I Like: The Doors
I Like: The Doors
When we talk about The Doors so many words come to mind - controversial, unpredictable, charismatic, psychedelic – they were easily one of the most influential rock acts of the 1960s. But, considering they released 8 albums in 5 years, above all, they were prolific.
Formed in 1965 and lead by vocalist, Jim Morrison, the band got its name from the title of an Aldus Huxley novel called The Doors of Perception. Huxley’s preoccupation with the use of psychedelic drugs to expand the human consciousness, on an intellectual rather than social level, was a running theme in most of his novels. His influence has been synonymous with popular music spanning decades and genres, everyone from The Beatles to Iron Maiden have referenced his work. However, for The Doors it seems that the name was more than just a nod to the philosophic novelist, it was a way of life – and boy did they live it!
So, get comfy, get down and get deep, our I Like: The Doors playlist will take you on a psychedelic journey through the bands short-lived, but era-defining, career. There is a lifetime of wisdom and so much more weaved into these recordings that were all produced in less than six years.
Hello, I Love You
Featured track, “Hello, I Love You”, celebrates its 50th anniversary this week, of hitting No.1 on the Billboard Charts on August 3rd, 1968. And it’s really no surprise. Written by Jim Morrison, this playful pop song ticks all of the boxes – it’s sweet enough to slip under any parent’s censorship radar, but suggestive enough to speak straight to the hearts of teenage girls.
The single is credited with initiating the industry shift to stereo recordings, which was virtually unknown before this release. It includes a long musical sweep about 1:20 into the song, starting at the left channel and panning across into the right channel. It’s perhaps a very ostentatious demonstration of stereo effect, also highlights the progressive influence of The Doors on pop culture right from the start.
Bringing us to “Light My Fire” … and the party really gets started!
Light My Fire
Released in January 1967 on their self-titled debut album, “Light My Fire” spent 3 weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and introduced the world to Jim Morrison’s wild, untamed nature. A live performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, saw Morrison defy requests from the show’s producers to change the line, ‘girl we couldn’t higher,’ because of the reference to drugs. The band agreed to change it to, ‘girl, we couldn't get much better,’ but, despite rehearsing the amended version, when it came to the live performance Morrison persisted with the original lyrics.
After the performance they were informed that they would never do the Sullivan show again, to which Morrison simply replied, ‘Hey man. We just did the Sullivan show.’
Keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, blew my mind in the VH1 Classic Album Series when he demonstrated how he played the bass line with his left hand on a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass, while performing the other keyboard parts on a Vox Continental using his right hand. A seemingly impossible feat for any mere human, it’s the stuff that prodigies are made of.
Which leads us quite appropriately to the next track, “People Are Strange”.
People Are Strange
Released in September of 1967 on their second album, Strange Days, “People Are Strange” is a celebration of weirdness that offers a glimpse into the disassociation Morrison felt for the world around him. I have always been in awe of his ability to define the juxtaposition of alienation and acceptance that came with the job of being Jim Morrison, a man who was so fascinating because he was so strange.
The Doors' active career may have been short-lived, but their impact was immeasurable. They were the first American band to accumulate 8 consecutive gold and platinum LP's, cementing their place as one of the most influential bands of all time.
Jim Morrison’s poetic lyrics, distinctive voice and wild personality made him an enigma of his era. Despite his early and mysterious death at the age of 27, his image has become one of popular culture’s most often displayed icons, that 50 years on still has the magmatism to captivate the imagination of all us who love to live a little on the weird and wild side.
Apple users can listen here...
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