Odd Couples: The Doors’ “The End” vs. Buick MacKane’s “The End”

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Though the titles are the same, there’s a world of difference when it comes to where these two songs are going. So, what better place to start a new series on music’s Odd Couples — those times when things seem to be linked, either by title or theme, but simply couldn’t be any different?

“This is the end — my only friend, the end,” Jim Morrison sings, to open his oedipal rock ‘n’ roll monolith from the ’60s. “The unexpected is my best friend,” sings Alejandro Escovedo on Buick MacKane’s 1997 Rykodisc release The Pawn Shop Years.

Such is the way of the opening round of any boxing match: you’ve gotta play with your opponent to see what he’s got.

“The killer awoke before dawn — he put his boots on,” drawls Morrison over some eerie background noodling provided by the other three Doors as the song progresses. Escovedo responds with, “My plate is empty; my bed is stone,” while the rest of the boys in Buick MacKane crank out some of the noisiest guitar raunch this side of the MC5. “The end of nights, we tried to die — this is the eeeeeeeend,” concludes Jim nearly twelve minutes later.

Unfortunately for him, Buick MacKane made their point in just over three minutes, and have gone on to their next match — where they’ll likely lay a thrashing on the Rolling Stones’ “Black Limosine” with their own original blues-based number “Black Shiny Beast.”

Winner: Buick MacKane by TKO. Sometimes even the underdog has his day, especially when the other dog is getting a little long in the tooth.

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