Not to Touch the Earth

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"Not to Touch the Earth"
Song by The Doors
from the album Waiting for the Sun
ReleasedJuly 13, 1968
RecordedFebruary–May 1968
GenrePsychedelic rock
Songwriter(s)Jim Morrison
Producer(s)Paul A. Rothchild

"Not to Touch the Earth" is a 1968 song by The Doors from their album Waiting for the Sun. It stems from Jim Morrison's poem, "Celebration of the Lizard". A recording of the complete poem was attempted at the sessions for the album, but only the musical passage Not to Touch the Earth was deemed fit for release.[1] The poem was released on the album sleeve in written form. The complete poem was released in 2003 on the Legacy: The Absolute Best compilation, and the re-issue of Waiting for the Sun.

Lyrical meaning[edit]

The song begins, "Not to touch the earth, not to see the sun..." These are subchapters of the 60th chapter of The Golden Bough by James Frazer. The chapter is called "Between Heaven and Earth", with subchapter 1, "Not to Touch the Earth", and subchapter 2, "Not to See the Sun".[2] These subchapters detail taboos against certain people (generally royalty or priests) walking upon the ground or having the sun shine directly upon them. Frazer had noted that these superstitions were recurring throughout many primitive cultures, and appeared to be related to traditions and taboos concerning menarche and the following female initiation rites. Frazer's work had an influence on Morrison, according to the biography No One Here Gets Out Alive (1980).

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by Deceased, Marilyn Manson, Queens of the Stone Age, Bile, Nicole Atkins, Madrugada and Otep.


  1. ^ Weidman, Rich (2011-10-01). The Doors FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Kings of Acid Rock. Backbeat Books. ISBN 9781617131103.
  2. ^ Frazer, James George (2009-05-01). The Golden Bough: A Study of Magic and Religion. The Floating Press. ISBN 9781775410560.

External links[edit]