The song went on, with horns, another guitar, maybe a mandolin, backing singers coming across with a quiet sympathy. The story went on. And yet, by the end—when the singer went from the record company party to an interview with a rock critic to another party in a fancy apartment on Fifty-Second Street—the shift in the song that in 1972 was lost in a mass finale, everyone playing at top volume, now came to the fore. After everything—after murder, after indifference, after flattery, after a no to all of it—everyone in the song turned to their windows, shocked, as perhaps they never were before, to see that the streets were now filled with people, people neither killing each other nor avoiding each other but marching as one, shouting for freedom, in the moment celebrating the truth that they already had it. Morrison looked out his window, surprised, confirmed, but most of all happy. “Can I get a witness!” he said, as if the words were no less a folk theme, part of the collective imagination, the common memory of anyone who might have already passed through the song, as Lead Belly testifying that “They was driving the women, just like the men” or Frank Hutchison promising “I won’t be dead, just won’t be here no more” when you came looking for him and he wasn’t there.
—Greil Marcus, When That Rough God Goes Riding (2010)