Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Not To Touch The Earth” — The Doors (1968)

Not to touch the earthNot to see the sunNothing left to do, butRun, run, runLet’s runLet’s runHouse upon the hillMoon is lying stillShadows of the treesWitnessing the wild breezeC’mon baby run with meLet’s run

Well I’m sure this comes as a no surprise to anyone who knows me even just a smidgen, because as I’m oft to point out I freakin’ can’t stand The Doors.

OK that’s a bit harsh, especially since I used to love them, but classic rock radio has destroyed them for me (and yes, I listened to far, far more than “the hits”). Just a hint of Jim Morrison’s voice makes me want to kick a pigeon.

I’m kind of that way with Hendrix too, but that’s a knish for another deli.

STILL — I make special dispensations here and there, especially today when we feature the creepy and wondrous Not To Touch The Earth as the latest addition to our ongoing playlist of Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs. This song I can listen to endlessly, but especially in October.

All the elements are here: an ominous bass line leads us into Ray Manzarek’s chilling keyboards, a haunted organ that amps up the uneasiness. A zither-like guitar riff weaves in out of each line as Morrison’s voice, perfectly suited for this particular haunt, draws us into his particular flavor of shamanistic horror. And that’s just the beginning. Hold on to your ass!

And what exactly is this tale about anyhow? Your guess is as good as mine. Apparently Not To Touch The Earth was only a small part of an extended avant-garde / art-rock piece entitled “Celebration of the Lizard” and had a whole lot to do with superstitions, the tangible universe as sacred meta-reality, the JFK assassination, the feminine arcana… whatever. I wouldn’t even try analyzing the thing; I’ve got enough aggravation.

But the song works and works masterfully as a slice of abstract terror. Morrison throws all the discomforting imagery at us: mansions on the hill, a still moon peering ominously at us, long shadows, hissing snakes, chilling lakes, deep wells, merciless outlaws… and in the end, the emergence of The Lizard King himself.

Not To Touch The Earth drags you through an entirely unsettling sojourn in its 3:53 running time. Like the Lizard King, you may not emerge from it quite the same.

Somehow outlaws lived by the side of a lakeThe minister’s daughter’s in love with the snakeWho lives in a well by the side of the roadWake up, girl, we’re almost home…

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