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THE DOORS

The Doors

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The Doors The Doors album cover
4.30 | 458 ratings | 57 reviews | 56% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music


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Studio Album, released in 1967

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Break On Through (To the Other Side) (2:30)
2. Soul Kitchen (3:35)
3. Crystal Ship (2:34)
4. Twentieth Century Fox (2:33)
5. Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) (3:20)
6. Light My Fire (7:08)
7. Back Door Man (3:34)
8. I Looked at You (2:22)
9. End Of The Night (2:52)
10. Take It As It Comes (2:17)
11. The End (11:43)

Total time 44:28

Bonus tracks on 40th Anniversary Mixes CD:
12. Moonlight Drive (Version 1) (2:43)
13. Moonlight Drive (Version 2) (2:30)
14. Indian Summer (8/19/66 Vocal) (2:36)

Lyrics

Search THE DOORS The Doors lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search THE DOORS The Doors tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Jim Morrison / vocals
- Ray Manzarek / organ, piano bass, piano and keyboards
- Robby Krieger / guitar
- John Densmore / drums

Releases information

LP Elektra EKS-74007 (1967)

CD Elektra 974 007-2 (1988)
CD Elektra 8122-79998-3, 40th Anniversary Mixes (2007, with 3 bonus tracks)

Thanks to erik neuteboom for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
Edit this entry

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THE DOORS The Doors ratings distribution


4.30
(458 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(56%)
56%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (9%)
9%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

THE DOORS The Doors reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The Doors is one of the most influent band of the sixties. Jim is one of the best songwriter of the decade. An enormous personality like there are no such more nowadays. The sound of Ray's keyboard will set the pace for the whole psychedelia of the band. The line-up will remain the same troughout their (short) career. Densmore on the drums and Krieger on the lead guitar. I first heard of them quite late actually (it was with "The End" in the movie "Apocalypse Now" in 1979). I own their entire official catalogue as well as about thirteen non-offical recordings (boots). On this first effort, the band has already reached his full maturity. The whole Doors "sound" is here. Manzarek hitting his keyboard so specially : one can recognize its typical sound almost instantly. Krieger being very sober on this album (I'm talking in terms of music because I donot know precisely if soberty was a common thing in those days...). Jim is of course already the gigantic leader we all know. As everybody, I can only be sadly sorry that he passed away way too soon (I incidently went to pay him a visit at the cementary of Le Pčre Lachaise in Paris last June (2006). A very, very emotional journey for me. This album is extremely important not only for the Doors, but for rock music in general. One weak track only : "Wiskey Bar". On the more commercial side "I Looked at You" must have been a solid base of inspiration for Syd while writing the first Floyd hits "Arnold Layne", "See Emily Play" and "Matilda Mother". The dark "End Of The Night" is an intruiging song : "Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to the endless night". The bluesy "Back Door Man" is another good song of the album. "Light My Fire" is an extraordinay psychedelic number with a fantastic keyboard section. Quite sexually oriented the song is rather dynamic and lenghty (over seven minutes) for the era. I guess this type of songs made it all possible for a band like the Floyd. The opener "Break On Through" is gorgeous and quite rocking. I would place "Take as It Comes" on the same level (although is is not well-known). Now : "The End" : this is the Doors absolute masterpiece and one of the most important song ever written. It is said that it was showing the suicidal attitude from Jim (right or wrong, I don't know). It is almost twelve minutes of pure psyche with very dark and provocative lyrics (also sexually oriented at times, Jim wanting to f... his mother and kill his father. Sic.). This song is FABULOUS. I hear it frequently and I am never tired of it. The Doors were also approached to play at Woodstock. But since the organizers were willing to present this event as a Music and Art Festival to the local authorites they were afraid that the name of "The Doors" would ruined their efforts. They were also scrared that their performance would lead to substantial disorder. I guess they were not wrong. Five stars for this essential album of rock history.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#105196) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 01, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well, the influental and ground-breaking with classics listened to bits ("Light my Fire" and "The End"), rough and rocky, but not that perfect as "L.A.Woman".Try to concentrate on lesser-known songs as " Twentieth Century Fox", "I Looked at You " and "Take It As It Comes " , and you'll understand why I gave it 4 stars. Except everyone's favourities I can point mines - " Soul Kitchen" , "Crystal Ship", "Back Door Man" and "End of The Night". 4,5 in my book - essential and highly recommended after all.

BTW, there's an Ukrainian band ESTHETIC EDUCATION reminding a lot of DOORS but with more modern sound...I plan to add them here ;-)

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#105251) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the essential albums of psychedelic era and one of the best debuts ever. Includes two high spots: a lengthy version of "Light My Fire" with wonderful extended organ/guitar jam and the notorious Morrisons lyrical tour de force - "The End" (I guess everyone knows this track from the Oscar winning soundtrack movie "Apocalypse Now"). But all other songs are nearly as good, with probable sub-standard exceptions of "Twentieth Century Fox" and "I Looked At You". Still, altough I wouldn't call it a masterpiece it surely comes close to the one - 4,5

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#105349) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Doors are open!

Well, i wonīt generate any kind of discussion about if the Doors are a main influence to the development of Progressive Rock, i will just review their albums, due to The Doors are one of my all time favorite bands, i think i am able to review all of their albums, but i will do that eventually.

This band is actually the only thing (musically talking) tha my father left to me, he likes good music and he listens to Alan Parsons Project which were one of the first prog (or related) bands that i knew, but the only band that i adopted from my fatherīs tastes was The Doors, so you can imagine i know them very well and iīm pleased to share my thoughts about their albums with you, so letīs start.

In 1967 a quartet of students, who had previously played in pubs and things like that, created so many songs, at the point that they were able to record a couple of albums in the same year, their debut and self titled album is probably one of the most essential albums in the history of rock, it may like you or not, but itīs a must having, and surely it is one of the most influential. So as i mentioned, it was the year of 1967 when "The Doors" started to blow peopleīs minds. Having a vast repertoire of songs, and knowing that this was only the beggining of a succesful (and controversial) career, they put 11 songs in this album and tell me if this is not a powerful and promising debut, when 3 of the albumīs songs are memorable tracks: Opening with "Break on Through" , who the hell isnīt familiar with this classic song, short i know but still great and rockier, not their best song though, but surely one of their must succesful hits. "Soul Kitchen" another classic song, very 60īs mood and with the Doors classic touch,"The Crystal Ship" as a soft melody, it doesnīt have the rockier side it is more calm and with the great Jimīs vocals, "20th Century Fox" is just another classi, one of those songs that they created but never became a favorite, and then, Alabama Song is one of my favorite songs here, we can notice a extraordinary organ playing and some little good changes throug the song.

And next to it, we have a masterpiece, "Light my Fire" is a musical piece very well written, yet better performed in their concerts, this is without a doubt one of the proggiest songs that they ever released, and again, without a doubt, one of the most significative songs in their history, and the history of rock, here we can also notice the way of the weird lyrics. "Backdoor Man" is another rockier song with the 60īs psychedelic feeling, good song always enjoyable, the next part is probably the less good,"I looked at you", "End of the Night" and "Take it as it Comes" are three short songs, not bad at all, but it wasnīt clearly the best that they could offer.

And finishing this memorable album, "The End" a challening, weird, progressive and outstanding song, this was the first over 10 minutes song that they released, and what a song, if you havenīt heard it , please buy this record and do it, is a complete trip.

So after all this is an excellent album, personally not my favorite and being a debut album, it was very promising at itīs time!

My grade, 4 stars, excellent addition to any prog lover, though this album is essential to any ROCK lover.

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#105583) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 04, 2007

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars There were many bands in the sixties that no other group has ever sounded like before or since. The Beatles, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin just to name a few. The Doors also belong on that list. Once can't even tag them with the "Southern California Sound" label because no one else from L.A. produced music like them, either. They stood completely apart from their competition. And they belong on this site because they were absolutely unique and because they utilized so many influences in their compositions. Jazz, rock, blues and classical atmospheres all tossed together without bias toward any of them. This album burst upon the FM airwaves like a bombshell. Unlike the aforementioned bands, this was a keyboard-driven group with the guitarist adding most of the colors and that set them apart instantly. They compelled your attention. Just listen to the first notes of "Break On Through" and you'll know what I mean. It's coiled like a Cobra. And then you hear Morrison's arresting voice and you are hooked like a big mouth bass. The music is immediate, sleek and fast. There is an undercurrent of sexuality that infiltrates your libido like some kind of subliminal messages flashed on a movie screen. "Let me sleep all night in your soul kitchen" and "Come on, Baby, light my fire" he croons. There are "A thousand girls, a thousand thrills" on the Crystal Ship and they "Specialize in having fun", he promises (on Take It As It Comes). And he "eats more chicken any man ever seen" he drawls boastingly. These were revolutionary lyrics in those days and they still cast a potent spell. But it wasn't just sensuality. There was danger in taking that stance. "Alabama Song" sounds innocent enough but there's a palpable evil presence lurking just underneath the tune like a hidden dagger and we never forget that it's there for the remainder of the album. That same cold blade is, at last, fiendishly brandished during "The End." Any questions about them being truly progressive are definitively answered by that incredible song alone. It has every necessary ingredient for the genre. Very few artists have taken the world on their first outing but these four musicians did just that. These are the songs they fine-tuned and crafted before the deluge of fame, out of the glaring eye of the public. The songs that made them what they are. What came after this was good by any standards but never as magical and hypnotic as this collection of tunes.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#105586) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 04, 2007

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I think that I first listened to The Doors in the early seventies. One of my brothers was a big fan of their music, something that years later influenced my father too. Both had a big collection of their albums. Despite the fact that I listened to their albums in excess during the seventies, I still consider the Doors as a very good and influential band.

This album is a very good album, a very good debut, with a "dark" atmosphere, but still with some "light" and commercial songs.

"Break on Through": one of their most known songs. I remember that there was a promotional film which was broadcasted on TV a lot. This is one of their "signature" songs, showing Morrison`s great voice.

"Soul Kitchen": a rock song played with energy. It is good to say that Producer Paul A. Rothchild knew how to let the band show their energy on albums.

"The Crystal Ship":one of my favourite songs from this band, with great piano & organ arrangements. Morrison sang with feeling.

"Twentieth Century Fox": one of the "light" songs of this album, with a bit of humour.

"Alabama Song": taken from a musical, this song is also another "light" moment with some humour. I think that someone played a mandolin in this song, but I`m not sure.

"Light My Fire": an energetic song, maybe the best from this album, another "signature" song from this band, with everybody playing and singing their best. A classic rock song.

"Back Door Man": a song composed by Willie Dixon which is not one of my favourites from this album.

"I Looked at You": a rock ballad, another "light" piece of music.

"End of the Night": with interesting "dark" atmospheres, a slide guitar and "tonal changes".

"Take it as It Comes": a Pop Rock song which still sounds "fresh" and "young".

"The End": the most "dark" song in this album, the most "proto-prog", with Morrison`s poetry telling a story which has influences from Greek mythology, with Krieger making sound his guitar like a sitar. It grows in intensity until the final climax. A great song and a good way to close this album.

This album was recorded in late 1966 and it was released in January 1967. This happened 40 years ago, and this album still sounds very good, not very dated.

The cover design is also very good.

The only thing that I don`t like very much from this album is the mixing: the Fender piano bass and the drums are mixed in one channel, and the guitar and the other keyboards in the other. The piano bass sounds thin. The Producer also didn`t like the piano bass then, and someone recorded some bass guitar parts over the piano bass parts, without mixing out the piano bass. This can be listened in several songs. The Producer suggested to use bass guitarists in the next albums, but the piano bass still appeared on a few songs in their next albums.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#106302) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 06, 2007

Review by 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+

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Posted Saturday, January 06, 2007

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars The doors' debut album is one album that is undissociable from the LA scene but also from the passage of Pop to Rock music. From its first hit Break On Through (full of energy, this two-minutes single is one of the garage-band rock-style that was the craze in LA) to the well-named epic The End, this album takes you for a roller-coaster ride that will dazzle and baffle you (especially back then) and take every single possible curve as not a detour but a real must-go-thru.

The quartet is not really blessed with above-average musicianship, but their songwriting is absolutely fascinating (their career throughout) and if Manzarek's Continental Vox organ is not a Hammond, his playing sure made the instrument's moment of glory- especially that he was doubling on bass pedals. While Krieger's style of guitars was very chameleon-like (always choosing discretion over histrionics, Densmore sober drumming was always appropriate,, the key of The Doors' success was Morrison's crystal-clear vocals as well as his impeccable delivery and an uncanny sense of drama both in his poems (the man had intense literary powers) and in his stage appearances - at least until his drug problems did not overtake his performances.

Yes, the group's performance on tracks such as Soul Kitchen (Manzarek's organs are chillingly beautiful), on Crystal Ship (again with Manzarek's piano intervention) and Alabama Song are perfectly laying out the group's wide spectrum, but the whole thing is not letting us suspect what's on the other side of the record. And judging by the first minute or so of the first track on the second side Light My Fire, you'd swear that you're in for more of what you heard, but by the third minute of this scorching track, you just know something special is brewing once Manzarek's already-long organ break cedes into a lengthy guitar solo. Krieger's moment of glory on this album is never about histrionics, but rather intelligent building up (much like Hackett on Firth Of Fifth some years later) and by the time Morrison takes over the reins anymore, the track can only close. Of course, the group's foundations were also in blues as will Back Door Man indicate, but if you listen to Krieger and Manzarek soft underlinings, you just know that they've got something special. After the gloomy End Of The Night, and a forgettable Take It As It Comes, the album is reaching its apex with the lengthy The End and its Indian sitar- laced, doomy and gloomy organs and Morrison's unsettling lyrics, while Densmore's drumming provides also its share of drama. Of course the two climaxes are the centre of the centrepiece, especially the first one with the famous Oedipus theme leading to a bedevilled and wild semi-improv where all three musicians shine. As the climax disappears suddenly, the track can only pick up again to die again soon after.

While this debut album is an integral part of rock's history, it is rather less obvious as to how it helped out prog to come of age. But by adding The Doors to Jefferson Airplane, Love, Iron Butterfly, HP Lovecraft, the Collectors, Quicksilver's Messenger Service and many more (let alone Zappa and Beefheart), you'll understand how the West Coast Psych was completely instrumental in Prog's development. Yes in the late 60's, the US were certainly giving the English a run for their money even sometimes preceding them.

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Posted Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The first three albums by THE DOORS are clearly my favorite American classic 60's psychedelic records, and it's difficult for me to pick up the best of these three. Their first album holds an intersting palette of songs blending different styles, which still make a solid and powerful end result without any clear filler tracks, which often infestate the longplayers of the 60's. This album also brings us some really dark psychedelia instead of the happy hippy trippy hippie power brought by majority of the other psychedelic groups of the same time. "The End" is maybe a culmination of this element, and it is also one of the first rock songs reaching over ten minutes. There is a wonderful performance of this song caputred on their "Soundstage Performances" DVD, which was shot at the Canadian TV studio. Other wonderful highlights of this classic are the mellow "Crystal Ship", really lingering at the edge of consciousness, and the fabulous Bertolt Brecht's "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)". This album was much played in my youth at the early 90's, as THE DOORS got popualr at Finland only after the release of the Oliver Stone movie. (!) Their first single in top10 here was their "Mosquito" single which was recorded after the band lader Jim Morrison was already deceased. So I also have some strong nostalghic feelings towards this record, which actually was a product of the previous generation! A real masterpiece!

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Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Review by Chris H
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A true psychedelia album, from the first seconds until the ending epic. This is one of my favorite albums, and it has quite a special place in my mind because it was the first Doors album I purhcased and turned me to their other works. OK, now onto the album review itself.

"Break On Through (To The Other Side)" is the classic Doors song. Everybody knows it, and everybody loves it! Starts off with some nice percussion, until Robbie and Ray come in with that classic Doors sound and Jim takes center stage from there, with his commanding vocals. "Soul Kitchen" is another one of those songs where it just gets stuck in your head and you have to listen over and over again. Nice catchy opening on the keys, and Jim comes in with more of a softer sound, until the chorus comes in when the music stays mellow, but Jim turns it up with the mic. "The Crystal Ship" is a nice slow, methodical song with excellent vocal work (again!). It can get a little repetetive, but in the middle of the song John does nice, soft percussion work which keeps everybody listening. "Twentieth Century Fox" is one of the weaker songs on this album, but it is still kept alive by Ray's work on keys, and Robbie does have a nice little solo here and there. "Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)" and "Back Door Man" are pretty much extensions of each other, as they are performed in the same vein where as other songs on this album usually differ greatly in styles. They are both rather bluesy, gritty rockers that are a nice touch to psychedelic aspect of this album. However, these two songs are split down the middle by the ultimate Doors radio wave hit, "Light My Fire". Probably the most played song by any band, let alone The Doors, this is a very catchy, keyboard driven song that demands a listen from any die-hard or just casual fan. "I Looked At You", "End Of The Night" and "Take It As It Comes" are three short tracks that are most likely thrown in there to set you up for the ending. While "I Looked At You" and "End Of The Night" don't have much to offer for sober fans, "Take It As It Comes" is a nice short blues piece that feature some of Jim's finest vocals. And finally, we are here! The End, the Doors' most masterful piece ever, not to mention one of the best-received epics of all-time. It starts off slow, with the usual percussion and keys, and Jim's vocals build the song up to a peak at around 3:45 when everything comes together for about 30 seconds and everybody turns it up until Jim's soothing vocals bring the tempo back down with some more verses.

All in all, you really can't experience this album with words, it is just such a complicated and mysterious work that you need to hear it for yourself. I highly recommend this album, and I declare it to be a masterpiece, therefore it gets 5 stars from me!

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Posted Saturday, January 13, 2007

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent debut from The Doors. Which band didn't produce the goods first time out in this era? Very few. The Doors lead by the ' recipe for disaster' Jim Morrison are an essentional addition to the progressive archives. Mystical lyrics, basic blues influence, Ray Manzarek's distinct keyboard sounds and Robbie Krieger's emphatic guitar sound. This debut album has some great tracks which became trademark concert specials like the awesome ' The End". Eleven minutes of brooding foreboding.The ever so popular' Light My Fire' and also the opener ' Break on through to the Other side'. This is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection.

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Posted Saturday, January 13, 2007

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars How exciting it must have been to experience the musical developments in the second half of The Sixties when bands broke with the tradition of the predictable pop and rock songs in the charts and started to experiment with longer compositions, improvisations, extended soli on a wide range of instruments and blending different genres. For me exciting examples are Vanilla Fudge, The Nice, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Pink Floyd and ... The Doors! Their debut album is generally considered as their best effort, it's also the best rated The Doors studio album on Prog Archives. I love it madly because it features the very distinctive The Doors sound at its pinnacle, in my opinion The Doors never succeeded to generate so much excitement on later albums although Strange Days and L.A. Woman are also good ones.

The first track Break On Through is a dynamic, often propulsive blend of rock (raw guitar riffs) and psychedelic (Vox Continental organ play), topped by Jim his expressive vocals and John his adventurous and powerful drumming. Next is the bluesy Soul Kitchen, a song that features the distinctive Manzarek/Krieger interplay and mellow vocals and sexual lyrical references by Jim. Then Jim his most romantic effort ever made, the dreamy and very wonderful ballad The Crystal Ship with a beautiful classical piano interlude by Ray which gives this moving song an extra emotional dimension. The tracks Twentieth Century Fox, Back Door Man, I Looked At You, End Of The Night and Take It As It Comes are basically rock and blues (with hints from CCR, The Kinks and Them) but The Doors made it very special with Ray his swirling organ sound and Jim his crooner-like vocals and primal screams. The Alabama Song contains a cheerful climate with funny piano work and a strong vocal performance by Jim. My favorite composition on this eponymous debut album is Light My Fire delivering a compelling atmosphere, a catchy organ intro and great soli on organ and guitar. But the most acclaimed song on this album is the final one, The End. It's no coincidence that Francis Ford Coppola was struck by the sultry and hypnotic climate and used it for his movie Apocalypse Now: Robby his guitarwork has a captivating Eastern undertone, Jim his vocals sound melancholical and dramatic and gradually the atmosphere turns into an ecstatic climax with mindblowing interplay between organ, guitar and drums with Jim on an almost shamanic level.

To me this albums sounds as one of the best rock album debuts, so dynamic and captivating, this is a masterpiece, an awesome progressive effort!

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Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars John Densmore said "On each song we had tried every possible arrangement, so we felt the whole album was tight." Yeah, I would say so. I know Jim Morrison was the focus of the media, but man these three other guys could really play. And it's all here for everyone to hear on their debut album.

"Break On Through" is a passionate, uptempo song that really starts things off rocking ! I love the organ play a minute in. "Soul Kitchen" is an organ driven tune that's quite catchy. "The Crystal Ship" is a mellow song with some nice piano melodies. "Twentieth Century Fox" and "Alabama Song" are both ok but don't do a lot for me. "Light My Fire" on the other hand is my favourite DOORS tune. The organ play is amazing, almost hypnotic. And the guitar 4 minutes in is great too. And check out the guitar / drum interplay that follows.The drumming is fantastic as well. I love everything about this song. It's funny but as a kid I had a "Hot Wheel" car that was a 1967 firebird, and the name of it written on the bottom was "Light My Fire".

"Back Door Man" is an old blues song they covered very well. "I Looked At You" features some more outstanding drumming, while I don't really like "End Of the Night". "Take It As It Comes" is a good, upbeat song with some more incredible organ melodies. "The End" is a dark song with explicit lyrics that got them fired from the "Whiskey-a-Go-Go" where they were the house band at the time. I also remember Ed Sullivan telling Jim Morrison not to use the word "higher" in the song they were to sing on his show "Light My Fire". Well Jim sang it anyway and they were banned from coming back on his show. Ah yes, the rebellious sixties.

For me this is a solid four star record, containing one of the best songs i've ever heard.

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Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The doors to The Doors.

Hah, The Doors' debut. It's interesting - while some people will find similarities with this one and a work of VELVET UNDERGROUND, the other will found prototype of progressive rock.

This is a good starter. And even more; it's a good starter for anything. Regardless of listeners' taste, this is worth spinning.

This is an excellent rock album; when the first seconds of "Break On Through" start to cuddle your ears, you will know you are in good hands. In it's essence, the song is based on Latino-American music, but it's the most rocking rock and roll songs ever. "Soul Kitchen" is another good rock song with nice organ lines and nice chorus, but those lines will be derived and re-derived in quite short Doors' career. Never mind. "Crystal Ship" is a beautiful slow ballad, piano-driven, with, needless to say, excellent lyrics. I must admit that I'm not big fan of Morrison's lyrics (although I used to be back in my teens), but this song is lyrically the top. "Twentieth Century Fox" is another good rock tune, somewhat similar to "Soul Kitchen". The Doors covered Brecht's "Alabama Song" and the result is...let's just say, great psychedelic carousel. For the comparisons, Bowie's adaptation of the same song is not even close (and I think Bowie is a genius). "Light My Fire" is so overplayed that I can't hear it any more. However it's longish jam session (a nice interplay of Manzarek's organ and Krieger's guitar) with (again) traces of bossa nova, and catchy, pseudo-classical intro. A piece of history.

"Back Door Man" is a simple and good blues-rock song, not too demanding. It's definitely lacking the energy that band provided on their live shows during the performance of this one. "I Looked At You" is the weakest track on the album, just a dull rock song. "End Of The Night" is rewarding us with great atmosphere, somewhat comparable to VELVET UNDERGROUND (yes, THE DOORS were influenced), with a nice guitar and a scent of sin. In a very natural floating way, "Take It As It Comes" is a song about heroin, with a certain spleen of despair in it. Great and sincere song, including brilliant psychedelic organ solo.

"The End" is one of the most depressing and most powerful psychedelic songs ever. The traces of VU are evident here, too. This is some sort of a epic, it's a vivisection of someone's madness, or I dare say despair caused by a painful alienation. The song is clearly evoking reddish pictures, changing moods from calming to gory. The lyrics are accenting the song in a some way simply because they can be interpreted as a pure nonsense or as a continuous story with an Oedipus complex used as a leitmotif. It is a masterpiece. And the album is very close to that status, but contains a few weaker moments, and it slightly paled in my eyes (ears) during the years - but the album's highlights are still good; or shall I say eternal.

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Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If I had to choose one band to call it "the first rock band that showed me that rock could be good", that band would be The Doors. Even though my first actual introduction to good rock was Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, that was just one song, and as much as I admired it, it or the band never really turned into one of my favorites. On the other hand, when I started listening to The Doors (after seeing the movie by Oliver Stone, which I shouldn't have seen as I was underage at the time), I finally realized that rock music could be good, after years of only hearing classical music. And the band and their music has stayed in my heart ever since, and nowadays I not only love their music, but also hold the band in a special place in my heart, as the first CD I ever bought (after years of Vinyl and cassettes) was a double Greatest Hits (the one with the legendary photo of Jim Morrison on the cover), and the first band I ever owned all their albums from was The Doors.

I won't get into much detail about the band and the music. I think, in this case, we can assume everybody that knows anything about rock has at least heard five or six songs by this legendary outfit from Los Angeles. I'll just share my thoughts on the album, the songs, and also about the new special 2007 remix issued in commemoration of the 40 years of the original recording.

This new edition, published by Rhino Records, has quite a few special features. First, the booklets are much more interesting now. We have a lot of photos, all the lyrics for every song, and special commentaries by The Doors' original producer Bruce Botnick and, in every album, a different music-journalist/Doors' fan. The commentaries by Botnick are quite insightful and help the listener to notice the changes, and the words by the journalists are always good pieces of music history and information.

But the most special new feature is, of course, the sound. All the albums have been remixed with the participation of the band's remaining members (Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek) and taken directly from the original analog tapes. The sound is crisp, detailed and better than ever. There are also enhancements like the possibility to hear sounds and details that weren't available in the original LP's and in the older CD versions. A few guitar chords here, a few keyboard effects there, a lot of minor things make their appearance for the first time. In the vocal department, we finally get the original, full version of all songs, like in "Break on through", where we can at last hear Morrison singing "she gets high, she gets high" instead of "she gets, she gets" due to original censorship (or fear thereof). In "The End", near the end, we can hear Morrison singing rhythmical "Kill Kill, Fuck Fuck" while the band is playing the faster section, a feature that could originally be heard in the soundtrack of APOCALYPSE NOW, that masterpiece of Cinema by Francis Ford Coppola. The final, and probably the most important change, is in the speed of the album. Botnick in his introduction announces that, after musicological research, it was determined that the music in the LP's and CD's that we have loved for the last 40 years since THE DOORS was originally recorded a notch faster, thus altering some chords and harmonies. From the booklet: "the verse chords in 'Light My Fire' should be an alternation of A minor and F- sharp minor. (.) in the original releases, the chords are A-flat minor and F-minor" (Botnick, 2006). The difference is not strikingly noticeable except maybe for "Light My Fire", where you can easily detect that the song now sounds, to use a word Morrison loved, higher. The song clocks in at 6:50 minutes, the intended length of the original track as played by The Doors, as opposed to the 7:05 minute-version we have been listening since the album was published.

That was all about the re-mix versions. Now let's talk about the album. I really won't even describe the songs, everybody knows them, but I'll give my opinions.

Break on Through (To the other side) (9/10) This is one of the most classic songs in all The Doors' catalogue, and a true brief rock anthem. The jazzy feeling thanks to Densmore rhythm makes the rock that goes above it so much ambiguous, darker, full of doubts. A fantastic introduction to the "Stranger Side", if we may call it that way.

Soul Kitchen (8.5/10) The "soul" in this song comes mostly from Manzarek's inspired little keyboard figure. Krieger only punctuates and plays over it, leaving all the room for Morrison to deliver his powerful low vocals. Good dark rocker. At times this music reminds us of what we typically associate with California music (The Beach Boys, etc) but it's like the "bizarre world version" of that already strange atmosphere.

The Crystal Ship (10/10) The first masterpiece in this album, so short, so sad, so obscure. It's like we're dwelling in a dark little room full of bad spirits, with rain in the outside, alcohol, wooden, rusty walls, and the only light comes from the reflection of the moon in the white keys in the piano which sings a memorable tune. Superb.

Twentieth Century Fox (8.5/10) A more "rocky" song, it has the usual irony and wit of all The Doors' compositions (well, almost all. There's "Tell all the People" after all).It pictures a happy-life lady, but Morrison looks at her with such a loving, naïve eye. He knows what's all about, yet he sees something magical in it, as it should be. Good fun track.

Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) (9.5/10) One of two non-original songs in THE DOORS, it has such an elegant, classy, yet DRUNKEN-class flavor to it that is an immediate classic. If elegance was a liquor, this would be the right song for it. Great.

Light My Fire (9.5/10) All I can say is, CLASSIC. From Manzarek's intro to Morrison's vocals (with lyrical contributions by Krieger, actually the whole first verse is his), to the dialogue between Manzarek's keyboards and Krieger's guitar, with Densmore tightly keeping time in the back, the song sings for itself. Not perfect for me, maybe due to over-exposure. But fantastic nevertheless.

Back Door Man (6.5/10) For me, the weakest track in the album, the second non- original song and the most chaotic of them all. Too dirty-bluesy rock, I just don't like it that much. It seems like recorded for the sake of the lyrics, nor for any musical reason. Not awful, not even bad, but not up to the level of the rest of the album.

I Looked At You (8/10) We're back on track, though not in the highest grounds. The song starts wonderfully but I just don't like when, after a full stop, the band comes back again with Morrison screaming carelessly. Good song but could've been better.

End of the Night (9/10) This is more like it. We're back in eerie lands, in those obscure, LSD-created worlds of dangerous, hypnotic, yet arresting music. Morrison shines here, when in the second section he sings with true desperation after a brief tom-tom roll by Densmore. Very good song.

Take it As it Comes (8.5/10) Another "normal" rock song, with a more regular flavor, without so many dark overtones. A good next-to-last song which opens the way for the final ritual.

The End (10/10) Maybe from a purely musical point of view this may be seen as a erratic, absurd track. Maybe the lyrics are, for some, "psychological bulls**t". But if there is ONE track that, for me, defines this band, is this one. This is THE song, THE track, The End. From the incredibly sub-human, sub-conscious notes in the beginning, to the gradually growing atmosphere full of psychodelia, shamans, snakes, drugs, hallucination, to the final climax and the violent, insane ritualistic dance near the end, this track represent everything that was good and everything that was bad with The Doors. An anthem of Rock.

My final comments: this is a flawed masterpiece. As fantastic and magnificent (and original and unique) as it is, it's would not be a perfect 5-star album for me due to a couple of so-so tracks that should bring the rating down a notch. But that's talking about the album as a whole, and what it does FOR ME. In this case, the parts are better than their sum. And musical history wouldn't be what it is with some of them. Musical perfection was still ahead for The Doors, and they would achieve it in their next release. But I just CAN'T give this album less than 5-stars, for it appears in the dictionary next to the word "essential". To understand many of rock developments through the ages, it's essential to have this disc.

Recommended to: Everyone who wants to listen a true rock n' roll classic.

Not recommended for: Find out for yourself.

.by the way: this is a Progressive Rock website. I haven't uttered the word "prog" even ONCE during this entire review. Does it mean that this album doesn't qualify as prog for me?

This is a case where it just doesn't matter. For sure, it was influential for many prog bands, and it has many elements that make it worthy of being called "proto-prog". But, in The End, it doesn't really matter.

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Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Lighting the fire

Talk about hitting the ground running! It is astonishing to think that we need to go back to 1967 for this seminal album, such is its currency even today. And talking of hitting the ground running, what better way for a band to introduce themselves than with the first track "Break on through (to the other side"). Even when you consider the 40 (yes 40!) years of music which has been made since, this track still catches the ear as a wonderfully confident initial statement.

It is though when we get to "Light my fire" that we really discover the supreme talent which has been assembled here. This monument of proto-prog has it all; a compulsive organ solo by Ray Manzarek, some fine guitar work by Bobby Kreiger, and an orgasmic vocal performance by Jim Morrison. The other song which is of particular interest to this site is the 11― minute closing track "The end". Apart from the fact that at the time it was still highly unusual for a band to include a such a long song on what was essentially a pop orientated album, the song itself is a haunting, gloomy affair which has often been imitated since, but never bettered.

There are inevitably less notable songs, but even these have a consistency of quality which makes the album as a whole a truly remarkable debut. Mention should be made of the cover of Willie Dixon's "Back door man", which demonstrates the blues side of the band's roots. Good to see Dixon receiving a credit too, something Led Zeppelin omitted when they used this and other songs by him.

In summary, a masterful debut album which stands proudly as a great album in itself, but is also essential listening for those interested in the roots of prog.

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Posted Saturday, June 02, 2007

Review by The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars So this is the Doors. And, coincidentally, this is The Doors. This record is often hailed as the Doors' best work, and one of the greatest debut albums of all time. And those assumptions are both LIES! FILTHY LIES!!! Ahem. Excuse me.

Er, by which I mean, I have heard more impressive debut albums before, and I have heard more impressive Doors albums before. Maybe this is some kind of a "you had to be there" thing.

Anyway, what seems to matter is that the Doors already had their unique brand of Gothic carnival pop laced with heavy blues and acid jazz. However, it's lacking a certain mature stylistic atmosphere that wouldn't come along until the next album (I could easily sell The Doors off as psychedelic, albeit inventive and creepy psyche for sure). Which doesn't mean you should avoid it by any means...

The opening number, "Break on Through (To the Other Side)" crashes in with a monstrously thick riff, and still stands as my favorite song on the album (not necessarily an easy choice mind you). But it's just so cool. Great lyrics, fantastic musicianship. Too bad the rest of the album cannot quite live up.

Of course, the rest of this crap is pretty much great anyways; "Soul Kitchen" features a cool little organ riff and fun lyrics, and dig the way that the guitar and organ almost compete for the spot of soloist. "The Crystal Ship" is, almost doubtlessly, the most beautiful song the band ever produced. Jimbo sings with his best haunting balladeering style, and the piano solo is gorgeous.

But wait, "Twentieth Century Fox?" That's just a pop song! It's not even that creepy. But still, there's something stupidly catchy about the tune, and refuse to condemn it. Now, "Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)" sounds like it was created for Jim ("Show me the way to the next whiskey bar?" Are you sure this is a cover?). I love how the bass sounds just like a tuba. The stuttering harpsichord is great, but that organ? There's something fantastically ominous about it...

Then there's "Light My Fire," the track that everyone and his grandma raves about. Well, it's good, of course. The opening riff has got to be one of the greatest keyboard related things EVER. But I don't feel that Ray and Robbie were quite up to endless soloing just yet, but it's still worth it to hear that clever riff slice through the mounting tension as the band jams.

Aha! It's "Back Door Man" that contains the best soloing on the album! It's another cover, and the blend of (brilliantly played) bloozy guitar, wheezy vocals and carnival organ is pretty much flawless; in fact, I almost feel like calling this one the best song on the album. Once again, cover though it may be, the Doors make it their own. This is prototype of all Doors blues to come.

"I Looked at You" is simply a ridiculous effort in injecting apocalyptic imagery into a pop song. However, there is very little to complain about with dark ballad "End of the Night." Yes it's another ballad, but it's a really messed up one. I can't tell you who's creepier, Jimbo or Robbie. "Take it as it Comes," now that's a strange one. It sounds like a solid piece of Iron Butterfly pop matched with ALMOST decent lyrics. But, c'mon man, this is the Doors! It's a stupid song by anyone's setlist.

And finally, "The End" actually pretty much sums up what is wrong with the album. The lyrical imagery is amazing ("Ride the king's highway," "weird scenes inside a goldmine;" this has got to be the greatest truly American epic from that point of view), but that's all there is to it. It's Jim's show. The music can't live up to the lyrics; it's just the same Easternish lines over and over again, except for that one part towards the end where it starts to speed up. But it never gets any more interesting.

And that's really the problem with the album. Jim is here; all his snakes and death and darkness is in place, but the DOORS aren't. Not just yet. And I like Jim a lot, but I like the Doors even more. And, from a technical point of view, the rest of the band just isn't ready to back him up.

A lot of people complain that the Doors shot their wad right here and now, and you can see traces of the next album here and there (in fact, based on what I've heard, "When the Music's Over" can be found in the intro to "Soul Kitchen," the vocals of "End of the Night" and the soloing of "Light My Fire"), but even so, it was still unpolished. So that isn't a sign of a band that was repeating itself, because Strange Days sounds NOTHING LIKE The Doors. It's a sign of a band that was taking what it had and refining it under a better, more musically and atmospherically mature skin.

In fact, do you know why "Break on Through" is such a successful hard rock song? The same reason why "The Crystal Ship" is so beautiful, and, on the other hand, "Twentieth Century Fox" is such a weird pop song; because the Doors are still a conventional band...the Doors are still a conventional band...YOU CANNOT PETETION THE DOORS WITH BEING A CONVENTIONAL BAND!!!

Simply put, The Doors is a great album, but it's still just a normal album that a number of other bands with a lot of talent could pull off (except "The End," of course, but that's just Jim). Darker than usual, scarier too; but more importantly, it shows the signs of the bigger and better things to come. And that, and the fact that the boys were able to create their masterpiece just a few months later, is the real thing about this album that should amaze you.

(So what's that baby? You STILL think that The Doors is better than that strange ole Strange Days? Well, the remaster further proves my point with its bonus tracks. Just compare the album version of "Moonlight Drive" with the two versions here. The final is, of course, an unclassifiable Doors masterpiece of build. These two? Meh. They're just psycho-pop songs. The first one especially; the second one at least has the Doors sound more or less in place, but the Doors soul is still missing. The guitar work is cool, but the vocals are schlocky. See why the Doors can't be a normal band? Oh well. "Indian Summer" is, to my defiled ears, some'hat similar to the album version, but I consider it to be atmospheric fluff anyways (besides, its presence here reminds me of how much it sounds like "The End"). I guess the best track is the second "Moonlight," but these bonuses are even less interesting to me than those on Strange Days. No change in the overall rating.)

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Posted Sunday, March 23, 2008

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars If I were to think of one album that ''sounds like the 60's'', this album would probably be one of the first if not THE first to pop in my mind. Certainly groundbreaking for 1967 and on so many levels, it's such a shame that I really don't have much enthusiasm for THE DOORS even if this album is the first album I purchased that is PA worthy (as early as December 2004).

As far as a prog factor is concerned, I feel that there are two songs worthy of analysis, and they happen to be the two longest ones (predictalbe, no?). ''Light My Fire'' is one of the best known songs from the Doors and happens to feature long soloing from Hammond organ and guitar wrapped in a lush psychedelic atmosphere. Unfortunately, I feel that the soloing gets a tad too long for its own sake. I happen to think of it as a great three minute 60's piece with four minutes of extended solos.

''The End'' is, to me, the other really noteworthy track of the album. It starts with this eerie guitar figure and Jim's voice booming over it all in a rather spooky mystique. The song feels the need to gradually climb and recede over time until about the nine minute mark when all goes crazy. And it drops to the same level as it began at the end. In all my overanalysing, let me say this, ''The End'' is absolutely spine chilling.

Everything else seems too ''stuck in the 60's'' for me to really enjoy. I admit to liking ''Break on Through'', ''I Looked at You'' and ''Back Door Man'', but it's hard for me to get mileage out of this as I was born nearly twenty years after the album was released. It's good to see where some prog aspects came from, but there isn't a crying need to have it in your collection.

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Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The debut album from The Doors is without a doubt one of the most groundbreaking releases in rock history. The Doors is a unique band with a unique sound and for a debut album The Doors have a very mature quality yet maintaining the youthful experimentation of the time. The Doors mixed circus like organ themes with blues rock, jazz influenced drumming and the dark provocative lyrics from Jim Morrison. Their sound was highly original and even though they were pioneers in the organ led prog rock genre, no other band has ever sounded like them. Not then and certainly not now.

Break On Through (To the Other Side) starts the album. Itīs a very energetic song with some dark lyrics which wasnīt something you heard everyday in 1967. Soul Kitchen is a good rock song while Crystal Ship is a more subtle song. Itīs a real beauty. Twentieth Century Fox is a real rocker. Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) is a favorite of mine. Itīs a cover song of a german cabaret song by Kurt Weil and Bertolt Brecht from 1927 done The Doors way.

Light My Fire is The Doors signature song and while Iīm a bit tired of that particular song itīs still an evergreen that deserves praise. The long organ and guitar solos are of course a big treat in Light My Fire even though some people might find them a bit too long. Jim Morrisonīs dark and sensual voice captured a whole generation with this song. Back Door Man is a blues cover song which was originaly played by Howlin Wolf. If you like Morrison Hotel and L.A. Womanīs more bluesy sound Back Door Man is the song for you. I Looked at You, End Of The Night and Take It As It Comes are all good songs while not standing out very much. The End is one of the most famous The Doors songs of course immortalized in Apocalypse Now but also a great song in itīs own respect. Itīs was a steady routine in The Doors early live shows and was played in many different jamming versions that always build on the eastern influenced main riff but always evolved into something new. Itīs a very repetitive song but it never gets boring.

The musicianship on this debut album is outstanding. Everyone here has their own style that brings that special sound to The Doors. Jim Morrisonīs deep and pleasant voice plus his dark lyrics, Ray Manzarekīs dominant organ and piano playing plus his keyboard bass. John Densmore jazzy influenced rock drumming and Robby Kriegerīs distinct guitar notes. Itīs the interplay between these four musicians that made them legends though. They play really tight and with great sense of dynamics.

The sound quality is very good for the time and even today it stands as one of the best productions of the sixties.

Of course a classic album like this deserves 5 stars, but I must confess that I like other The Doors albums a little more than this debut album and even though this is a very innovative album for the time, there are still a couple of songs that doesnīt stand out that much. This is a brilliant album though and I will rate it 4 stars. The Doors rule.

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Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Review by TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review 46, The Doors, The Doors, 1967

StarStarStarStar

'F**k yeah'

The Doors are rather an unusual outfit. On the one hand, you have full-blown psychedelic insanity with no respect for song structures, on the other, you have a blues and pop-structured output with a unique sound (mostly due to Ray Manzarek's love for the organ) and Morrison's bizarre and morbid lyrics. This album contains The Doors' three obvious staples: Break On Through, Light My Fire and The End, and those songs alone would be reason to buy the album, but the rest is generally excellent, with an occasional example of something that doesn't quite match up (Whisky Bar, especially). Essential album for anyone who likes psychedelia, which happens to include me.

Break On Through introduces the album incredibly, with a real beast of a concise (2:30) prog-pop-rock song. Morrison's brilliantly violent lyrics ('Found an island in your arms/A country in your eyes/Arms that chain us! Eyes that lie! Break on through to the other side!') and maddened vocals dominate the song, along with a guitar riff and a modified Bossa Nova beat. The organ kicks throughout, providing the song with a little more force. A huge favourite of mine. Well-worth cranking up the volume for.

The follower, Soul Kitchen, shows off a greater range of The Doors' appeal. A haunting atmosphere is created by the lyrics and odd harmony choices, and the rock moments are no less impressive. A bass hums carelessly in the background, preparing the changes in the song, while the organ alternately places itself behind the rest of the instruments, and over them during the rock moments. Robby Krieger's guitar provides a couple of twists over it, including a brief bluesy solo.

The Crystal Ship shows the more gentle qualities of The Doors, and their ability to create grandeur without any pomp, Jim Morrison's soft vocal is surprisingly excellent, given how much The Doors' harder moments rely on his raw aggression, and a beautiful contribution on piano from Ray Manzarek really makes the song, as strong as the guitar and organ are. A soft drum part showcases the diversity of John Densmore.

20th Century Fox is another different piece, with the strained bass sound rather common on this album as a rather dominant instrument. The music is all top notch, with Krieger's guitar as a particular high point. The vocals, however, don't really carry it as effectively as they do other pieces, and naturally, the lyrical content doesn't transfer well across forty years.

Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) is a bit of a weak spot, in my opinion, with an awkward bombardon-like thingummy (presumably from Manzarek) underlying the song with a cheerful two-note beat. The rest of the material, particularly Krieger's mandolin-like guitar contribution, is pretty good. I'm just not particularly impressed with this one.

Light My Fire is another of the classic Doors songs, with a catchy organ riff throughout the verses, as well as an enjoyable rhythm section, with some potent crashes from Densmore. A longer psychedelic instrumental section features an excellent extended organ solo from Manzarek, as well as a guitar solo from Robby Krieger. Morrison's moderately stoned call for drug use is fairly amusing, and actually an excellent vocal performance.

Back Door Man is a cover, with an appropriate nodding bluesy rhythm, vague lyrical improvisation, and warming-up feel. We do basically get the same few bars of music throughout, but with some excellent additions from Krieger and Manzarek, as well as a very well-suited vocal from Morrison. It is a blues, so sounds like one. You have been warned.

I Looked At You is probably the purest pop song on the album, with a foot-tapping rhythm, completely mindless lyrics. Even the organ and guitar feel dancy and rhythmic. To be fair, nothing individually is very offensive, but I just don't get into it as a whole, with way too many repeats of the 'and we're on our way...' section.

End Of The Night features a chilling atmosphere, created mostly by the very slow playing from everyone, almost suspended in time. Krieger's guitar gives slow, curious soloing, with some very well timed movements. Morrison's vocal is equally slow and haunting. Without speeding up, the band can still convey a faster or more immediate burst of movement.

Take It As It Comes is an enjoyable pop song, with the psychedelic feel of the organ and lyrics nicely handled. The organ soloing is extremely good fun, and the bass again works quite nicely, even taking a solo to allow the organ to come in again with a lot more force. Morrison's vocals are again superb.

The album's final piece is probably the bands best-known work, The End. It is a fully psychedelic piece of work, and needs to be appreciated as one. The twists on guitar throughout are absolutely fantastic, and I can't think of another way you could have done the percussion than Densmore's combination of random noises and brief beats, not relying on one sort of drum or a sustained beat for too long at a time. The jungle of organ-work provides a psychedelic and constant, maddening force to the song. Morrison's vocals and lyrical style ('Lost in a Roman/Wilderness of pain/And all. The. Child-ren/Are insane) were made for this song. His untamed aggression gives us the powerful moments of the song, while his softer voice again feels almost-mantric in its conviction.

Of especial note is the section where Morrison narrates the actions of the killer with relish and glee ('He took a face from the ancient gallery!'), and the rest of the band fully support his vocal. The madness, the tragedy, the beauty and the anger of the piece are handled with a demonstrative force, conviction and power throughout, as well as bits of dissonance that are entirely right and a very nice understated conclusion. A masterpiece of progressive rock, if ever there was one. Those who call it boring just don't have the attention span.

I do really love this album as a whole, and any lover of good psych rock (or even people who don't usually care for the genre) should try this out, for historical interest as well as quality. The other albums of The Doors are certainly not without worth, but never again do they reach the sheer force of The End or Break On Through. Very enjoyable, but with a couple of tracks that bring the album down.

Rating: Four Stars

Favourite Track: Break On Through (To The Other Side) [or The End. Really no preference between the two]

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Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Review by CCVP
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I can't see all the hype about this album OR about The Doors, but this is a pretty decent debut still.

OK guys, when it comes to psychedelic rock, i am not exactly a professional nor a die-hard fan, but i still enjoy my fair amount of it now and then, specially because i listen to it since the tender age of childhood, more specifically, to my father's Os Mutantes and Pink Floyd vinyl collection. So it was inevitable that, sooner or later, i would come across this album, the so called The Doors Magnum Opus and supposedly one of the most important and one of the best psychedelic releases ever, and that is why, when i bought the 40th anniversary mixes release of this album, i was pretty excited. Not thrilled, but excited nevertheless.

The 40th anniversary mixes release is a fairly good release and it fixes a series of issues the other releases had (both the vinyl album and the CD album releases) concerning mixing and mastering, specially the tape issue (one of the tapes was running too slow or too fast, so the pitches of the original album releases are all wrong and this 40th anniversary release have the proper pitches) and the censorship issue (in this release, Jim properly sings she gets high, she gets high, she gets high), besides giving the old tapes a much brighter, clearer and better release than ever before (not my words, Bruce Botnick's words), besides the 3 bonus tracks: 2 versions of Moonlight Drive and a live version of Indian Summer (this last one i think is pretty rare, because live recordings were much difficult to be made 42 years ago!).

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

Well, in spite of all the technological improvements, this album have, in the end of the day, THE thing that really counts: the songs. Their music-wise quality, despite not having a crystal clear sound, i gotta say that, overall, the album is pretty good, besides some lame songs.

The album starts very well with the classic Break On Through (To The Other Side) and is followed by the also good Soul Kitchen and The Crystal Ship. However, they are followed by the horrible Twentieth Century Fox and the fairly good Alabama Song (Whisky Bar). After those, comes the amazing classic Light my Fire, which is followed by the not so good Back Door Man and the fairly good I Looked at You. The quite nice End of the Night and Take It as It Comes prepare the ground for the traditional album closing, the great song The End, which is the longest song and probably the best song of the whole album.

About the bonus tracks, The 1st version of Moonlight Drive is the best of both and the live song Indian Summer is also very nice.

The highlights go to: Break On Through (To The Other Side), The Crystal Ship, Light my Fire, End of the Night and The End.

The saddest parts are: Twentieth Century Fox (damn, this song sucks) and Back door man.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Right, so this is the second best album in the proto-prog genre (so far). . . What a disappointment. I mean, knowing most of The Beatles and The Who studio albums, as well as a fair amount of Deep Purple and I REALLY can't see how this album is better rated than far better and influential albums, like Tommy, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and In Rock.

Nevertheless, it would be unfair to rate this album low just because I disagree with its overall grade, so my rating is 100% about this album and its music, not about its position in a top 20 list made by PA. So, because I really liked some songs and really hated others, I think its fair enough to rate this psychedelic rock album with full 4 stars.

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Posted Saturday, December 06, 2008

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A ground-breaking debut album, never bettered by the band in the following years. Unforgettable organ riffs, long, mesmerising instrumental flights, intriguing, sometimes positively disturbing lyrics, and vocals veering from the soothing to the sensual to the aggressive, often within the space of the same song. Last but not least, a frontman the likes of whom the rock world had not seen since Elvis, a charismatic, heart-wrenchingly beautiful wildman whose career would burn brightly like a meteor, and leave a lasting mark in the collective memory of the final years of the 20th century... This, in a nutshell, is The Doors - an album that, whatever its shortcomings, every self-respecting rock fan should hear at least once in their lifetime.

An object of scandal and worship, infuriatingly uneven in the brief span of their activity, The Doors can be seen as a triumph of style over substance. In spite of their attempts to continue without the man who, in so many ways, WAS the band itself, they will be forever be identified with Jim Morrison's spicy-chocolate vocals and his Dionysian image, half-shaman, half-Lothario, with more than a bit of the hopeless drunk and druggie thrown in. Though some call him overrated as a lyricist (and perhaps he was), and his decline before his death was quite pathetic to behold, there is no denying that Jim, at his peak, was a force of nature - and nothing proves this point better than the band's first effort, released in one of the most important years for rock music. As is the case of other cult albums, it is what I call a 'flawed masterpiece', not perfect by any means, and certainly not in the way of, say, Close to the Edge, or even their contemporaries Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation. However, it is also much more than the sum of its parts - iconic is the word that comes to mind.

Even if Jim Morrison was the face and the voice of the band, much like another group with a frontman who passed away too soon (Queen), the musical driving force behind The Doors was someone else - keyboardist Ray Manzarek, one of the most influential (and all too often forgotten) practitioners of his instrument. Even before prog brought keyboards to the fore and got them to replace the guitar as the most important instrument in music, before the Keith Emersons and Rick Wakemans of this world, there was Ray Manzarek's Vox Continental organ, used to replace the bass with a unique, rhythmic effect. The Doors had a fine guitarist in Robbie Krieger, but Manzarek's overall imprint on the band's sound is simply too great to be discounted.

The album features eleven songs, for the most part between two and three minutes in length, with two notable exceptions - the two songs that, in their very different ways, symbolise the album. Light My Fire needs no introduction, since it has had more airplay and more cover versions (some of them remarkably atrocious) than the band could have ever imagined at the time. Though it is basically a pop song with a very catchy tune, the lengthy instrumental workout in the middle, driven as usual by Manzarek's distinctive keyboards, takes it to a higher level. And then, the song's driving keyboard riff deserves to be mentioned along the likes of Smoke on the Water and Don't Fear the Reaper as one of the mothers of all riffs - even if the word is most often associated with guitars and guitar heroes. The End, over 11 minutes long, and appropriately placed at... the end of the album, is one of those songs everybody has heard, but probably without actually listening to it. The controversial lyrics, complete with a notorious oedipal reference, and Morrison's equally notorious performances, have stolen the thunder from the song's musical brilliance. Krieger's beautiful guitar playing takes centre stage here, with Manzarek's keyboards providing a haunting, understated background. Morrison's vocals are unleashed like a raging beast, and fit the deranged bleakness of the lyrics like a glove.

Among the other, shorter offerings, my personal favourites are the wistful The Crystal Ship, with Morrison at his most romantic and sensual, and the slowed-down, chilling End of the Night. I also have a soft spot for the Brecht-Weill-penned Alabama Song (from their 1930 opera The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny), which was later covered by David Bowie. On the whole, the quality of the playing and songwriting is excellent, and much more coherent than in the band's later efforts, increasingly undermined by Morrison's excesses.

The Doors will definitely appeal to most prog fans, and, even if it cannot be called a fully progressive album, its influence on many later bands and artists (like High Tide's singer Tony Hill, or 'prog-punk' band The Stranglers) cannot be denied. As for the rating, it falls somewhat short of full 5 stars for me, so I'll go for my usual four-and-a-virtual-half - which doesn't detract in the least from the album's musical and historical value. Enjoy it anyway.... It is much more than just hype.

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Posted Thursday, March 05, 2009

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I can't, in good conscience, justify giving the debut album by the Doors a five-star rating, since it has just a little too much filler for that; "Twentieth Century Fox", in particular, seems to have been tossed in to pad out the running time, and the band's hearts just don't seem to be in it. But at the same time, it ought to be stressed how important this album was in promoting the electric organ as a rock music instrument. Densmore and Krieger both have important parts to play, of course - "The End" just would not have had the impact it has without Krieger's inspired guitar work, and Densmore's one-man rhythm section is key to holding the whole thing together, but it's Ray Manzarek's keyboards that are the key to the glories of "Break On Through" and "Light My Fire".

And all this is without mentioning main man Jim Morrison, who single-handedly took the stage technique of, say, Mick Jagger and took it into a dark and mysterious place - and made us all want to follow him there. The chemistry in evidence on this album, in the way Krieger's guitar and Manzarek's organ and Morrison's voice all blend together to evoke a strange, seductive atmosphere of mingled expectation and fear, couldn't have been achieved by any other group of people, and when they really get behind a song - which they do on most of the tracks - nothing can beat them.

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Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Nice listing here, this album is here as "Doors, The - The Doors. Funny, isn't it ? And this is the exact word that, they probably had a lot of fun while making this album and even more years before this one. All these drugs, sunny California, a lot of free time and imagination, it's deadly combination. And as it can be lethal to somebody, this actually helped them (as they say it, Jimmy had ideas, Ray was brain. And seeing him crazing behind keyboard, well, it's an experience of life (no, I'm not so old to witness this, but I've seen archive footage), hard to imagine that he (in this most visible duo, Jimmy+Ray, anyway, it's strange thing, keyboardist as a main character in band, only behind singer, who is mostly regarded as frontman) was maybe the most conscience one.

Believe it or not, but there's and epic. A song of epic proportions, Light My Fire, when we overlook the fact that it's one of the most played "rock" songs, we still have truth. That it actually is one of the best rock songs. Organ solo has become the legend, few lines of short lyrics short and straightforward and Jimmy has become cultural icon, voice of his generation. His voice is strange one. Very familiar to most of us, including me, but when you listen very closely, it's quite, harsh one. Absolutely not clear (not that this matter in any way of this word). And what about solo in the middle of the song, is it nice ? Absolutely it is, first, organ is slowly decelerating and slow guitar takes its place. Faster and faster, we have soon over of this Perfection and, here comes the funny thing, it's exactly the needed length that it should have. Not too long, no meaningless wasting of time, space on LP and recycling of ideas, falling into much of repetition of sounds.

There are others instant hook on, songs that attach to your brain like leech, that offers a lot. In fact, what we rate here, what we are looking for here. That's hard question, but can be described by these four magical letters, PROG. And speaking in terms of 1967, songs like furious, well suited for some kind of revolution ("We're not gonna take it)Break On Through, weird, but niceThe Crystal Ship - where beautiful means music and weird lyrics, drunky Alabama Song, or (oh yeah, that's true, I almost forgot)The End, which is weirdest from weird. Yeah, Frank Zappa is weird, but he's also skilled and crazy. This is different, more poetical. And also sinister, ecstasy producing musical performance. Talking about just music, not gig.

5(-), for some less interesting songs.

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Posted Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Doors - s/t (1967)

Such and excellent year to make such an excellent album!

Wowh this is one of the very first great rock albums! With little but no point of reference the Doors created a new world of music with this amazing début. They took some rock, added some psychedelia, some gothic, a lot of sexual power and some of the finest compositional achievements of rock'n roll. This distinguished them from all other bands around and made them so famous. This is rock with all it's good and bad expects wit as an result an album with 60% hits in the charts and of my all time favourites: The End.

The Doors became famous because of the great gothic blues voice of Jim Morrison. He sings great throughout the album and wrote some great lyrics. His performance on The End is memorable and timeless. But there is more! What about those groundbraking keys of Ray Manzarek? He plays both chords/solos and bass on his key equipment. His sound is always great and his chord progressions are more then just blues/rock'n roll. On tracks like the Qrystal Ship his keywork is turned into pure magic! Robby Krieger has never been my favourite guitarist, be he shines on The End with some highly original aggressive/hypnotic guitar playing. His finger style is also very rewarding on Break on Through. Drummer John Densmore has a functional drumming style with some nice rhythmical subtleties and great rhythmic interpretation of the harmonic section.

We all know tracks like the rockin' Break on Through, The funny and catchy Alabama Song, The sexual Light my Fire with the relaxing solo parts, the rewarding blues interpretation called Back Door Man and the great story of The End. Other tracks are highly rewarding too. The spacey/dreamy Crystal Ship with it's intelligent vocals and keys and the rhythmical Take it as it Comes are both great tracks too.

Conclusion. This is an important historical document of human culture. Furthermore it is as masterpiece of psychedelic and classic rock. It is quite Progressive (as in developing), but it ain't very progressive (as a genre), which isn't very strange because of the lack of the progressive scene in 1967. This is still an highly rewarding proto-prog record for fans of all genres and I can recommend this very much. Four stars!

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Posted Sunday, December 27, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Rough, bluesy, sexy, masculine, wilful, testosterone-charged,... Just a few words that immediately come to mind when hearing the band name The Doors. Prog Rock ain't one of them really. In fact, their music-for-the-underbelly targets decisively other areas of the human body then the mind area where prog usually heads for.

But bad boy Jim got himself surrounded by a gang of highly competent musicians that gave his heartfelt blues the musical backbone and that little extra of sophistication that made the Doors into the super group that they have become. And rightfully so. Especially Ray Manzarek's organ adds a playful and psychedelic angle that makes the music stand our above their contemporaries, also Robby Krieger's subtle guitar play and John Densmore solid drumming are a treat. Jim's voice and diction are simply beyond comparison, but his poetry doesn't come without critics and the band's song writing is still a bit shaky at times.

Since this is one of the few reviews that goes under 4 stars I'll concentrate on the tracks that bring it down for me. 20th Century Fox is the first, nothing bad but plain 3 star material. Light My Fire is overplayed and basically never appealed much to me except for its stretched out jam in the middle, a typical means to extend the rock format around that time. Back Door Man is a basic blues stomp that pales in comparison to much of the superior songs around it. They would do this kind of straightforward blues much better on later albums. Also I Looked At You is nothing more then a competent pop song. The biggest letdown is The End, it's overstated and overrated, and a failed attempt to compose an extended intellectual art-rock piece. It is a tedious listen with an ill-prepared climax, not a Stairway to Heaven this one. Of course, it's something of a cult-song and I might be the only person in the world who thinks it is not much more then average. Well no, not true actually. My Doors-crazed misses just confirms she thinks the same, adding that the lyrics are really dreadful. Ain't she the best :)

The Doors is a ground-breaking effort from a unique and powerful band and it feels awkward to grant it just 3 stars, but the song-writing isn't really consistent enough. 3.5 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've always considered this debut album to rely much too heavily on its hits which in this case is quite acceptable since those compositions take up more than half of the album!

It's amusing how well the band managed to fuse together some of their best and worst sides on one and single release. It's even more amusing considering that it's the debut album which usually is the recording that is either one or the other. There are quite a few instances where I just want to say that this is what the '60s were all about, but then the next track makes me rethink that statement completely. So the summery here is that the Doors made a realistic statement of how the U.S. West Coast-music scene looked like at the time, hence a great product of its time.

The album begins with a given opener in the shape of Break On Through (To the Other Side) which needs no introduction since it's probably one of the top three most recognized the Doors songs. Soul Kitchen and Crystal Ship manage to hold me over for the next highlight since neither of these performances can't match the classic status the other great compositions featured here. Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) is one of the few covers on this album and I just can't see how the source material could have received an even better treatment. David Bowie definitely gave it his best almost a decade later but this version is far more superior in every category.

Surprisingly enough I don't consider Light My Fire to be all that spectacular. Not that it's a inferior performance but I just don't like how it dives into a prolonged psychedelic territory which reminds me strongly of Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. The middle section of the tune is completely forgettable and I think that you can do yourself a great favor by skipping through to the last two minutes. This track is the case and point of the long introduction argument that I stated.

The End is a complete opposite of Light My Fire because it puts the emphasis on the atmospheric side of psychedelic music and wins over my sympathy at the first seconds of the performance. This is the sheer brilliance that could have made this album into a complete masterpiece and an essential album. Instead we have a mixed bag with enough memorable moments to keep me entertained which ultimately results in the excellent addition rating.

***** star songs: Break On Through (To the Other Side) (2:26) Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) (3:15) The End (11:40)

**** star songs: Soul Kitchen (3:31) Crystal Ship (2:33) Twentieth Century Fox (2:32) Light My Fire (6:58) I Looked At You (2:21) Take It As It Comes (2:15)

*** star songs: Back Door Man (3:32) End Of The Night (2:50)

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Posted Sunday, March 21, 2010

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Enclose me in your gentle rain...

The Doors debut album was actually recorded in August of 1966, but was not released until January 1967, making it a part of that very magical year. The album is considered by many people the best Doors album and one of rock's finest but I personally am not all that impressed. I think it falls well short of some of the English competition from the era and I think better Doors material was coming. But the debut has a few gems, none more beautiful than the "The Crystal Ship" which is one of the bands very best tracks of their career. Soothing and sad, Manzarek's keys lay down the most lovely of melodies in a huge departure from some of the other more raucous and rowdy material they had to offer. This one should have been picked along with their first mini-epic "The End" to go on the masterful career compilation "Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine." Beyond those I'm a bit underwhelmed by the first Doors album and don't have much to add to the wealth of gushing reviews. I'll be brief---it's a rock classic to many and you should hear it, but don't expect Piper, Pepper, Days, Velvet, or Sell Out. Not even close. I'm all alone amongst my peers on this one, but I'm afraid this is my lowest rated Doors album, preferring most of their others and not by a little. I strongly urge Doors noobs to ignore this review however, as I am the lone voice of opposition against the lovefest this album enjoys.

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Posted Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'The Doors' - The Doors (8/10)

Released in a year known for such legendary albums as the Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,' Pink Floyd's 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' and the 'summer of love,' the Doors self-titled debut album certainly arrived at a time when the counterculture movement was at all all-time peak. At the onset of a vast surge of psychedelic rock music, the Doors debut would since come to be known as a classic of the era, and one of the most widely- renowned rock albums of all time. While this album is certainly not the perfect masterpiece that some make it out to be, it can certainly be considered to be a very strong first effort, as well as a very forward thinking album of the time.

The Door's striking debut is very significant in the context of it's time, due to the fact that nothing quite sounded like this before this album was released in the opening month of 1967. Driven very heavily by the cunning organ work of keyboardist Ran Manzarek and the vocal poetry of icon Jim Morrison, this is a trippy dose of jazz influenced classic rock music that really leaves an impression by the end. Featuring a few very well known singles such as 'Break on Through' and the eternal 'Light My Fire,' the songwriting on this album delivers some very memorable tunes, but it doesn't keep as much of a consistent nature as a masterpiece would warrant. Some less spectacular tracks like 'I Looked At You' and 'Take It As It Comes' do very little to contribute to the album, being decent and functional tunes but generally forgettable. Much to a listener's delight however, there is a majority of the disc space that is filled with quality material. The Door's trademark blend of psychedelia and jazz fusion is in full force here.

While the vocal work of Jim Morrison may really appeal to some, I personally don't find him to be the most remarkable of singers. He does have a very distinct baritone style, but the melodies and especially the lyrics feel a little too simple. It is actually the lyrical work of Morrison here that proves to be the biggest deterrent of my enjoyment to this music. While Morrison is certainly a poetic soul and I have no doubt that many will tend to disagree, the elementary rhyme patterns and lyrics may be thought provoking, but some of Morrison's forced rhymes sound very silly: ('Ride the snake to the lake,''the west is the best').

The real highlight of the album is the final track, simply entitled 'The End.' I first heard this track due to it being featured in a segment of Francis Ford Coppola's film 'Apocalypse Now,' and it stuck with me. Hearing the full thing on the album is a much different experience; it begins as a laid back, spiritually invoking piece before breaking into a drawn out mix of psychedelia. While it likely doesn't deserve to be called an epic, it is a very powerful and trippy piece of 1960's counterculture rock; a piece of music that borders on sonic meditation.

'The Doors' is a powerful debut album, although there are quite a few traits of the album that could have been improved upon. Even with it's flaws considered however, I would have to agree with the critical majoirty that this debut album is indeed an excellent album of rock music, and while not a masterpiece, it has still earned it's place as a well-deserving classic.

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Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review by ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Apollo 1 v 1 Dionysus

I seem to have an aversion to most of the music that came from the west coast of the USA in the late 60's. Jefferson Airplane's brand of smug hippy elitism came to resemble the casting of a damp spell during the summer of love, Janis Joplin was a barred pub singer who performed outdoors, Arthur Lee was the 'black' Johnny Mathis, the Byrds should have flown south for the winter and stayed there, the Grateful Dead were the first noodle franchise and the remnants of Captain Beefheart's streams of consciousness are probably still trickling their way through sewage systems the world over.

By dint of complete unorthodoxy, such flippant dismissals are not appropriate for the Doors, who almost single handedly wrote one of the most memorable (but short) chapters in the history of popular music. The dreamlike and collectivist bent of the hippy ethos is almost completely absent here and is replaced with a boisterous celebration of the individual will, intoxication and a dark and ancient primitivism i.e. the Dionysian spirit is unleashed. Morrison's 2nd rate poetry works much better heard than read and it would be churlish to pretend that the lyrics on this album were even intended to stand up on their own on the printed page. The entire spirit of tragedy (as originated by the Greeks) negates the separation of melody from drama (Guess where the word 'melodrama' comes from?) That Mr Mojo Risin' should have broken ranks from the peace and love corps is really no surprise given that his formative inspiration and influences were predominantly European e.g. Nietzsche, Aldous Huxley (The Doors of Perception), William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell), Artaud, Brecht/Weill (Alabama Song), James Frazer, Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Celine (Journey to the End of the Night)

What seems particularly ironic about Morrison's breakneck demise and ultimate early death is that for such a brilliant and perceptive individual he remained oblivious to the necessity of harnessing his anarchic and dissolute muse from within the confines of the Doors. Without the balancing Apollonian restraint and discipline of Krieger, Densmore and Manzarak the band would probably have sounded like four drunken speeding pedestrians with road rage. (a.k.a. The Stooges) Therein lies the compensating tension that all satisfying structures need to possess for longevity. Where Jimbo erred (like Syd Barrett perhaps) was in believing that the unfettered chaotic instinct should vanquish the controlling ordering elements. Incoherence and genius are but the flick of an eyelid/wrist apart and the ancient Greeks alone it seems understood that Apollo and Dionysus were really aspects of a single entity with neither being deemed inseparable from the other. (erm...sorta like Republicans and Democrats y'all)

Enough of this wanky verbose blather I hear you say and on with the music:

Break On Through - If I told you that objectively this is a bossa nova and that Kreiger's irresistible guitar riff is but a short kick in the rear off a Paul Butterfield tune I'd be guilty of describing the crockery instead of the food in a restaurant. Enjoy your meal (It's delicious)

Soul Kitchen - Ray Manzarak somehow coaxes a timbre from his Vox Continental organ that inhabits the realm of neon Gothic kitsch and this habitually fey instrument was never invested with this level of grandeur in anyone else's hands.

The Crystal Ship - How can something as emotively haunting as this beautiful song have been inspired by an oil rig off Sands Beach in Isla Vista, California? (Remind me to wean myself off those 'obscure and completely irrelevant trivia' sections of Wikipedia)

Twentieth Century Fox - Even the serial satyr Morrison might douse his ardour at the chick he describes rather ambivalently with alternating disdain/regard in this song. A proto StarF*cker for the 60's.

Well she's fashionably lean and she's fashionably late She'll never wreck a scene, she'll never break a date But she's no drag just watch the way she walks

Alabama Song - It's incredibly refreshing to hear a band take something sourced from European music hall tradition and invest same with the primordial energy of rock without adulterating the ironic sophistication of the original. Jim changes the lyrics here slightly from show us the way to the next pretty boy and Manzarak adds some genuinely spooky piano roll ambience. Borderline camp in places and all the better for it as befitting the spirit of the original.

Light My Fire - A song more than capable of surviving with dignity intact despite being shamelessly ripped off for Madonna's Beautiful Stranger. A perennial classic that has been covered with varying degrees of wretchedness ever since. Allegedly the lyrics are Robbie Krieger's but why can't Islam declare a fatwa on Jose Feliciano?

Back Door Man - The Willie Dixon staple receives a spirited and raucous reading by the Doors but for me they were a faux blues band at best. The first instalment of Morrison's enduring and ultimately failed wish to be considered a credible bloozman. Ray's gaudy organ gives a rather tired standard a much needed fresh coat of dayglo paint.

I looked at You - Breezy 60's pop and pretty damn nifty despite the 'psychedelia by numbers' construction. Some consider this filler but for me, it manages to straddle successfully the precarious abyss between sweet and sickly.

End of the Night - here in embryonic form we have the Joy Division, Bunnymen, Cure and Banshees kernel that inspired an entire generation of post-punk musicians. A truly indispensable lesson in how to build a forbidding and sinister atmosphere with minimal resources.

Take It as It Comes - One of my favourite Doors songs blessed with an implied middle eastern tonality reinforced by Manzarak's thrilling 'arabian night' organ solos. I particularly adore the breakdown section where the infectious groove is carried just by Densmore's funky latin tinged drums and the bubbling bass under Morrison's lascivious vocal.

The End - The erm... mother of all album closers and a track that has quite rightly earned its place in the pantheon of 'rock songs that were at least 10 years ahead of their time'

So..does Jimbo dip his Mom then?

The Oedipal aspects of the lyrics have been a tad overstated I feel as although they confront some hitherto forbidden taboos for 1967 their use is principally that of Artaud theatre/shock and the symbolism I alluded to in the introduction e.g. the 'Father' represents the authoritarian controller (Apollo) that if left unchallenged would stifle the psyche into an unthinking conformity while the 'Mother' represents freedom and creativity (Dionysus) with its corollary being that of a self destructive pure subjectivity. There is also a reference to the Vietnam military draft I think re 'blue bus' (from a poem by William Caughly) which must have pricked the ears of one Francis Ford Coppola methinks. Kreiger's subtle and sinister eastern inflected glissandos on the quiet opening are masterful here and the Doors reap the dividends of having road-tested this number beforehand countless times in their live Whisky A Go Go sets. What started life as a simple break up song about one of Morrison's ex girlfriends mutated and grew into a 12 minute opus that practically defines the nascent dark side of rock. Recorded in one take with no overdubs, the whole thing just builds inexorably to its viscerally shocking conclusion before calm is restored on the desolate outro which repeats the opening verses but you just sense that something cherished and fragile has been bruised irreparably in the interim (innocence)

Jim Morrison and the Doors were light years ahead of anyone at this point and continued their stellar trajectory on the rather unjustly neglected second album Strange Days. Thereafter the drink swallowed the man and the real 'end' was the pitiful spectacle of the blurred and bloated visionary dead in a Parisian bathtub at 27 years old. Perhaps the only crumb of comfort that we can scour from the early deaths of Brian Jones, Hendrix, Morrison and Ian Curtis is that at the very least we never had to stomach them gorging from the trough on something like We Built This City by Jefferson Ratship.

Were I to list the antecedents to this album I could come up with precisely: NONE

Were I to list the consequences that this album presaged, this review would be the longest in the history of Prog Archives: As influential and far reaching for the heavier and darker end of the rock spectrum as the Beatles were to pop music.

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Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review by baz91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Opening the doors for psychedelic rock

The first striking thing about this album is how Jim Morrison's face dwarfs the photo of his fellow bandmates on the front cover, which is actually a suprisingly accurate metaphor for how the group were percieved in real life. Jim Morrison would go down as one of the most influential characters in rock history, whilst the other members would never achieve such recognition. The artwork also gives an accurate representation of Jim Morrison's huge ego: this is the man who would go on to sing the lyric 'Girl we couldn't get much higher' on national television although he had been advised not to. There are many other accounts of Morrison doing things in his own 'rock n' roll' style. Needless to say, the band might never have become so famous if this man's giant face hadn't appeared on the front cover of their first album.

The first song I ever heard by this group was Break On Through (To The Other Side), where it was on a soundtrack to a video game. With it's incredibly modern sound, I was flabbergasted when I found out that it had been released as early as 1967. When compared to other acts of the '60s, this track is years ahead of it's time. This is a brilliant rock song, with very memorable lyrics. The latest remaster restores the lyrics 'She gets high!', which were censored on the original album.

There are no less than eleven tracks on this album, and unsurprisingly, some are better than others. The three most notable songs on the album are Break On Through (To The Other Side), Light My Fire and The End, which leaves us with 8 tracks, all of which are roughly 3 minutes in length. There are two covers: Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) and Back Door Man. The first is a cover of a song from a 1927 German opera, a very bizarre choice indeed, and certainly one that stirs up the album. The second is a more conventional blues song, and a very good cover for all fans of the 12-bar format. Of the remaining tracks, there are few remarkable tracks, although End Of The Night is sufficiently spooky to be given credit. For examples of the other tracks, Twentieth Century Fox has lyrics based around an incredibly lame pun, and I Looked At You is a wholly uninteresting pop track.

Light My Fire dominates the first side of the album at 7 minutes in length. The song was unusual for it's time, as the instrumental seperating the second and third verses is over four minutes long, and thus dominates the track itself. This song goes neatly into the category of songs that I like to call 'Instrumental Sandwiches', like By-Tor and the Snow Dog and Firth of Fifth. However, while this song was certainly something very new for it's time, it sounds extremely dated 40 years on. As prog veterans, we have a high standard of how good an instrumental should be, and the instrumental here simply fails to deliver. The keyboard solo is bland and uninspiring, and the guitarist shows no sense of virtuosity or power as he plays, and instead just sounds like a selection of notes being plucked. Worst of all is the constant repetition on the bass guitar that becomes boring extremely quickly. The parts of this song that aren't instrumental actually make up a decent pop song, although with somewhat atrocious lyrics. In the verses, Morrison finds some cringeworthy lyrics to rhyme with 'fire' and in the chorus, he rhymes 'fire' with 'fire': a rookie error if there ever was one. For being an important song in rock history, this is definitely worth a listen, but this is definitely not the brilliant song many people make it out to be. The theme of the song is getting high, and I imagine that doing so is probably the only way to fully appreciate this track.

The final track on the song is appropriately titled The End, and with this being a prog rock website, I won't be surprised if the 11 minute length caught your eye. I have to say, this long track is certainly something of a masterpiece. This is a loosely structured track which focuses mainly on Morrison's enigmatic lyrics. The music is quite eerie and repetitive with Indian undertones, although there are subtle changes as the track progresses. The focus is on the lyrics rather than the music, and in this way, the music is arguably less 'prog' than bands like Yes. There are many verses with cryptic lyrics that can be interpreted in many different ways. Probably the best-known secion is where Morrison sings '"Father," "Yes son?" "I want to kill you. Mother, I want to..."' before letting out a scream that many interpret as an urge to have sex with her. As if you hadn't gauged this already, this is quite a dramatic song. People have compared the above section to Greek drama and indeed to Oedipus. The dynamics in the music perfectly augment Morrison's emotive singing, leading to one of the most intense performances in psychedelic rock history.

This is a stirring debut album from one of the most famous bands in rock history, and from this album, it's clear how they managed to pave their way to worldwide recognition and success. True, there are a more than a few duff tracks on the record, but since The End is four times as long as these tracks, this observation is quite out of proportion. With three of their best known songs (Break On Through (To The Other Side), Light My Fire and The End) and some other fun gems, this is the best album to start with when listening to The Doors.

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Posted Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars "He took a face from the ancient gallery, and he walked on down the hall..."

The Doors are an incredibly influential band of the 60s that I first encountered with this album that I used to thrash on cassette in the 70s and I can't remember what drew me to this band but I am glad I did not miss out on the amazing music and Jim Morrison's inimitable style. He is rough about the edges and his poetic vibes are irreplaceable to the doors mystique. A lot of comentators believed he was possessed by Indian spirits, and Morrison even said in song and poetry that at a young age he saw a car crash with dead Indians "scattered on dawn's highway, ghosts crowd the fragile egg-shell mind" ('Peace Frog'), and some of the spirits of these dead Indians, dancing wildly about jumped into his soul, "and they're still in there", said Morrison. Of course Morrison capitalised on this enigma of being sub human or possessed by Indian spirits with his stage persona, a force of power in his own right, and a drawcard to The Doors. He developed a massive cult following and is still revered as one of the legends of rock.

Listening to this album today stil gives me the chills. The haunting beauty of 'Crystal Ship' is nerve tingling, Morrison at his quietest and most reflective. He can belt out stinging anger on songs such as the brilliant 'Break on Through'. The opening riff is pitch black scary, and the lyrics are rather mysterious; "day destroys the night, night divides the day". The keyboard hammering is sensational by genius Ray Manzarek. Morrison overshadows the other members though, even the front cover is dominated by his visage. 'Twentieth Century Fox' is a fun song, Morrison at his coolest, and some fine guitar licks from Robby Kreiger. 'Alabama Song' is a drunken piece of fun. 'Light My Fire' is the quintessential single for the band and I have heard it too many times to count but it is definitely an astonishing composition with Morrison spell binding and Manzarek at his finest on mesmirising keyboards and extended genius solo.

The screeching vocals on 'Back Door Man' are dangerous but not as dangerous as some of the lyrics found on the uncensored version on the new remaster. We can hear on 'Break on Through' "She gets high" and some expletives on 'The End' which of course he sung in concert without any problem almost in spite. The speed of the album is slowed too to the original feel and it really is an improvement with a druggy rhythm and very laid back approach. The blues heavy rock is prominent throughout. 'I Looked at You' is an upbeat rocker and is contrasted with 'End of the Night' which is uncompromisingly chilling, with Morrison sounding ominous throughout and Manzarek's eerie organ. Krieger's solo is dreamy guitar, and it all feels psychedelic and chilled out. 'Take It easy' is another bright melodic song with Manzarek shining on organ. All of the songs are excellent, but it is the last song that brings this album to masterpiece status for many.

'The End' is certainly a frightening composition and even so when heard with the "Apocalypse Now" film imagery; depicting the stark hellish environments of war that turns an individual insane. The percussion is eerie too and atmospheric from John Densmore and Krieger's guitar is psychedelic spaciness. The song features some of the most powerful poetry of Morrison; "Can you picture what will be, So limitless and free, Desperately in need of some stranger's hand, in a desperate land, Lost in a Roman, wilderness of pain, And all the children are insane." It is difficult to fathom whether Morrison is making some of the lyrics up as he goes but it is assured that this was all done in one take and Morrison was loaded. It sounds so ethereal now and enigmatic and some of the surreal ambiguous phrases are imbedded in rock folklore; "Ride the snake, he's old, and his skin is cold, The west is the best, The blue bus is calling us" and most memorable and creepy "The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on, He took a face from the ancient gallery, And he walked on down the hall." The meaning of the lyrics has raised much discussion, fascinating in themselves.

It may be the drug addict saying goodbye as he takes one more overdose, or he may be saying goodbye to a girlfriend. The man is heading off to the West, California, and to the ocean "the ancient lake" riding the train "the snake". "The Blue Bus" is referred by many as a drug of numorphine, but there was a bus in LA that drove passengers to Venice Beach, California that was known for its gold mines. There was also a blue bus that took draftees into Vietnam. The "Roman wilderness of pain" is the desert one would see out of the window of train, and it could also mean the Roamn Catholic system, an escape from religion may be inferred. Supposedly the song was written based on the Oedipus Greek mythology centred on a young man who murdered his father and then slept with his mother. The event is supposed to be a representation of repressed sexuality; a Freudian psychoanalytical complex ingrained in us all, that is the father-son competition for the sexual resources of the clan. Or it could be just Morrison in an hallucinogenic drug induced state.

The music is very downbeat and Morrison sounds as though caught up in a trance. The tempo quickens as the song comes to a shattering climax, and it was an unforgettable sight in concert as Morrison indulged in a frenetic snake dance, rolling on the floor, spinning wildly, and screaming expletives. These are included on the remaster and really turn the song into a disturbing psycho-drama, though this was heard in the live performances. Obviously this would have caused the album to be banned.

The live version of this was always a treat and Morrison loved to ad lib during the spoken part. One of my favourite moments on the "Doors Live in Hollywood Bowl" is when Morrison is ad- libbing during the song; "don't let me die in an automobile, I want to lie in an open field, I want the snakes to suck my skin, want the worms to be my friends, want the birds to eat my eyes as here I lie, the flowers." Then he pauses and says incongruously "Ode to a grasshopper, I think I'll open a little shop, a little place where they sell things and I think I'll call it Grasshopper, I have a big green grasshopper out there, have you see my grasshopper, momma?" he picks a small insect off the stage and says, "Looking real good, uh oh, I blew it, its a moth! But that's alright, he aint got long to go so we'll forgive him." Many would say this is his genius, but of course Morrison was high, and this, coupled with a dark rebellious instinct, caused the man to do what he pleased without any fear, including getting into some serious trouble with the police. It is all history now but 'The End' really captures this rebellious nature and the band just go along for the ride as Morrison indulges in stream-of-consciousness poetry. The Doors were always controversial, and the freak out at the end of this with Morrison chanting "kill, kill" is the American poet at his darkest. In any case it is impossible to write about this album without that song rearing its ugly head somewhere.

So ends the album and it has been a wild ride from start to finish. The Doors' debut is a bonafide 60s masterpiece with prog elements before it was even thought about. One of the all time classic albums that never loses its power even 40 years on.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#623283) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars Another review of an album that's nearly fifty years old and has been reviewed hundreds of times seems like a superfluous effort. Nevertheless, when music is this good it's impossible to not share one's opinions. My observations are exclusively from The Doors historical and influential impact on ... (read more)

Report this review (#1167005) | Posted by wbiphoto | Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars As a first review, this is a good place to begin (please excuse my clunky attempt). I actually taped "Light My Fire" long version off FM radio as a kid while this album was taking it by storm. I was about 11 years old and already a huge fan of The Doors. Couldn't afford to buy the LP, but my ... (read more)

Report this review (#1005128) | Posted by zincorbie | Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The Doors were some kind of revolution. They showed some new kind of sound which was keyboard-driven with poetic lyrics and subtle guitarplay and the made some major hits like Light My Fire. They belong to the great names of the psychedelic scene like Jimi Hendrix, The Greatful Dead, Quicksilv ... (read more)

Report this review (#633099) | Posted by the philosopher | Monday, February 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Break on through! This is where it all began for this legendary band. No other psychedelic blues band could boast a virtuoso organist, a simple yet wizard of a guitarist, a noticably jazzy drummer and an accomplished poet. All of that could only describe The Doors. I'd say that this album finds The ... (read more)

Report this review (#488837) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, July 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This first album of Doors, happened as a complete break with previous forms of writing and over all offering musical product to the public, this term would be too reductive and unfair, and would not do justice what the Doors represented (and represent ) that time. With Morrison at top, in letters, i ... (read more)

Report this review (#428330) | Posted by Diego I | Wednesday, April 06, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars None of these are great songs; sometimes great pieces of lyrics with a non-descript melody thrown in; sometimes banal, sometimes pretentious, sometimes a great performance, the Doors could mix the mundane and sublime in one song, never mind one album. Yet it was a powerful mix at its best, sug ... (read more)

Report this review (#428129) | Posted by giselle | Tuesday, April 05, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This albums to me embodies the 60's rock sound, That keyboard sound, utterly Haunting and the true spirit of Psych music, This and strange days, especially When the music's over, Along with the end from this album, cement The doors Prog credentials, Though the doors were really no more than a bl ... (read more)

Report this review (#420912) | Posted by darkprinceofjazz | Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A next door neighbor by the name of Mike Stahl saw me walking along the alley one day in mid 1967 and yelled out, " Hey, I just listened to the best song I've ever heard. You gotta hear it!" He, of course, was referring to "Light My Fire" by the Doors. It peaked my curiosity, so I kept a close e ... (read more)

Report this review (#262465) | Posted by Keetian | Monday, January 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This one litterally opened all the doors, no the floodgates! I already reviewed their latest compilation album which includes most tracks of their groundbreaking debut, and I am going to rate this one higher since this was the studio album; its contribution to everything after is undeniable. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#238743) | Posted by SentimentalMercenary | Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The fantastic Morrison carnival show of horrors. Best Song ? It's all good, baby, but maybe Break On Through, or End of the Night Overall Score: Maybe a high 12 Yeah, this is one of the most popular and supposedly groundbreaking albums to ever come out in the past half century. Regardless ... (read more)

Report this review (#212773) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Right I know I'm going against the flow massively here but I think I better give you my opinion. Though this album was no doubt influential that dosn't mean it was any good. The song-writing of Jim Morrison is hugely over-rated and comes across as no better than weak school poetry. His best work ... (read more)

Report this review (#199420) | Posted by derantike2 | Saturday, January 17, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Doors debut album was the first to appear on that glorious year for Rock & Roll, the year of 1967. The American Hippie Dream was still on the air, it was time for change and revolution; not with guns and blood, but with mind and soul. Jim Morrison was the best cover for that change, he provi ... (read more)

Report this review (#185593) | Posted by Pink_Gilmour | Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is really worth 4,5 stars,its therefore very difficult to cut.However,its perhaps the best album of the group or are united almost any best titles.I attribute 5 stars therefore in this album. Break on through (To the other side):First piece of the 1st album of Doors,he's very represe ... (read more)

Report this review (#177272) | Posted by Legionnary | Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I bought this album last Saturday and thought, 'hmmmmm.... this will probably rate about 4 stars on PA' but after listening to it many, many times I changed my mind and decided this one's a definite five stars. Jim Morrison's voice is superb from the start to finish. The melodies and lyrics are ... (read more)

Report this review (#171373) | Posted by burtonrulez | Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is such a great album. It's hard to believe it came out in 1967. It has to be one of the strongest early influences on future progressive rockers. The combination of Jim Morrison's lyrics and Ray Manzarek's amazing organ playing never gets old for me. And , oh Yeah, Krieger and Densmore ... (read more)

Report this review (#170126) | Posted by digdug | Tuesday, May 06, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The first Doors albums ain't their best at all. There are real great tracks (I just can't get out of Light My Fire, Break On Through (To The Other Side) and Soul Kitchen), but a lot of fillers on side B. Epsecially the three following tracks I Looked At You/End Of The Night/Take It As It Comes, ... (read more)

Report this review (#164684) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Doors' debut is one of the greatest albums of all time, certainly the Doors' best. Some highlights are Break on Through, Soul Kitchen, Crystal Ship, Light My Fire, and The End, but every track is great. Light My Fire is one of the sexiest songs ever and is an apocalyptic meltdown like many Doo ... (read more)

Report this review (#152013) | Posted by King Crimson776 | Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Doors have so much to offer for every music fan,and their debut sums it up.primarily a rock album you can hear clear influences of jazz,blues and folk making some key elements for a progressive album.This is the album to start with,especially if your a fan of the psychedelic era. Right from ... (read more)

Report this review (#135013) | Posted by mrcozdude | Monday, August 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well to be perfectly honest, this is such an essential development in rock and roll and features such well crafted songs it simply deserves no less than 5 stars...even on this progressive rock site. From the rocking and catchy "Break on Through" to the incredibly intense "The End" this is a testa ... (read more)

Report this review (#132572) | Posted by endlessepic | Friday, August 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sometimes, when someone who had very much potential die at an early age, they tend to get a certain degree of reaised attention. Attention they might not otherwise have gotten. For some reason, many seem to think Jim Morrison is god. Many of these seem to base it around the movie by Oliver Stone ... (read more)

Report this review (#132325) | Posted by Evans | Wednesday, August 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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