The Doors

TrackAlbum
The Crystal ShipThe Doors
A Feast Of FriendsAn American Prayer
L.A. WomanL.A. Woman
Light My FireThe Doors
Love StreetWaiting For The Sun
My Eyes Have Seen YouStrange Days
Touch MeThe Soft Parade
Waiting For The SunMorrison Hotel
The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)L.A. Woman
Who Do You LoveAbsolutely Live

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Contributor: Merric Davidson

They came out of nowhere. Well, L.A. in truth, with giant billboards shouting it out loud – “The Doors break on through with an electrifying album”. It would take a little longer for news of this breakthrough to reach most of the UK record-buying public. It’s hard to believe now that the first Doors Top 20 hit in good old-fashioned blighty was Hello I Love You from album no.3. That’s how popular the new West Coast of America sound was over here. Welcome to the Summer of Love – a year late! Fortunately, those that did get to hear about The Doors lapped it up right from the start.

The best debut album of all time should, of course, have contributed more than two tracks but then if you think of The Doors as one long track it’s not so crazy. And I defy anyone to have a Doors top ten which doesn’t include Light My Fire even if it sounds overly familiar these days – at the time it was one long blast, the LP version clocking in at a perfect 6½ minutes but still outgunned by the 11½ crazed minutes of The End.

My choice from the second album, My Eyes Have Seen You, may seem a little “strange”, after all it’s in here at the expense of People Are Strange, Strange Days, Moonlight Drive and the second Doors epic, When The Music’s Over, but for me it epitomizes the power of the band in a little over two rockin’ minutes. Perhaps it’s also a song that represents what this website is all about – the less well-known classic track that cannot be denied. All power to Mr Mojo Risin’, Ray, John and Robbie.

Many years ago, Celebration of the Lizard would have been high in this 10. It was a staple of late night Party Seven get togethers: “Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin.” A condensed version is on Waiting For The Sun under the title, Not To Touch The Earth, and a full performance on Absolutely Live and if you want to hear the Lizard King’s 17 minute studio version it was released for the first time in 2003 on the double CD, Legacy: The Absolute Best.

The Doors. The best rock group of the 60s. I think so.

 

Jim Morrison (1943–1971)

Ray Manzarek (1939–2013)

The Doors website

The Doors biography (iTunes)

TopperPost #35

10 Comments

  1. Peter Viney
    Aug 1, 2013

    I’m not a Doors fan, and in fact have an aversion to Jim Morrison due to being made to listen to The Doors far too often in my youth, BUT I would have to have Hello I Love You in the ten. I know many Doors fans dismiss it, but to me it’s a great song. It distils that Louie Louie / Hang On Sloopy / 96 Tears garage band feel, though like The Kingsmen, The McCoys and ? and The Mysterians before them, The Doors on Hello I Love You is knowing and accomplished pastiche garage band, with a perfect lyric to match. I also recently, due entirely to Record Store Day, bought the 45 of Soul Kitchen and have been playing it a lot. For Doors fans, my opinion can be discounted, as I think The End one of the most misguided things ever committed to vinyl.

    • Rob Millis
      Aug 3, 2013

      I’m no fan either, like Peter, but you cannot deny their place. As a blues/soul/rock organ player, and at 38 years old, too young to have heard them when they hit first time, I always think the Doors’ sound is their weak point. The late Manzarek was such a superb player, but that shrill and nasal Vox Continental (later a Gibson-branded, roughly similar style “combo” organ) was way over the hill by about 1967, and the Doors were certainly a big enough band to command a Hammond. Given Morrison’s perception as this gothic, imposing shaman, the growl and grunt of a ballsy organ would have been just the thing (think Arthur Brown) rather than the squeal and squeak of Ray’s little Italian keyboards. I’ve never understood why Manzarek took so long – I believe it wasn’t until L.A. Woman that a Hammond appeared – to improve his rig, given how successful they were.

  2. Merric Davidson
    Aug 3, 2013

    Aw shucks! I’d like another Doors fan to enter the ring but there’s never one around when you need one. I was smitten by the sound of The Doors on first hearing, over a badly tuned radio in 67 (maybe that’s why it sounded ok!) and it’s been a long love affair ever since. It was that unique sound that did it, the great man on his mighty wurlitzer, the tight sound, the melodies, even some of Jim’s schmaltzier songs couldn’t dissuade me. I’d never heard anything like it. There was no pomposity in the playing (although there undoubtedly was elsewhere), no grandeur, just a hard driving sound mixed with melancholoy and an all-pervading knowingness. Take it easy baby, take it as it comes. The Doors, the best rock group of the 60s. I think so.

    • Rob Millis
      Aug 5, 2013

      I’ll admit to dragging out L.A.Woman once in a blue moon, Merric. I thought that had a maturity and it would have been interesting to see if Morrison could have cleaned his act up properly and found the band a “settled” later style to take them into the 70s with some kind of status retained. There were moments on the two Jim-less LPs worth a listen, and as I said, even L.A.Woman showed a later, languid style creeping in. If I HAD to pick a favourite Doors song, The Changeling would be it. With Manzarek reaching for the electric piano more and more and the organ less, who knows – his keyboards always dominated the band and he was certainly up there with the best as a technician, so that allied to Krieger’s trademark bottleneck could have seen a Little Feat-y seventies sound…but there, we can’t be sure now.

    • Neil Waite
      May 3, 2014

      Sadly my musical tastes were quite blinkered when I was at school, naively only listening to Punk and New Wave music. At 15 I was lucky enough to ‘step out’ with a young lady in my year group who I absolutely adored. It’s strange how people can come into your life and just change things… I mean really change things. Most girls were into all the New Romantic stuff. My lovely girlfriend was into a much wider range of music. The Doors being one. During one of my regular Sunday afternoon visits to her house she gave me a C60 tape with ‘The Doors’ scribbled across the spine. ‘Listen to this’ she said. ‘You’ll like it’. Well…. I didn’t listen to it. Why would I? It was dated 1967. I wouldn’t like anything that old would I? A few weeks later she asked what I thought. Feeling embarrassed that I hadn’t listened to it I just replied, ‘yeah it’s ok.’ ‘Lets listen to it now,’ she said. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a hot day and the sun was shining through the windows onto the carpet. We both laid on our backs on the lounge floor as ‘Break on Through’ started. As soon as that bossa nova drum groove kicked off I was absolutely hooked. Jim’s haunting vocals made the hairs in the back of my neck stand in end. I loved every track instantly.

      I can honestly say, out of the thousands of albums I have listened to in my life no record has ever effected me instantly as that first Doors album did then. That hand-scribbled C60 became my most played cassette. I went on to purchase my own vinyl copy of course and in time, the rest of the back catalogue followed. All great records but none as good as the debut (LA Woman comes very close) There’s just something about the Doors. They really do reach into my soul. My girlfriend continued to open my eyes to many bands in the same way, but not quite as dramatically as that time with the Doors Album. The vinyl still gets played regularly. That old C60 is still with me and although I no longer have a cassette player it remains a treasured possession. Like I say, some people just come into your life and change things. Forever.

  3. Ian Ashleigh
    Nov 20, 2013

    Hi Merric, I may be 3 months late to the party and I’m not a fully informed Doors fan.

    But I could make a good case for including Roadhouse Blues from Morrison Hotel and Cars Hiss By My Window from L A Woman and (controversially?) Ships With Sails from the post Jim Morrison Other Voices.

    How many people heard The Doors in the Stranglers breakthrough album Rattus Norvegicus?

  4. Merric Davidson
    Nov 20, 2013

    I love Roadhouse Blues, Ian. Love it. It’s this stoopid topper-rule and I went for the next track on the all-round brilliant Morrison Hotel.

    Now, your Other Voices thought is one I’ll definitely check on when I say hello to the vinyl again tomorrow morning. And I’m with you on the Stranglers revisiting the Doors – and how!

  5. Ian Ashleigh
    Jan 11, 2014

    This was broadcast on BBC 4 on 10 January 2014, I don’t know how long it will be available for but here is the story of the album, L.A. Woman.

  6. Rob Millis
    May 2, 2014

    I watched the LA Woman doc and thoroughly enjoyed it, and dusted the vinyl off again and gave it a spin this very morning. Although I said I’m not a fan, I did have a phase in my late teens and in fact do have the entire catalogue on vinyl, but it passed and only LA Woman do I return to.

    I could probably make over an hour playlist of Doors songs I’d still thoroughly enjoy. LA Woman plus three or four from the debut, the first side of Strange Days, and then Five To One and Roadhouse blues.

  7. Rob Millis
    May 2, 2014

    Break On Through, Twentieth Century Fox, Strange Days, You’re Lost Little Girl, Five To One, Peace Frog, The Changeling, Love Her Madly, L.A. Woman, Texas Radio & The Big Beat.

    Having said I’d find a good hour of Doors music I still enjoy, I thought what the hell and did my Topper Ten. Prefer Break On Through to Light My Fire; not only a prime slice of R&B informed acid rock but also never responsible for a slew of awful lounge folk arrangements! It was a toss-up between Twentieth Century Fox and Soul Kitchen, so went with the former as I like the clever pun in the title.

    Diehards won’t get this at all but the reason I don’t consider myself a “fan” of the Doors is because I can listen to the band fine but when Morrison starts his lengthy rabbit I lose interest. Agree with Peter V on The End and also have omitted When The Music’s Over. The latter to me seems to take all the best bits of Soul Kitchen and labour them for an age. Strange Days two opening cuts both there – of the early releases I used to like side one of this LP a lot. Strange Days, if you omit the lengthy closer was just 25 minutes long!

    Just Five to One from Waiting for the Sun and nothing from The Soft Parade.

    Peace Frog for nostalgic reasons – we laboured for hours at sixth form college trying to nail that wah-wah guitar feel and the tape-looped solo!

    Four from L.A. Woman – an album I still dig out and play in its entirety and a dusting off of which prompted this.

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