“The End” is a song by The Doors from the album The Doors. Released in 4 January 1967, it was written by Jim Morrison. The Doors developed this song during live performances at the Whisky a Go Go, a Los Angeles club where they were the house band in 1966. They had to play two sets a night, so they were forced to extend their songs in order to fill the sets. This gave them a chance to experiment with their songs. This started as a short song about a farewell to a girl, and developed into an 11 minute epic. The band would perform the song to close their last set. It was first released in January 1967. The song was recorded live in the studio with no overdubbing. Two takes were done and the second take is the one that was issued.
In 1969, Morrison stated:
Everytime I hear that song, it means something else to me. It started out as a simple good-bye song…. Probably just to a girl, but I see how it could be a goodbye to a kind of childhood. I really don’t know. I think it’s sufficiently complex and universal in its imagery that it could be almost anything you want it to be.
Interviewed by Lizze James, he pointed out the meaning of the verse “My only friend, the End”:
Sometimes the pain is too much to examine, or even tolerate….That doesn’t make it evil, though – or necessarily dangerous. But people fear death even more than pain. It’s strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over. Yeah – I guess it is a friend…
This is supposedly the last song Morrison heard. The night he died, he was playing old Doors albums, ending with this one. This was the last song on that album. This was recorded with the lights off and only one candle burning next to Morrison.