A (brief) look into the lyrical work of Jim Morrison’s poetry epic

Full Song

Jim Morrison was never known for being the sanest of people. After all, he did earn the title of “the mad poet” along with a slew of other names over the course of his career with his successful band, The Doors, including “the lizard king.” This title stemmed from a poetry epic that never made it to a studio album titled “The Celebration of the Lizard.”

The seven-part song was meant to cover an entire side of their third LP released in 1968, Waiting for the Sun. However, The Doors’ longtime producer Paul Rothchild deemed the psychedelic spoken word song unmarketable—in another blog, it was stated he favoured hit singles over the poetry epic—and with Morrison slipping further into the throes of alcoholism, the project was scrapped.

The lyrics read like an excerpt from Morrison’s life: he went down south across the border/left the chaos and disorder/back there over his shoulder, much like the way Morrison ran away from home to San Francisco.

Morrison obviously alludes to his (psychedelic) drug use: you should try this little game/just close your eyes forget your name/forget the world, forget the people/and we’ll erect, a different steeple.

And as the song progresses through the separate parts, it seeps deeper past “the realm of pain” as Morrison puts it, making less and less sense—unless you, of course, knew Morrison’s mind (and there’s far too much to look at anyways).

One section of The Celebration of the Lizard made it to a studio album, “Not to Touch the Earth,” highlighting that maybe this project wasn’t an all out failure. And even though this poetry epic was meant to be what Morrison was known for, the lizard king still reigns supreme.