How The Doors’ Jim Morrison Inspired The Monkees’ Hit ‘Words’

Through his work with The Doors, Jim Morrison became a classic rock legend. The Monkees’ regular songwriters had strong reaction to The Door’s songs. Subsequently, they drew influence from Morrison to write “Words” and other Monkees songs.

The Doors' Jim Morrison with a beard
The Doors’ Jim Morrison | Estate of Edmund Teske/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

How The Monkees’ songwriters thought Jim Morrison compared to other 1960s artists

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart formed a songwriting duo called Boyce & Hart. They are known for writing Prefab Four songs such as “(Theme From) The Monkees” and “Last Train to Clarksville.” In his 2015 autobiography Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart said he and Boyce drew inspiration from hard rock bands. 

“Nighttime would find us at our regular table at the Whiskey, soaking up the counterculture sounds of groups like Arthur Lee and Love or Jim Morrison and The Doors,” Hart wrote. “These were shockingly new sounds to us, worlds apart from the pop of the first half of the ’60s, and we were excited and inspired by them.”

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The Doors inspired The Monkees’ ‘Words’ and ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone’

Hart explained how The Doors inspired Boyce & Hart. “We had long since developed the habit of being vigilant to be able to notice early on any new directions in which the constantly changing stream of pop music might be flowing,” he said. 

Hart said The Doors inspired “Words” and several other songs he co-wrote. “The result was a new assertiveness in our writing and a string of new songs with a little harder edge to them, such as ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,’ ‘She,’ and ‘Words,'” Hart said. 

“It wasn’t long before we were getting them recorded by some of the new, more rock-influenced groups like The Leaves, the Boston Tea Party, and Paul Revere & the Raiders,” he added. For context, The Leaves recorded “Words” before The Monkees put their spin on it.

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How ‘Words’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Words” became a hit in the United States. It reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for nine weeks. The Monkees released “Words” on the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., which topped the Billboard 200 for a quintet of weeks. Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. spent 64 weeks in total on the Billboard 200.

“Words” did not have the same impact in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song did not chart there. Meanwhile, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. hit No. 5 in the U.K. and lasted on the chart for 11 weeks.

“Words” is a classic Monkees song and it might not be the same without The Doors.

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