Music as a Muse: “When You’re Strange”


The Doors are a band that live in a past shrouded with legend due to the outrageous stage personality, exorbitant drug use, and untimely (though realistically foreseeable) death of their frontman, singer and lyricist Jim Morrison at their height.  In 1991, Oliver Stone released a film, The Doors, a dramatization of the career of The Doors, rather than a factual documentary, which further fostered this exaltation of the band without a strict adherence to the true story.  Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist of The Doors, is credited for calling, When You’re Strange “the anti-Oliver Stone”, commenting that it would be “the true story of the Doors.” (

It was released as part of the series, American Masters, which is a 27 season running documentary series that highlights the contributions of American artists, actors and writers who have left a substantial impact on popular culture syndicated by PBS.  (

The film was nominated for an Emmy award for outstanding nonfiction series, and then subsequently it won for a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Video.  (

The soundtrack to the motion picture compiles an eclectic mix of studio recordings, performances as guests on the Ed Sullivan Show and concerts around the world, and John Morrison’s poetry as narrated by Johnny Depp, who also narrates the film.  (

When the Music’s Over and a clip from the film

Part of the appeal of this film was not only the accuracy of the storytelling concerning the lives of The Doors, but many other factors.  The Oliver Stone film for example protagonizes Jim Morrison almost the entire movie, excluding the crucial roles that the other three members played. ( Also appealing is the treasure trove of previously unreleased footage and material from The Doors.  Music, video, even remastered clips of Jim Morrison’s otherwise unreleased film, HWY: An American Pastoral. (

Bootleg clip of Morrison’s Unreleased Film

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s