Behind The Song lyrics: “Touch Me” by The Doors

Perhaps no artist before or since has oozed the amount or quality of sexuality as The Doors frontman Jim Morrison. Shirtless, eyes riveted on your soul, neck bent, locks of curly lion’s mane hair, the guy had this.

So it’s no surprise that some of The Doors’ most popular songs share this same sexualized quality. For proof, see: “Touch me”.

Released in December 1968 on the album The sweet parade, the track was written by Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. The power rock song is loved for many reasons, including its bright and shiny brass section, which features a saxophone solo from Houston-born musician Curtis Amy. The album is the only one of the group to feature brass in such an important way.

The song aired as a standalone single 53 years ago. “Touch Me” skyrocketed to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the band’s last hit in the top 10 in the United States. The following year, 1969, the song reached number 1 in America’s British charts).

The Doors, which formed in 1965, functionally ended after Morrison’s death in 1971 in Paris from still contested causes. No autopsy was performed on his body. The band released more albums after Morrison’s death and ended up with a few gigs, but without their leader unfortunately it wasn’t the same.

Since Morrison’s passing, the band’s co-founder and signature keyboardist Ray Manzarek has also passed away. Morrison and Manzarek are survived by Krieger and drummer John Densmore.

Bruce Botnick, a sound engineer who worked with The Doors, wrote in the sleeve notes that the song had several working titles, including “I’m Gonna Love You” and “Hit Me”. The original line was also: “Go hit me… I’m not scared.” Instead of the now famous “Come on now, touch me”.

According to legend, however, Morrison changed the lyrics, fearing that potential drunk audiences could take the opening line as a challenge and attempt to literally punch him on stage or from a distance with a projectile.

At the end of the song, Morrison yells “Louder Than Dirt,” which at the time was a line from an Ajax cleaner commercial. What a free spirit.

The song is in B flat minor and in a 4/4 time signature. But more important than all of this is the to feel of the song. It immediately comes alive. Morrison sings:

Go, go, go, go
Now touch me baby
Can’t you see that I’m not afraid?

What a supplication! The song is rock and strip club at the same time! Morrison continues, deep throated croon:

What was that promise you made?
Why don’t you tell me what she said?
What was that promise you made?

Now i will love you
Until the heavens stop the rain

With Morrison singing and screaming, Manzarek tickling the keys, and the horns and beats reinforcing the big beast of a song, the result was a success through and through. It’s a testament to The Doors’ endurance and Morrison’s charm.

And since its release, “Touch Me” has graced dorms, rock clubs, bars, TV shows, movies, and many other notable arenas.

In this way, it touched us all.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images


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