The Doors – “Back Door Man” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

The Doors’ “Back Door Man” is a blues-rock song that’s full of innuendo and sly references. It’s about a man who takes pride in being a lover that women adore and men are oblivious to. This “Back Door Man” is sneaky, sly, and completely confident in his illicit activities, especially his affairs with women.

The message is layered with bravado and a bit of rebelliousness. The songwriter, in this case, is reveling in the persona of someone who operates under the radar of mainstream society, much like the band itself did. The song isn’t about one person in particular but serves as an archetype of a confident, secretive lothario.

Are you hooked yet? Because there’s a whole lot more to this song than meets the eye. Let’s slide into the smoky room of “Back Door Man” and uncover its secrets. You’ll find that this song isn’t just a catchy tune from the ’60s—it’s a time capsule that holds the essence of an era, and it’s as bold and brash as the leather pants Morrison was known for. Keep reading, and let’s decode the whispers behind the loud guitars and wailing vocals together.

“Back Door Man” Lyrics Meaning

The repeated lines, “I’m a back door man / The men don’t know / But the little girls understand,” set the tone right from the start. The “back door man” in blues tradition refers to a man having an affair with a married woman, sneaking in and out undetected. This isn’t just about secret lovers; it’s a metaphor for subverting the status quo, something The Doors, and especially Jim Morrison, were fond of doing.

The verses “Hey, all you people that tryin’ to sleep / I’m out to make it with my midnight dream” emphasize the nocturnal, secretive nature of the back door man’s escapades. It’s also a nod to the idea of not conforming to society’s norms, of being awake and alive when the rest of the world is asleep.

Then there’s the boast, “You men eat your dinner, eat your pork and beans / I eat more chicken than any man ever seen.” Here, the back door man brags about his indulgences, hinting at his insatiable appetite not just for food but for life’s pleasures. The repeated affirmation that the men are clueless while “the little girls understand” suggests a connection with women that goes beyond what’s superficial and socially accepted.

The Story Behind “Back Door Man”

Written by Willie Dixon and first recorded by Howlin’ Wolf, it was The Doors who gave it that psychedelic rock spin. The song’s roots in blues—music often dealing with the darker, more sensual aspects of life—are important here. Blues was a form of expression for those who were often ignored by mainstream culture, much like the character in the song.

Jim Morrison’s interpretation is as much about the literal meaning of the lyrics as it is about the metaphorical significance of being a “back door man” in a cultural sense. Morrison, with his infamous disregard for authority and societal norms, embodied the essence of the back door man in his life as well as his art.

The late 1960s were a time of great change and rebellion, and The Doors were right there, pushing the boundaries. This song is a testament to that spirit of rebellion. It speaks to the part of human nature that wants to buck the system, to find a way to satisfy deeper desires regardless of what society says. It was that same spirit that probably inspired Morrison and his bandmates to bring this blues standard to a new audience, with a rock and roll flair that was unmistakably The Doors.

In essence, “Back Door Man” isn’t just about the escapades of a secretive lover. It’s about the freedom of the era, the liberation of desires, and the thrill of crossing lines—themes that were ever-present in the life and times of The Doors.