Five to One

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"Five to One"
Song by The Doors from the album Waiting for the Sun
Released July 13, 1968
Recorded February–May 1968
Length 4:24
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Jim Morrison
Producer(s) Paul A. Rothchild
Waiting for the Sun track listing
Yes, the River Knows
"Five to One"

"Five to One" is a song by The Doors, from their 1968 album Waiting for the Sun.


Part of the song ("Your ballroom days are over, baby/Night is drawing near/Shadows of the evening/crawl across the years"), was seemingly lifted from the 19th-century hymnal and bedtime rhyme "Now the Day is Over" ("Now the day is over/Night is drawing nigh/Shadows of the evening/Steal across the sky") by Morrison.[1] Similarly, Morrison quoted the "Christian child's prayer" in a live version of "Soul Kitchen" sung in 1969[2] and also altered the children's rhyme "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over The candlestick" to suit part of his poem An American Prayer ("Words dissemble/Words be quick/Words resemble walking sticks").[3] Morrison was possibly referring to a Dylan Thomas story entitled The Fight in Thomas' Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog,[4] where the central character reads from a poem called Warp ("[...] Five into one, the one made of five into one, early/Suns distorted too late.").

The lyrics/lines “Your ballroom days are over […]/You walk across the floor [of the ballroom?]/Trade in your hours for a handful of dimes [Brother, can you spare a dime?] could be a reference to Horace McCoys’s 1935 novel (and 1969 movie, a year after the release of Waiting For The Sun) They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? about a Depression-era marathon dance set in La Monica Ballroom over the Pacific Ocean on Santa Monica Pier near Los Angeles.

Public performances[edit]

The song's most famous performance was at the 1969 Miami concert at the Dinner Key Auditorium. Towards the end of the performance, a drunken Morrison declared the audience "idiots" and "slaves". The concert would end with Morrison being accused of "attempting to incite a riot" among the concert goers, resulting in his arrest, and later conviction, for indecent exposure. This performance can be heard on Disc 1 of The Doors: Box Set and is depicted in Oliver Stone's film The Doors.

During the reunion of the original lineup of The Doors sans Jim Morrison on VH1 Storytellers, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots took up vocals. Before the performance Robby Krieger said Weiland was one of the few frontmen who could "fill Jim's leather pants". Scott said that "Five to One" was what inspired him to begin a career in rock music.

Cover versions and samples[edit]

Yuya Uchida & The Flowers recorded what is possibly the first cover in 1968 for their album Challenge!, although it was not released until it was included as a bonus track on a 2007 limited edition. Marilyn Manson released a studio cover of the song, while Velvet Revolver and the Russian band Splean (Russian: Сплин) have covered it live. The guitar solo on Pearl Jam's "Alive" was based on Ace Frehley's guitar solo on the Kiss song "She", which was in turn based on Robby Krieger's solo in "Five to One".[5] Rapper Jay Z sampled "Five to One" as the beat for his diss song of Nas and Mobb Deep called "Takeover". In 2011, American band Make Love and War released their remake of the song to coincide with the peak of the Arab Spring, with a video portraying images of toppled and at-risk Middle East dictators, as well as footage of past and present popular uprisings.[6]

Oasis released a song named "Waiting for the Rapture" (on 2008's Dig Out Your Soul) which is very similar to "Five to One".

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

Most recently, Beyonce performed "Five to One" as mash-up with her 2006 hit "Ring the Alarm" at the Global Citizen's Festival on September 26th 2015 a and on her 2016 The Formation World Tour

Appearances in other media[edit]


  1. ^ "Now the Day is Over". 2005-10-12. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  2. ^ [1] Archived July 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "An American Prayer (Ii) Lyrics - The Doors". Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  4. ^ "BBC Wales - Arts - Dylan Thomas - Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog". 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  5. ^ Gilbert, Jeff. "Prime Cuts: Mike McCready - The Best of Pearl Jam!". Guitar School. May 1995.
  6. ^ "Five To One by Make Love AND War". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 

External links[edit]