Krieger gave rise to some of the best crafted, most enduring songs of the era.

No band before or since has sounded like The Doors, though many have tried. The Doors had a unique vibe all their own, and it was this quality, along with the strength of their compositions, which enabled them to stand the test of time.

A perfect example of the band at the peak of their powers, and a personal favorite of mine, is “Not To Touch The Earth. Though never released as a single, it’s a tour de force of a song that epitomizes the social upheaval of the late 1960’s.

It’s characterized by Morrison’s dark, poetic lyrics (“dead president’s corpse in the driver’s car, the engine runs on glue and tar…”) and the foreboding, hypnotic backing music which increases in intensity throughout until reaching a rousing crescendo where Morrison proclaims those infamous words, “I am the lizard king. I can do anything.”

The song was featured on The Door’s 1968 album “Waiting For The Sun,” but was originally slated to be a component of the complete work, “The Celebration Of The Lizard,” which never made it onto vinyl during The Door’s career.

This version, culled from their 1970 performance at the Felt Forum, captures the band at their most intense, dark and primal.