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THE DOORS

The Doors

 

Proto-Prog

4.30 | 463 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

1800iareyay
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I'm suprised at how long this site didn't have The Doors, but hosted bands like Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin. Don't get me wrong, Zep and Maiden have made great contributions to prog and rock in general, but I view The Doors as one of the top three influences on what would become prog, along with the Beatles and Deep Purple. If anyone doubts The Doors' prog credentials, consider this: The Doors were the first concrete psychedelic band. Psychedlic rock gave birth to prog. Bands like the Byrds had laid the foundations, and the Beatles were starting to shift their sound and lyrical content to psychedelia, but the Doors' are the first band everyone can agree is psychedelic. Also, Jim Morrsion's poetic and metaphorical lyrics can be seen in just about every pioneering prog band, particularly Genesis and Yes. Also, Ray Manzarek pioneered the keyboard as a prominent instrument. Later, keyboard wizards like Tony Banks and Keith Emerson would dominate their band's sound, while folks like Jon Lord and Rick Wakeman would still answer to the guitar but bring the keyboard to the front.

The eponymous debut has got to be one of the top 5 debuts of all time, along with Zeppelin's, Hendrix's, and Pink Floyd's. This album may be their best, and the track listing reads like a laundry list of singles. Every single track is great. Jim and the band strike a perfect balance between bruising hard rock and soft, often haunting, ballads and passages.

The album opens with two smokin' classics. "Break on Through" is a classic with it's bluesy riff and Jim's screams. "Soul Kitchen" is equally hard and would become a live monster, expanded from 3 and a half minutes to nearly twenty. "Crystal Ship" and "Twentieth Century Fox" are soft ballads, the latter being quite amusing and light. "Alabama Song" continues the humor, and is another Doors standard, but the best is right around the corner.

"Light My Fire" is the band's signature song. It's a 7:30 journey with raunchy, groundbreaking lyrics that feels so much shorter. Despite the overt sexuality of the lyrics and the fiery keyboards, Jim's vocals give it a serene beauty, even when he shouts. The song is essential proto-prog with it's changing tempo, volume, and styles.

"Back Door Man" is also laced with thinly veiled innuendo, and this song has the loopy hilarity you'd expect to find in Ian Gillan's lyrics. It's the bluesiest nukber on the album. "I Looked At You" is another amusing ballad along the lines of 20th Century Fox. "End of the Night" introduces the darkness that will pervade the closing epic and later Doors' songs like Riders on the Storm. "Take It As It Comes" is a poppy number, but it's well written and sounds so much better than any crap on the pop scene today.

"The End" is the epic finale of the album. Many people know it from Coppola's superb film APocalypse Now. It's very dark; at no point on this 11 minute aural journey will you feel uplifted. Ray creates a wonderfully eerie atmosphere with his keys and Jim's vocals are amazing. This song was very controversial thanks to the break in the middle where Jim chants "F**k me," and it resulted in the band being banned from several venues. This song is one of the most important proto-prog songs. It's length, time changes, and style changes all impacted what would become progressive rock.

This album is a classic of rock and proto-prog. As important as this album is to progressive rock, there are too many strightforward moments to be fully prog. However, this album belong in every rock fan's collection, as do almost all the Doors' albums.

Grade: B+

1800iareyay | 4/5 |

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