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The Doors: “Break on Through (to the Other Side)”

The Hook: If you think it’s about death, you’re dead wrong.

Year: 1967

Album: The Doors

Writers: The Doors

Stats: Thoroughly ignored when released as the first single off The Doors’ debut album, “Break on Through” did not even appear on the Hot 100 chart. With the dawn of free-form FM radio just a couple of years later, that didn’t really matter.

The Background: The Doors’ late keyboard player Ray Manzarek explained the lyrics as being about breaking through from a three-dimensional to a four-dimensional consciousness by the use of psychedelics. He says that while many people have thought it’s about death, “it has nothing to do with [it].” On the contrary, it’s about finding out that “the world is really a fun place to be.”

Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek on the meaning of “Break on Through.” OC:…other side. :28

“We’re inviting you to go on a psychedelic journey, to go on a psychedelic voyage to the other side – which is not death. It had nothing to do with death, it has to do with consciousness – where this three-dimensional consciousness can expand into a four-dimensional consciousness. Breaking on through to the other side you see that the world is really a fun place to be in, man. You can have a hell of a good time here, folks, if you’ll only break on through to the other side.”