What does Moonlight Drive mean?

The Doors: Moonlight Drive Meaning

Album cover for Moonlight Drive album cover

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 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Dec 29th 2005 !⃝

    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. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 18th 2023 !⃝

    "when jim wrote this song he was living on a rooftop of an appartment complex.“
    Thats right and pretty amazing. He must 've been pretty broke, unemployed, kind of beeing homeless. Couch surfing here and then. But that wasn't so bad in those days, a smart guy that he was and so young, he got around easily. And trying drugs, specifically Lsd.
    The 'swimming to the moon' here symbolizes taking lsd, a trip, but beeing around in the city, in Venice, where its at, that vital scene. Those days. Beeing on lsd feels actually like walking on the moon.
    He‘s asking someone. Let's do it, throw a trip and be around. We'll be real close and connected, but i can't be your guide.
    The moon is the central symbol here. The moon is connected with the tide and the ocean. 'Lets climb through the tide'. The ocean now represents the city.
    'Easy ! i love you, as i watch you glide' (through the streets, along crazy people, beeing so high)
    'Baby we're gonna drown tonight'
    -on that crazy psychedelic tripping!

    All that happens at night, all through the night. I‘d rather think that was, very simply, 'the other side', it doesn't allways have to be about death, dying and the beyond.
    Not at that early stage.

    And i would also vote for a different interpration in the lyrics
    'Nothings left open
    and no time to decide‘ to
    'Nothings left, open end, no time to decide'.
    As a trip on lsd seems to take forever, it is defenitely 'open end'.

    Speculationts of a murder and drowing a girl are false. Jim Morrison was a very intelligent and sensitive person.
    Interested in art and history and philosophy. And in poetry. And in testing the boundaries, with a good self esteem. Thats what he tried out with pyschadelic drugs.
    He was attracted to the unconscious, thats how the music feels dark or weird. The doors liked that. But he wasn't a mad man.

  3. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 7th 2023 !⃝

    he's talking about his other self...i think he had a bipolar disorder ...and he knew it..I don't think it's a love song in any case.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 28th 2019 !⃝

    The moonlight Drive is a drive to the unconscious.

    "man, i live in the unconscious..."

    "I believe in a long, prolonged derangement of the senses in order to obtain the unknown."

    And what else happens to you, during sex
    then forgetting the world, letting go for a minute ( or possibly longer ;)

    "forget the world, forget the people - and we´ll erect a different steeple..."

    You are drowning into the unconscious.

    It´s a journey into yourself.
    It´s a journey to your soul.

    It´s dark but a light is shining,
    like the light of the moon.

    If the partner is already´swimming´, you can´t help him, as the both of you are busy drowning into extasy. Each one on its own trip.

    Alternatively it is not about sex between a couple, but about the trip on LSD.

    Maybe the connection of the both matches best.

    The Horse Latitudes i´d asume is related, only it is put rougher, well more poetic.

    The difference (or non-difference) of real dying and death in things, sex (climax) or the death of a song or a thought, or of the night, or of winter, whatever actually, is a key too.

    But to suppose a real murder...
    Really? Come on.

    Hey, wait...what am i doing here?...where am i!...help, help, got lost in the jungle of data...
    : )
    peaz n luv to all shamans out ther´

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 19th 2018 !⃝

    Moonlight Drive by The Doors lyrics, I think the lyrics is very clear. I think it's about a couple who went for a drive and there was a full moon. The guy took her girl at the beach and he wanted to be beside her while looking up at moon. They want to feel the the presence of each other and their surroundings. To relax together. Possibly they are going to swim or be intimate. However, there was some good meanings on song meanings website too.

    -The person who made comments on songs recently

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 19th 2018 !⃝

    Your all wrong! The song is played with 'Horse Latitudes' which has an area of the ocean which was known for rough seas. The reason why the area is called Horse Latitudes is because when travelling through the area in days of old one would have to lose any excess weight on ship in order to safely make it through. Excess weight such as the horses being transported. The song moonlight drive is written as if coming from one of the horses. That's why the guitaring is played to sound like a horses neighing. Listen to the live version where he recites 'Horse Latitudes' in the middle of the song. Yes he was a genius. Now listen to them both again. You'll here the song in a totally new light!

  7. Coulditbe
    click a star to vote
    May 31st 2013 !⃝

    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

  8. theliisuliisa
    click a star to vote
    Nov 11th 2012 !⃝

    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...

  9. anonymous
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    Nov 10th 2012 !⃝

    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...

  10. Philip Dalton
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    May 15th 2011 !⃝

    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.

  11. anonymous
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    Apr 28th 2011 !⃝

    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).

  12. aurora
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    Jan 26th 2011 !⃝

    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.

  13. anonymous
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    Aug 15th 2010 !⃝

    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.

  14. honk
    click a star to vote
    Jun 17th 2010 !⃝

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

  15. beege
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    Apr 26th 2010 !⃝

    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.

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 28th 2009 !⃝

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

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