When the Music’s Over – The Doors Meaning

On May 20, 2013, Ray Manzarek, co-founder and permanent member of the rock band The Doors, died. He was a brilliant keyboard player and a bold experimenter. Without him, the music of the legendary band would never have been so original and spectacular.

In memory of Ray Manzarek, an article about When the Music’s Over.

History of creation and meaning

Almost all compositions of The Doors cause ambiguous emotions in the listeners and cause controversy regarding their meaning. The words of the song When the Music’s Over are also interpreted by music lovers in different ways. Some argue that Jim Morrison meant to say that music is the essence of life. Others say he meant the commercialization of art. Still others are convinced that the song showed The Doors leader’s obsession with death.

In general, there is no official version, so you can choose any or stick to your own. I would be glad if you share your personal assumptions.

The lyrics of When the Music’s Over are full of allusions. For example, there are references to biblical scenes (“Persian night/See the light/Save us/Jesus”).

Jim allegedly saw the phrase The Scream of the Butterfly on a poster with the name of a pornographic film known at that time. They also say that the expression When the music’s over/Turn out the lights was the last words of Adolf Hitler, but this is hard to believe.

According to Robbie Krieger, When the Music’s Over was inspired by the work of John Coltrane.

Release and achievements

This composition was included in the album Strange Days, released at the end of 1967, but by that time the group had been performing it for about a year and a half. It is known that on the day when the members of The Doors recorded the track, Jim did not come to the studio, so Ray Manzarek sang instead of him. Morrison performed the vocals the next day.

Critics said that When the Music’s Over was too similar to The End, but this did not prevent the song from becoming one of the best in the work of The Doors.

Interesting Facts

  • This is the third longest song by The Doors (after Celebration of the Lizard and The End).
  • The album Absolutely Live included a sixteen-minute version of When the Music’s Over.
  • The keyboard intro from When the Music’s Over is based on the break from Soul Kitchen.
  • The song was used in the working version of the film “Apocalypse Now” (Kurtz’s murder scene), but in the final version it was replaced by The End.

When the Music’s Over Lyrics

When the music’s over
When the music’s over, yeah
When the music’s over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights, yeah

When the music’s over
When the music’s over
When the music’s over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights

For the music is your special friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
until the end
until the end
until the end

Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection
Send my credentials to the House of Detention
I got some friends inside

The face in the mirror won’t stop
The girl in the window won’t drop
A feast of friends
“Alive!” she cried
Waitin’ for me
outside!

Before I sink
Into the big sleep
I want to hear
I want to hear
The scream of the butterfly

Come back baby
Back into my arm
We’re gettin’ tired of hangin’ around
Waitin’ around with our heads to the ground

I hear a very gentle sound
Very near yet very far
Very soft, yeah, very clear
Come today, come today

What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down

I hear a very gentle sound
With your ear down to the ground
We want the world and we want it…
We want the world and we want it…
Now
now?
Now!

Persian night babe
See the light babe
Save us!
Jesus!
Save us!

So when the music’s over
When the music’s over, yeah
When the music’s over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights

Well the music is your special friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
until the end
until the end
until the end!

When the Music’s Over Lyrics

When the music stops
When the music stops, yeah
When the music stops
Turn off the light,
Turn off the light,
Turn off the lights, yeah

When the music stops
When the music stops
When the music stops
Turn off the light,
Turn off the light,
Turn off the light

After all, music is your special friend
Dance on the coals as intended
Music is your only friend
Until the very end,
Until the very end,
Until the very end

Cancel my subscription to Resurrection
Send my recommendations to the remand prison
I have friends there

The face in the mirror won’t stop
The girl in the window won’t stop
Feast of friends
“Alive!” she exclaimed,
waiting for me
Outside

Before I dive
Into deep sleep
I want to hear,
I want to hear
The piercing cry of a butterfly

Come back baby
Come back to my arms
We get tired of hanging around
Long wait for something, burying your head in the sand

I hear a very quiet sound
Very close, but at the same time very far
Very quiet, yes, very clear
Come today, come today

What did they do to the land?
What did they do to our pure sister?
Plundered, ruined, devastated and torn to pieces,
They pierced her with knives from the side of dawn,
Tied her up with fences and ruined her

I hear a very quiet sound
Put your ear to the ground
We want peace and we want it…
We want peace and we want it…
Now
Now?
Now!

persian night baby
See the light, baby
Save us!
Jesus!
Save us!

So when the music stops
When the music stops, yeah
When the music stops
Turn off the light,
Turn off the light,
Turn off the light

Well, music is your special friend
Dance on the coals as intended
Music is your only friend
Until the very end,
Until the very end,
Until the very end!

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