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POP MUSIC | POP EYE

September 28, 1997|Steve Hochman

LIZARD SKIN: "Celebration of the Lizard," a suite of poetry and music featuring Morrison's notorious declaration, "I am the Lizard King, I can do anything," has long been a mystery to even the most intense Doors fans. It was never released as a complete studio recording. Though the full text appeared on the inside cover of the Doors' third album, 1968's "Waiting for the Sun," only one portion of it, the song "Not to Touch the Earth," was released at the time. A complete performance was on 1970's "Absolutely Live," but that did little to clarify the meaning of the piece.

Another live version from 1970 is included on the Doors' upcoming four-CD box set (due next month and featuring three discs of previously unreleased performances). With its strong musical performances and Morrison's mood-setting remarks, it seems more coherent and complete, but still does little to illuminate a narrative thread.

But in 1990, Manzarek and Lippman, a Los Angeles-based poet and television writer, started discussing the potential for a Doors stage project.

"One night Ray and I were in a studio saying poems back and forth and 'Celebration of the Lizard' came up," says Lippman, who with partner Marc Sachnoff has written and produced such TV programs as the Time/Life "History of Rock 'n' Roll" series and the "Sesame Street" 25th anniversary special.

"Ray said, 'You know what that is? That's Jim's post-apocalyptic vision of L.A.' A few days later I literally sat up in bed and said, 'That's the story!' ".

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