Break On Through (To the Other Side)
|"Break On Through (To the Other Side)"|
|Single by the Doors|
|from the album The Doors|
|B-side||"End of the Night"|
|Producer(s)||Paul A. Rothchild|
|The Doors singles chronology|
"Break On Through (To the Other Side)" is a song by the Doors from their debut album, The Doors. It was the first single released by the band and was unsuccessful compared with later hits, reaching only number 126 in the United States. Despite this, it became a concert staple and remains one of the band's signature and most popular songs. Twenty-four years after its original release, "Break On Through" became a minor hit in the UK after it was released as a single from the soundtrack album The Doors, peaking at number 64 in the singles chart.
The song appears as track one on the band's debut album. Elektra Records edited the line "she gets high," expecting that a drug reference would discourage airplay. The original album version and all re-issues until the 1990s have the word "high" deleted, with Morrison singing "she gets" four times before a final wail. Live versions and more recent remastered releases have the full line restored. Regardless, classic rock radio stations, the iTunes release and most compilations continue to use the censored version, as it is the version most familiar to listeners.
Musical structure and composition
The song is in 4/4 time and quite fast-paced. It begins with a bossa nova drum groove in which a clave pattern is played as a rim click underneath a driving ride cymbal pattern. John Densmore appreciated the new bossa nova craze coming from Brazil at the time, and decided to use it in the song. The bass line, similar to a typical bass line used in bossa nova, continues almost all of the way through the song.
Robby Krieger has stated that the guitar riff he played was inspired by the one in Paul Butterfield's version of the song "Shake Your Moneymaker" (originally by blues guitarist Elmore James). Later, a disjointed quirky organ solo is played quite similar to the introduction of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say", which has a few intentionally misplaced notes in it.
In a song review for AllMusic, critic Lindsay Planer comments that Morrison's lyrics "reveal a literacy that had rarely been incorporated into rock music":
Immediately the lyrics indicate that something is different ... "Break on Through" is structured like a love song. However, Morrison’s phraseology cleverly juxtaposes romantic lyrics such as "I found an island in your arms/A country in your eyes" with the almost sinister lines "arms that chain/Eyes that lie".
- Jim Morrison – lead vocals
- Ray Manzarek – Vox Continental organ, Fender Rhodes piano bass
- Robby Krieger – electric guitar
- John Densmore – drums
- Miller, Chuck. Warman's American Records. Krause Publications. p. 130. ISBN 1-4402-2821-3. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- Whitburn, Joel. Bubbling Under Singles & Albums (1998): 66.
- "The Story of "Break on Through" by the Doors". YouTube. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
- Planer, Lindsay. "The Doors: Break on Through (To the Other Side) – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Doors; 'Break On Through (To The Other Side)')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.