The Doors, ‘Hello, I Love You’ – Lyrics Uncovered
Some called him the Lizard King while others referred to him as Mr. Mojo Risin' (an anagram for Jim Morrison) but Morrison is remembered best for his raw and unpredictable talent. He could sound like an angel and move like a demon or vice-versa, depending on the day. His language, whether spoken or of the body, oozed with sensuality and 40-plus years after his passing, his iconic image looms large over our culture.
Of all the songs in the Doors catalog, 'Hello, I Love You' may seem like an odd choice to uncover. It's simple, straightforward and only about two minutes in length. Yet this song carries its weight in history and controversy.
Originally written in 1965, 'Hello, I Love You' was one of the six demos recorded at World Pacific Jazz Studios for the acetate that was shopped around to record labels. Three years later, the Doors, now one of Elektra Records' hottest acts, released it as a single and used it to open up their 'Waiting For The Sun' album.
It was a No. 1 hit in the USA (selling more than a million copies) and was the Doors' first big hit in the U.K., reaching No. 15 -- which turned off many core fans, who considered this song the band's "sell out" moment."
The lyrics were inspired by Morrison's observation of a very young and beautiful African-American girl at Venice Beach. Organist Ray Manzarek insisted that she was too young for him, which resulted in Morrison going home and writing down what he would have said to her -- if he had had the guts:
"Hello, I love you
Won't you tell me your name?
She's walking down the street
Blind to every eye she meets
Do you think you'll be the guy
To make the queen of the angels sigh?"
The Doors were a Los Angeles-based band, so it's quite possible that "Queen of the Angels" is referencing L.A. -- the City of Angels -- but it's also been said that Morrison may have stolen that line from Edgar Allen Poe.
"Sidewalk crouches at her feet
Like a dog that begs for something sweet
Do you hope to make her see, you fool?
Do you hope to pluck this dusky jewel?"
"Do you hope to pluck this dusky jewel" is a reference to the young girl's skin color, Manzarek said on the KRTH morning show in L.A. Furthermore, according to the liner notes in the 'Doors Box Set,' Manzarek claimed that he knew even before the Doors owned an organ (the demo is all piano) that this song was "a hit."
The notes also indicate that guitarist Robbie Krieger has been accused of ripping off the Kinks song 'All Day And All Of The Night' on this number, but when Ray Davies was asked about it, he apparently had no problem with it. Actually, "the drum beat on the song was ripped off Cream's 'Sunshine Of My Love,'" says Krieger.
Many bands, including the Eurythmics and Adam Ant, have covered this classic, but only Morrison seems to sing it with enough mojo to make you really wish you could tell him your name.