Hello everybody! Time for another installment of the Doors Top 50 Countdown, plus an overview of this week's statistics. Let's go!
At #30 in our countdown is the penultimate track of the eponymous first album by the Doors (1967): Take It As It Comes is about accepting what life gives you at your own pace. It was dedicated to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a teacher of transcendental meditation famous for leading a meditation camp in 1967 attended by The Beatles, Donovan, and Mia Farrow, after Jim Morrison attended one of his lectures.
Note the lyrical similarity here between this song and The Byrds' Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season). Morrison says, "Time to live, time to lie, time to laugh, time to die;" The Byrds (well, actually, Ecclesiastes) say, "A time to be born, a time to die..." and so on. Morrison shows clear inspiration here, since "Turn!" was released in 1965. However, Morrison uses the Ecclesiastes' words as a jumping-off point. Ray Manzarek's impressive organ solo on this song was inspired by the works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
At #29 is a song from the Doors' last album featuring Jim Morrison, L.A. Woman (1971). The music for Hyacinth House was written by Ray Manzarek, whose composition references Frédéric Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 during the organ solo, while Morrison wrote the lyrics at guitarist Robby Krieger's beach house. According to Uncut magazine September 2011 the line, "I see the bathroom is clear," was literal. Morrison's friend Babe Hill emerged from the bathroom just as he was writing that verse. The song's writing is additionally credited to guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore.
The use of the term Hyacinth is thought to be Morrison's way of expressing his unhappiness. Further, Hyacinthus was a beautiful youth and lover of the Greek god Apollo. According to the myth, Apollo accidentally killed Hyacinthus in a discus throwing contest when the latter ran to catch Apollo's discus in an effort to impress the god. After the unfortunate death, Apollo refused to let Hades claim the youth. Rather, from Hyacinthus' blood, Apollo created the hyacinth, a plant with a fragrant cluster of flowers.
This interpretation of Hyacinth House is furthermore based on the song's lyrical reference to another Doors' song, The End (which itself includes the line "my only friend, the end"). The line, "And I'll say it again, I need a brand new friend, the end" is thought to indicate that Morrison had suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Morrison often felt pulled because of his success and talent, while lamenting that he didn't have anyone around him that was just allowing him to be what he wanted to be: "I need a brand new friend who doesn't bother me / I need a brand new friend who doesn't trouble me / I need someone, yeah, who doesn't need me".
Only three months after L.A. Woman was complete, Morrison left for Paris, never to perform with The Doors again. It is thought that Morrison left for Paris because he was unhappy and wanted to escape his rock star lifestyle to pursue poetry. What is clear is the sadness and maturity within Morrison's voice on Hyacinth House, further enhanced by the acoustics in the studio bathroom.
At #28 is the gentle Robby Krieger composition from the album Waiting for the Sun (1968), Yes, The River Knows. The song's reviewers argue whether it's a song about suicide or spiritual rebirth. A mesmerizing song, all the same...
At #27 is another song from Waiting for the Sun. We Could Be So Good Together was initially released as the B-side of the single The Unknown Soldier. The song has been described as Morrison's way of telling his audience what kind of world they would be able to create if they simply tried.
A review in Slant Magazine described the song as "categorically pre-fame Morrison" ("The time you wait subtracts from joy" is the kind of hippie idealism he'd long given up on), thus implying that this is one of the songs that The Doors had written long before the recording sessions for their third album, and that it is among those pieces, which had not already been used on The Doors or Strange Days.
At #26 is the second song for today from L.A. Woman. The Wasp (Texas Radio & The Big Beat) typifies the blend of poetry and music which so entranced Patti Smith. The lyrics were written some years previously and Morrison initially performed them as poetry before Manzarek and drummer John Densmore conjured up this crackling funk beat. Effectively a eulogy to Morrison’s inspiration by music, the vivid language and imagery describes the impact of hearing DJs such as Wolfman Jack in his youth as they blasted out of Texas and Virginia, mesmerizing the youngster and the “friends I have gathered together on this thin raft … Out here on the perimeter there are no stars/Out here we is stoned – immaculate.”
The verse, "Comes out of the Virginia swamps cool and slow with plenty of precision with a back beat narrow and hard to master" is most likely a reference to Morrison's first real experience with the music scene. From 1958 to 1960 Morrison lived in Alexandria, Virginia and frequented the Juke Joints (blues clubs) on Route 1 just north of Fort Belvoir where Black Blues musicians would play on Friday and Saturday nights. That area where the Juke Joints used to be is right on the eastern edge of a swamp.
Now, let's continue with last week's statistics. There was yet another increase of the weekly number of visits, even if it was more modest than last week, at 13%. Still, the arrow is pointing in the right direction, summer holidays notwithstanding. Most of the "all-time top tenners", were dropping, with the United States leading the free fall. Imagine, a few months ago its overall percentage was around 54%, if I recall correctly, now it has dropped to under 44%. The two countries that experienced a major increase (again) were the United Kingdom and Italy - with other countries not figuring in the all-time top 10, like Australia, Canada and Brazil, also contributing to the rise. This makes the United Kingdom and Italy upwardly mobile - the former is at the top of the weekly chart and only a dozen visits away from France and position #3 in the all-time top 10. If the trend continues, the UK will have replaced France at #3 by this time tomorrow. Italy doesn't have to wait that long: It had already replaced Cyprus at #7 in the all-time top 10 by midweek. Here are this week's Top 10 countries:
1. the United Kingdom
2. the United States
Here are the other countries that graced us with their presence since our last statistics (alphabetically): Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. Happy to have you all!
And here's the all-time Top 10:
1. the United States = 43.8%
2. Greece = 8.3%
3. France = 7.5%
4. the United Kingdom = 7.5%
5. Russia = 4.9%
6. Germany = 4.2%
7. Italy = 1.12%
8. Cyprus = 1.11%
9. the United Arab Emirates = 0.71%
10. Belgium = 0.69%
That's all for today, folks. Till the next one!