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People Are Strange

"People Are Strange" is a single released by the American rock band the Doors in September 1967 from their second album Strange Days which was also released in September 1967. The single peaked at the number 12 position of the U.S. Hot 100 chart[2] and made it to the top ten in the Cash Box charts. It was written by Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger although credit was given to the Doors evenly.

"People Are Strange"
Single by The Doors
from the album Strange Days
B-side"Unhappy Girl"
ReleasedSeptember 1967
Format7" single
RecordedMay and August 1967
GenrePsychedelic rock[1]
Songwriter(s)Jim Morrison
Robby Krieger
Producer(s)Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors singles chronology
"Light My Fire" / "The Crystal Ship"
"People Are Strange"
"Love Me Two Times"


"People Are Strange" was composed in early 1967 after guitarist Robby Krieger and a depressed Jim Morrison had walked to the top of Laurel Canyon.[3] The band's drummer, John Densmore, recalled the song's writing process in his book Riders on the Storm.[4] He and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, who had then been roommates, were visited by Jim Morrison, who appeared to be "deeply depressed."[4] At Krieger's suggestion, they took a walk along Laurel Canyon. Morrison returned from the walk "euphoric" with the early lyrics of "People Are Strange."[4] Intrigued by the new lyrics, Krieger was convinced that the song was a hit upon hearing the vocal melody.[4]

[Morrison said] 'Yeah, I feel really good about this one. It just came to me all of a sudden ... in a flash - as I was sitting up there on the ridge looking out over the city. His eyes were wild with excitement. 'I scribbled it down as fast as I could. It felt great to be writing again.' He looked down at the crumpled paper in his hand and sang the chorus in his haunting blues voice.

— John Densmore[4]


According to its AllMusic review, the song "reflects the group's fascination with the theatrical music of European cabaret."[5] The song is about alienation and being an outsider, and Jim Morrison may have addressed the song both to the hippie culture, to outsiders in general or to users of drugs such as LSD, or both.[5] Drummer John Densmore believes that the song was the manifestation of Morrison's "vulnerability".[3]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by The Doors.

Elektra (EK 45621)
  1. "People Are Strange" – 2:12
  2. "Unhappy Girl" – 2:00

Chart historyEdit

Chart (1967) Peak
Canada RPM Top Singles[6] 1
New Zealand (Listener)[7] 9
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[2] 12
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 10



Cover versionsEdit

Echo & the BunnymenEdit

"People Are Strange"
Single by Echo & the Bunnymen
from the album The Lost Boys: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
B-side"Run, Run, Run"
Format7" single
GenrePost-punk, alternative rock
LabelWEA, EastWest
Songwriter(s)The Doors
Producer(s)Ray Manzarek
Echo & the Bunnymen singles chronology
"Bedbugs and Ballyhoo"
"People Are Strange"
"'The Peel Sessions'"

British group Echo & the Bunnymen recorded a cover version of "People Are Strange" for the soundtrack of the 1987 film The Lost Boys. It was subsequently released as a single in 1987 (see 1987 in music) reaching number 29 on the UK Singles Chart in February 1988[8] and number 13 on the Irish Singles Chart in 1991.[9] The song was produced by The Doors' keyboard player, Ray Manzarek. A 12-inch version was released in February 1988 before the single was re-released in 1991. The B-sides were all the same as their previous release, "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo".

Track listingsEdit

7-inch single (WEA YZ175 and WEA YZ567)
  1. "People Are Strange" (The Doors) – 3:36
  2. "Run, Run, Run" (Lou Reed) – 3:51
12-inch single (WEA YZ175T)
  1. "People Are Strange" (The Doors) – 3:36
  2. "Run, Run, Run" (Reed) – 3:41
  3. "Paint It, Black" (Jagger/Richards) – 3:01
  4. "Friction" (Tom Verlaine) – 4:37

Chart positionsEdit

Chart (1988) Peak
UK Singles Chart[8] 29
Irish Singles Chart[9] 21
Chart (1991)
UK Singles Chart[8] 34
Irish Singles Chart[9] 13


  • Ray Manzarekproducer ("People Are Strange")
  • Lars Aldman – producer ("Run, Run, Run", "Paint It, Black" and "Friction")
  • Michael Bergek – engineering ("Run, Run, Run", "Paint It, Black" and "Friction")

Stina NordenstamEdit

"People Are Strange"
Single by Stina Nordenstam
from the album People Are Strange
Format12" single, CD single
GenreAlternative rock
Songwriter(s)The Doors
Producer(s)Ian Caple, Stina Nordenstam
Stina Nordenstam singles chronology
"People Are Strange"
"'Get on with Your Life'"

Swedish singer-songwriter Stina Nordenstam covered "People Are Strange" on her 1998 cover album of the same name. A remix single was released in conjunction with the album. The UNKLE remix appears as a bonus track on the Japanese version of the album, and can also be found on UNKLE's box set, Eden.

Track listingsEdit

12-inch single
  1. "People Are Strange (UNKLE Mix)" – 5:39
  2. "People Are Strange (Techno Animal Mix)" - 8:35
CD single
  1. "People Are Strange (UNKLE Mix)" – 5:39
  2. "People Are Strange (Album Version)" - 3:35
  3. "People Are Strange (Techno Animal Mix)" - 8:35

A promo CD single with a 3:56 radio edit of the UNKLE remix was also distributed.

Other coversEdit

In popular cultureEdit

  • The character Randall Curtin mentions the song (incorrectly "Faces look evil when you're alienated") in the episode “Meadowlands” (1.04) of the HBO series The Sopranos.
  • The song plays over the final scene of the first episode of Doom Patrol.


  1. ^ "Forty years on, Jim Morrison cult thrives at Paris cemetery". The Independent. July 1, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "The Doors > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  3. ^ a b Hoskyns, Barney (2007). Strange Day. Rhino Entertainment Company. p. 7.
  4. ^ a b c d e Densmore, John (Nov 4, 2009). Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 9780307429025.
  5. ^ a b Maginnis, Tom. "People Are Strange > Song Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1967-11-04. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  7. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 15 December 1967
  8. ^ a b c Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). HIT Entertainment. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  9. ^ a b c "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". IRMA. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  10. ^ People Are Strange (The Doors) - Katrina Parker cover, retrieved 2019-08-26
  11. ^ "God Bless Tiny Tim: The Complete Reprise Recordings". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-02-15.