What does Moonlight Drive mean?

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The Doors: Moonlight Drive Meaning

Moonlight Drive Lyrics

Let's swim to the moon, uh huh
Let's climb through the tide
Penetrate the evenin' that the
City sleeps to hide
Let's swim out tonight, love
It's our turn to try
Parked beside the ocean
On our moonlight drive

Let's swim to the moon, uh...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    Revolution_9
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    Dec 29th, 2005 12:26am report


    Moonlight Drive is a very eerie piece of music, being one of the earliest songs Jim Morrison had written for the Doors. The Doors were formed after an initial meeting in which Ray Manzarek was won over by the lyrics of Jim Morrison's Moonlight Drive. One listening would get the impression of a story of a courting couple. But closer investigation of the lyrics reveal a much darker subcontext. The lyrics "Let's swim to the moon, let's climb through the tide" do indicate a nice romantic evening swim. But, as you listen on, "You reach your hand to hold me, but I can't be your guide" reveals an alterior motive to the song's protagonist. "Easy, I love you as I watch you glide - falling through wet forests on our moonlight drive..." the song continues, "Baby gonna drown tonight, going down, down, down...", leaving no doubt that the famous Morrison poetry is a lot darker than merely a concept of two lovers by moonlight (which the the first impression), but is rather a frightening pastiche of Morrison's fantasies, in which a young man takes his girlfriend out to sea, and leave her to drown!!! Folks, this is no joke, listen for yourselves! The eternally deep power of the words of the Doors strikes again.



  2.  

    Coulditbe
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    May 31st, 2013 5:57pm report


    It is about sitting on the beach and looking at the moonlight on the water, and thinking you could swim to the moon. But then you realize that you are clear out into the middle of the ocean and your are not on a road you are in the middle of the ocean, trying to swim on moonlight to the moon. Would people think you are crazy for swimming in or on moonlight, to go to the moon. And did you have a person that was thinking it with you and were they out there swimming because you got so involved with the thought that they figured they could swim to the moon. Would people interpret that as trying to kill her or yourself for not realizing beforehand that you just thought that you could swim out into the ocean on moonlight. I think I will write a song and find out what people think of realizing about something to late and having to deal with the circumstances. And since you were thinking of it and a girl tried to swim while you were thinking did you stop thinking and make her drown, or can she swim on her own. What if she got inspired by the thought and was for the first time going swimming and you weren't around her to say no don't try it it's too far. Ha ha that's what I am guessing he was doing. Oh and when you get to the moon would it be like sperm penetrating an egg. Would the moon allow you and such and such



  3.  

    theliisuliisa
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    Nov 11th, 2012 11:48am report


    I want to explore the other side. I am ready and I wanna do it. I like you, I might even love you. I want you to join me in discovering the beyond. I want you to experience it with me. Before we glide into the deep unknown, let's make love. Under the moonlight. By the ocean side. It will be incredible. Then, as we are so close, so tight, we will try to seek the other side. We are swimming, climbing, sliding and falling. You try to reach my hand to hold you, but we are not in sync, and I can't be your guide. As we are getting closer, we are becoming more apart. I watch you fall further away from me. What became of our exploration? I don't know...



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 10th, 2012 11:06pm report


    The song talks about incredible powerful love making so intense that it's hard to control the outcome. So powerful that death from it a possibility...



  5.  

    Philip Dalton
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    May 15th, 2011 5:31pm report


    I don't think anyone has mentioned yet what I've always known about this song; it's about drug abuse.
    The Doors were an acid rock band and many of the lyrics to their songs are suggestive of tripping on LSD. "Let's swim to the room" etc. is an obvious reference to that.
    Another classic example of this is the song 'People Are Strange'. A line from the song says "when you're strange, faces come out of the rain" which is an obvious hallucinatory reference.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 28th, 2011 4:54pm report


    Right then, let's look a the first line of the song; lets swim to the moon. As we know, Jim was into his Greeks. And as we know, Artemis was the goddess of (amongst other things) virginity. She was also associate with Selene, the Titaness of the moon. Ergo, the moon is virginity or sex in general. Second line, let's climb through the tide; we can pretty much safely assume that the 'tide' means sea or ocean and not just water. The sea is a common signifier of female sexuality in art, I believe via Freud but do correct me if that is fallacious. Penetrate the evening... (I'll let you read from that what you will)... city sleeps to hide; open to dispute as I am a Brit, but this says to me that society 'sleeps' to hide what is not socially acceptable ie having a good ride. Being the 60s "sex began in 1963" etc, I think this is a fair assumption.

    I shan't bore anyone with a vacuous interpretation of the next five verses; sex, sex, sex, losing oneself in sex and sex with a dash of fertility imagery on the side. An interesting last verse though; Come on, baby, gonna take a little ride - again, need not spell it out. Down, down by the ocean side; let's make sweet music. Gonna get real close; presumptuous but go on then. Get real tight; behave. Baby gonna drown tonight; as someone has already mentioned, Jim was obsessed with death. So for me this is very reminiscent of Freudian Thanatos: the death drive. The striving for the pre-conscious 'Oneness'. And as Lacan described, this may be at least temporarily achieved through Joissance. Le petit mort. etc etc, Goin' down, down, down; to conclude with a cigarette (yet another Freudian image).



  7.  

    aurora
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    Jan 26th, 2011 1:31am report


    Jim was looking for "something beyond" and I really think this is about more than death by drowning. When he says: "Surrender to the waiting worlds" he's talking about opening your mind to intuition. I think it's a symbolic death of reason and rebirth into poetic vision. He's not being morbid, in my opinion. Rimbaud, the poet he studied, also uses the sea as a symbol for expanding consciousness in "Bateau ivre" - Drunken boat.



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 15th, 2010 8:58am report


    The interpretation of drowning your lover said nothing about Jim's girlfriend, yet everyone jumped on the bandwagon of the first idiot who noted that it was written before Jim met Pamela, even though the first poster never claimed it referred to Pamela. At any rate, it's about making love and climax.



  9.  

    honk
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    Jun 17th, 2010 6:46pm report


    This is about getting laid..
    and how to tame a virgin



  10.  

    beege
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    Apr 26th, 2010 4:05am report


    when jim wrote this song he was living on a rooftop of a appartment complex. he left film school and was just living. he wrote this song one night,on a deep trip from lsd. he see's the moon come up and the moon turns into a girls face who claims to be th spirit of music and she spoke to jim. and yes jim did sing this song to ray on the beach which captured ray as the amazing keuboardist in the band.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 28th, 2009 10:27am report


    Could it be about making love on the beach an a moonlight night? About gliding momentarily into another world?



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 22nd, 2009 4:28am report


    Come on. Morrison was fascinated with death, the ultimate extreme human experience after birth. He was the Arthur Rimbaud of the 21st century. "Break on Through to the Other Side"—what do you think that means? "Moonlight Drive" has a haunting melody with haunting words & it is my most favorite Doors' song, however, it is extremely dark. It is either a guy trying to convince his girl into a suicide pack to reach the other side OR it is a cold blooded guy taking his "girl" out beyond the bonds of her limits to drown her. The former aspect is my opinion. I don't see Morrison as cold-blooded. I see Morrison as he saw himself—a "Shaman" searching for another existence beyond this one.



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 22nd, 2009 4:28am report


    Come on. Morrison was fascinated with death, the ultimate extreme human experience after birth. He was the Arthur Rimbaud of the 21st century. "Break on Through to the Other Side"—what do you think that means? "Moonlight Drive" has a haunting melody with haunting words & it is my most favorite Doors' song, however, it is extremely dark. It is either a guy trying to convince his girl into a suicide pack to reach the other side OR it is a cold blooded guy taking his "girl" out beyond the bonds of her limits to drown her. The former aspect is my opinion. I don't see Morrison as cold-blooded. I see Morrison as he saw himself—a "Shaman" searching for another existence beyond this one.



  14.  

    70s_girl
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    Jan 16th, 2009 1:26am report


    sounds like it's about suicide. it's like he's trying to convince the one he's with to drown with him. but it's like he's accepted death, that's why the phrasing sounds so serine(sp?); to go on a "moonlight drive" to just let the ocean take you away.



  15.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 29th, 2008 2:39pm report


    Whoever wrote that second "interpretation" is an idiot. Sorry to be so harsh. But this was one of the first songs Jim wrote and was in fact the song that he sang to Ray...making Ray realize that Jim was was gonna be going places. Pam Courson didn't come into the picture until much later.

    -Lizzie



  16.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 1st, 2007 10:29pm report


    The first interpretation is basically what the song means. To the second comment you are incorrect Jim didn't even know Pam when this song was written, he met her after the band was formed and this song was written before that. It's the song that made Ray and Jim decide to start a band together.



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