Break On Through (To the Other Side)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Break On Through (To the Other Side)"
Break On Through To the Other Side.jpg
Cover of the 1967 US single
Single by The Doors
from the album The Doors
B-side"End of the Night"
ReleasedJanuary 1, 1967 (1967-01-01)
RecordedAugust 1966 (1966-08)
GenrePsychedelic rock[1], proto-punk
Songwriter(s)The Doors
Producer(s)Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors singles chronology
"Break On Through (To the Other Side)"
"Light My Fire" / "The Crystal Ship"

"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[2] 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 US release, "Break On Through" became a minor hit in the UK, 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[edit]

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.[3] 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).[3]

Later, a disjointed quirky organ solo is played quite similar to the introduction of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say",[4] which has a few intentionally misplaced notes in it. The bass line, similar to a typical bass line used in bossa nova, continues almost all of the way through the song.


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Germany (BVMI)[5] Gold 250,000^



Stone Temple Pilots covered the song for the Doors tribute album Stoned Immaculate. Mexican hard rock band La Cuca has done a cover as a hidden track in their album La Racha. Heavy metal supergroup Adrenaline Mob also covered it on their EP Coverta.

When the Doors were featured on an episode of VH1 Storytellers, various guest singers filled in for Jim Morrison. Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland filled in and sang "Break On Through", along with the song he said inspired him to rock, "Five to One".

Serbian rock band Night Shift covered the song in 2002 on their debut album Undercovers.

American new wave band Blondie performed the song several times during their 1997–1999 comeback tours. They used it as opener of their first two comeback shows.[6]

British rock band Bush covered the song as a studio version but was never released officially.

Bono sang the chorus of the song during the bridge of U2's The Electric Co. while being held by an overweight shirtless man during a concert in Paris in 1987. This version can be heard on the album Live from Paris.

Marc Ribot's three man jazz punk combo Ceramic Dog covered it on their album Party Intellectuals.

In 2014, Noise-Pop duo The Raveonettes sampled the song on the opening track "Endless Sleeper" from the album Pe'ahi.[7]

Most recently, Alice Cooper covered the song with his supergroup Hollywood Vampires on their debut album, released September 11, 2015.


  1. ^ Chuck Miller (28 February 2011). Warman's American Records. Krause Publications. p. 130. ISBN 1-4402-2821-3. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Bubbling Under Singles & Albums (1998): 66.
  3. ^ a b "The Story of "Break on Through" by The Doors". YouTube. 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  4. ^ "Classic Albums The Doors". 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  5. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Doors; 'Break On Through (To The Other Side)')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2012-12-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "The Raveonettes - Endless Sleeper (Lyric Video / PE'AHI Full Album Stream)". YouTube. 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2016-09-30.