My Top 1000 Songs #262: The End
The Doors may be one of the more divisive bands in the classic rock canon. Some worship at Jim Morrison's altar; some think they are terrible. I'm kinda in the middle--I can put together an 80-minute CDR mix that's pretty compelling, but find most of the balance pretty expendable. (I do like them as a live band; some of those posthumous live records are just epic.)
Of course, more than 10% of that CDR mix is comprised of "The End," from their 1967 debut. The thematic darkness and sonic dynamics aren't far afield from what the Velvet Underground were doing at the time; you can hear some of the Joy Division blueprint in there as well. It's a genuinely harrowing, frightening song. And, ok, I don't need to dive into the whole spoken-word Oedipus reenactment very often, but as a musical suite, I can't help but find it absolutely mesmerizing.
Plus there's the whole inescapable Apocalypse Now association. If you see that film as a college student while, let's just say, somewhat impaire, and it opens up with that insane scene of Martin Sheen and the Vietnam War with the Doors howling in the background--it's not something you ever forget.
The Apocalypse Now opening:Live: