People Are Strange

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"People Are Strange"
PeopleAreStrange.jpg
Single by the Doors
from the album Strange Days
B-side"Unhappy Girl"
ReleasedSeptember 1967 (1967-09)
RecordedApril 1967
Genre
Length2:12
LabelElektra
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors singles chronology
"Light My Fire"
(1967)
"People Are Strange"
(1967)
"Love Me Two Times"
(1967)

"People Are Strange" is a song by the American rock band the Doors. It appears on the band's second studio album, Strange Days, released in September 1967. It was also issued the same month as a single, which peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and in the top ten on the Cash Box charts. The song was written by Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger, although credit was given to each of the Doors.[2] The single was released with "Unhappy Girl" as the B-side.

Writing[edit]

The song's composition started in early 1967.[3] According to Doors drummer John Densmore,[4] he and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, who had then been roommates, were visited by Jim Morrison who appeared to be "deeply depressed."[4] At Krieger's description, they later took a walk along Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles.[5] Morrison returned from the walk "euphoric" with the early lyrics of "People Are Strange".[4] Intrigued by the new lyrics, Krieger was convinced that the song was a hit upon hearing the vocal melody:[4]

[Morrison said] 'Yeah, I feel really good about this one. It just came to me all of a sudden ... in a flash – as I was sitting up there on the ridge looking out over the city.' His eyes were wild with excitement. 'I scribbled it down as fast as I could. It felt great to be writing again.' He looked down at the crumpled paper in his hand and sang the chorus in his haunting blues voice.

— John Densmore[4]

Overview[edit]

In a review for AllMusic, critic Tom Maginnis wrote the song "reflects the group's fascination with the theatrical music of European cabaret."[6] The song is about alienation and being an outsider, and Morrison may have addressed the song both to the hippie culture, to outsiders in general or to users of drugs such as LSD, or both.[6] Similarly, author Melissa Ursula Dawn Goldsmith felt that "People Are Strange" uses the "Expressionist idea of alienation and distanciation", and that the lyrics purposely express something positive as strange.[7] Densmore believes that the song was the manifestation of Morrison's "vulnerability".[3]

Billboard described the single as an "easy rocker with compelling lyric."[8] Cash Box called it a "smashing performance," saying that the "mid-speed setting ... adds kick to the black humor of the lyrical content" and that the "production and work are fantastic."[9]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
position
Canada RPM Top Singles[10] 1
New Zealand (Listener)[11] 9
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[12] 12
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[13] 10

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[14] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Echo & the Bunnymen cover[edit]

"People Are Strange"
Bunnymen peoplearestrange.jpg
Single by Echo & the Bunnymen
from the album The Lost Boys: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
B-side"Run, Run, Run"
Released1987
Length3:36
LabelWEA, EastWest
Songwriter(s)The Doors
Producer(s)Ray Manzarek
Echo & the Bunnymen singles chronology
"Bedbugs and Ballyhoo"
(1987)
"People Are Strange"
(1987)
"'The Peel Sessions'"
(1988)

British group Echo & the Bunnymen recorded a cover version of "People Are Strange" for the soundtrack of the 1987 film The Lost Boys. It was subsequently released as a single in 1987 reaching number 29 on the UK Singles Chart in February 1988[15] and number 13 on the Irish Singles Chart in 1991.[16]

The song was produced by Doors' keyboardist, Ray Manzarek.[17] A 12-inch version was released in February 1988 before the single was re-released in 1991. The B-sides were all the same as their previous release, "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo".

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1988) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[15] 29
Irish Singles Chart[16] 21
Chart (1991)
UK Singles Chart[15] 34
Irish Singles Chart[16] 13

Stina Nordenstam cover[edit]

"People Are Strange"
Stinanordenstam peoplearestrangesingle.jpg
Single by Stina Nordenstam
from the album People Are Strange
Released1998
GenreAlternative rock
Length5:39
LabelEastWest
Songwriter(s)The Doors
Producer(s)Ian Caple, Stina Nordenstam
Stina Nordenstam singles chronology
"Dynamite"
(1997)
"People Are Strange"
(1998)
"'Get on with Your Life'"
(2004)

Swedish singer-songwriter Stina Nordenstam covered "People Are Strange" on her 1998 cover album of the same name. A remix single was released in conjunction with the album. The UNKLE remix appears as a bonus track on the Japanese version of the album, and can also be found on UNKLE's box set, Eden.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Forty Years on, Jim Morrison Cult Thrives at Paris Cemetery". The Independent. July 1, 2011. Archived from the original on May 25, 2022. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  2. ^ Strange Days (Album notes). The Doors. New York City: Elektra Records. 1967. Back cover. EKS-74014.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ a b Hoskyns, Barney (2007). Strange Days (CD booklet). Rhino Entertainment Company. p. 7.
  4. ^ a b c d e Densmore, John (November 4, 2009). Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors. Random House Publishing Group. pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-0307429025.
  5. ^ Paul, Alan. "The Doors' Robby Krieger Sheds Light — Album by Album". Guitar World. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Maginnis, Tom. "The Doors: People Are Strange – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  7. ^ Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn. Listen to Classic Rock! Exploring a Musical Genre. ABC-CLIO. p. 93–94. ISBN 978-1440865787.
  8. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. September 9, 1967. p. 18. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  9. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. September 9, 1967. p. 24. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  10. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. November 4, 1967. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  11. ^ "Flavour of New Zealand". December 15, 1967.
  12. ^ "The Doors Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  13. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  14. ^ "British single certifications – Doors – People Are Strange". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  15. ^ a b c Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). HIT Entertainment. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  16. ^ a b c "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". IRMA. 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2008.
  17. ^ Adams, Chris (2002). Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen. New York: Soft Skull. p. 184. ISBN 1-887128-89-1.