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*5.04-MY EYES HAVE SEEN YOU (Doors)

Doors

LISTEN

[Intro]

My eyes have seen you. (2x)

My eyes have seen you
Stand in your door.
When we meet inside
Show me some more. (3x)

[Refrain]

My eyes have seen you
Turn and stare
Fix your hair
Move upstairs. (3x)

[Break]

[Refrain]

My eyes have seen you
Free from disguise
Gazing on a city under
Television skies (3x)

[Short buildup]

[Refrain]

Eyes have seen you…
Let them photograph your soul,
Memorize your alleys
On an endless roll.

Endless roll… (15x)


I like the gist of what George Starostin wrote about My Eyes Have Seen You in his blog Only Solitaire: “This, in fact, is one of the main differences between the Doors and your typical 'mad' band like The Who or Led Zep: the latter tend to overwhelm you from the very start by crashing their way into the song from the first seconds, while the Doors always build up the tension - at their most energetic, they're almost as captivating as both of these bands, but they always lead you to the climax, never pour it on your head all at once. The same technique is evident, for instance, on My Eyes Have Seen You, an uncompromised arse-kickin' rocker that starts as a simple ditty (begin with bass, then add some electric piano, then a guitar line, then vocals) and ends up, once again, as an impressive wall of sound.”

The changes in sonic texture and the crystal clear counterpoints of the musicians against the vocal in My Eyes Have Seen You conceals the fact that this song is constructed linearly upon a single musical phrase without structural variation. It is indeed a chant, an LSD chant I would venture, that hurls the poet forward from a tightly wound repetitive refrain into improvisation for three lines before retreating again into the refrain in order to spin out another lyric improvisation with even more momentum. This is a meditation device, but it is made strange by inverting the hope My eyes will see you to that of someone whose moment of enlightenment was in the past.

The first verse suggests religious connotations, a relationship to “god”, as it invites another vision: Show me some more! This is understandable, but by the third line of the second verse, which mentions hair, I am aware that Morrison is probably singing about a woman. He has seen this woman before (perhaps as a metaphor for an object of desire), and wants to take her “upstairs” again. Move upstairs, particularly in the imperative tone, as a command, suggests a sexual urgency and dominance. In 1967, these words in themselves evoked taking somebody up to the bedroom for sex. But the next verse surprises me. I’m not in the bedroom but on the roof, standing among a city of TV antenna. She has stood there on the roof naked, free from disguise, unseen supposedly by anyone but the singer, although television stations are being broadcast through her body to living rooms below. In the final verse, Morrison begs for memory of the occasion, the detailed remembrance of the desired body’s nooks and crannies, the glimpses of the woman’s soul caught in a meaningful glance, and imagines keeping her image on film that will keep recording a timeless sexual encounter.

The endless roll repetition in the song evokes a spool of film. Closing repetitions in psychedelic music had been developed by Brian Wilson in some Beach Boys songs in order to display the group’s command of counterpoint, and had already become popularized by All You Need Is Love by the Beatles. The form of closing repetition would go on to become very popular during the following couple of years, exemplified by Hey Jude by the Beatles and The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel. I don’t believe, however, that any other popular song found such a solid raison d’etre for these repetitions in a poetic image. (Of course, it’s somewhat sad that My Eyes Have Seen You’s technical reference to a spool of film is already in the process of becoming archaic, and the reference may be lost to many listeners of future generations.)


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