The Soft Parade was the fourth album from The Doors. It was released in 1969. Given that ’69 was the year of such releases as Led Zepplin, Kick Out the Jams, Beck Ola, Ramblin’ Gambling Man, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Tommy, and The Stooges, it is somewhat surprising that The Doors had the opportunity for redemption and were able to release Morrison Hotel the following year and hadn’t been driven off into the sketchy concrete wilderness of L.A.
One of the most peculiar cuts on what is a peculiar album is “Touch Me.” It was the first single from the album. And for some odd reason, it became the highest-charting of the singles from The Soft Parade. “Wishful Sinful” is beyond understanding.
At the time of The Soft Parade, The Lizard King was in full bloat, resembling a boa constrictor in full gorge. One can imagine him rolling around in the studio—figuratively, although literally is not something that takes too much imagination—carrying not a long-neck, as would be appropriate for the next album, but a mixed drink. A martini would not be outside the realm of possibility were it that the drink was contained in a glass less shallow and thereby less likely to spill during an inertial turn of mass.
“Touch Me,” with its horns and sweeping, “I’m gonna love you. . .” passages, is a song that would not be inappropriately covered by contemporaries like Michael Buble. Yes, Morrison and Buble.
It has always seemed to me that “Touch Me” as performed by The Doors could be an audition for a months’-long gig at Las Vegas circa right now, had Morrison not gone the way of all flesh at an all-too-early day.
One survivor of that period—who covered Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” and “All Shook Up” on the aforementioned Beck Ola—, Rod Stewart, has opened an 18-concert series at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
After Stewart overcame his hiding-behind-the-amps shyness, he became quite the performer. And this leads to a question: is there a difference between “a performer” and “an artist”—or perhaps it gives rise to a series of questions, including, is there a continuum of when the artist morphs into a performer, or whether most all of the people that we use “artist” as shorthand for are really performers, and were they not we would not be aware of them. Can anyone listen to the 66-year-old Stewart, who has lived lifestyles of the rich and famous, sing, “Spent some time feelin’ inferior, standing in front of my mirror” and take it at all seriously anymore, or is it simply something that’s about having a laugh?
When Stewart isn’t playing at the venue (all of the shows aren’t sequential; there’s a split), Elton John will be, with a show titled “Million Dollar Piano.” Indeed.
Let’s say the Morrison hadn’t died. That Morrison was playing down the street at The Bellagio. Can we imagine a duet on “What Made Milwaukee Famous” between the two performers? And would it be good?
Video: The Doors – Touch Me