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THE DOORS

Proto-Prog • United States


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The Doors biography
THE DOORS is one of the most legendary Los Angeles-area bands. They were part of the adventurous and prolific USA West Coast music scene that emerged in the exciting second half of the Sixties. Their story starts when Jim Morrison meets Ray Manzarek on the beach of Venice in July 1965. They already know each other from the University of California at Los Angeles film academie (UCLA).

Jim (born December 8th, 1943); his father was a high-ranking naval officer, born in a family with a long history of career militarists. Jim turned into a bright and good looking young man but he suffered from a dysfunctional background: a 'militiary household', numerous removals of the Morrison family and a non-affective and very demanding attitude of his parents. This resulted in an emphasis on showing negative behaviour from an early age: rebellious, unpredictable and agressive, often making sick jokes and acting sociopathic towards his best friends to avoid deeper relationships ('fear of bonding'). But on the other hand he impressed his friends and teachers with his great knowledge about philosophy, history and psychology and his humour and creative ideas. In order to escape the pressure of his parents, Jim leaves the university and moves to LA where he joins the UCLA in 1964.

Raymond Daniel Manzarek (February 12th, 1939 - May 20th, 2013) grew up in a working class family but he got the opportunity to study first piano and then economics. Unfortunately Ray doesn't finish that study and starts to work as junior-manager at a bank. This is only for three months because Ray decides to join the UCLA where he got in touch with fellow student Jim Morrison. During their meeting on that beach in Venice, Jim tells Ray that he writes lyrics. Jim is asked to sing a few lines, he quickly succeeds to make impression on Ray with a song that later turned out to be "Moonlight Drive". Then Ray invites Jim to join his band, the trio RICK AND THE RAVENS featuring his two brothers Rick and Jim. After some line-up changes the band members are Ray, Jim, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger.

John Paul Densmore (born December 1st, 1944) is a fanatic swimmer in his childhood but from his 10th he starts to learn piano and on his 12th he switches to drumming (timpanist). During this study his love for jazz music begins to develop.

Robert Alan Krieger (born January 8th, 1946) is the half of an identical twin. His musical carreer starts with learning to play...
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Buy THE DOORS Music


The Very Best of the Doors [US Version]The Very Best of the Doors [US Version]
Rhino 2007
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DoorsDoors
Import
Rhino 2007
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Strange DaysStrange Days
Import
Rhino 2007
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Soft ParadeSoft Parade
Import
Rhino 2007
Audio CD$3.06
$2.29 (used)
Waiting for the SunWaiting for the Sun
Rhino 2007
Audio CD$3.06
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THE DOORS shows & tickets


THE DOORS has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

THE DOORS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE DOORS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.30 | 462 ratings
The Doors
1967
4.20 | 351 ratings
Strange Days
1967
3.53 | 222 ratings
Waiting For The Sun
1968
2.73 | 192 ratings
The Soft Parade
1969
3.18 | 214 ratings
Morrison Hotel
1970
3.95 | 321 ratings
L.A. Woman
1971
2.78 | 63 ratings
Other Voices
1971
2.33 | 58 ratings
Full Circle
1972
3.15 | 83 ratings
An American Prayer
1978

THE DOORS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 56 ratings
Absolutely Live
1970
3.26 | 30 ratings
Alive, She Cried
1983
3.75 | 42 ratings
In Concert
1991
3.36 | 9 ratings
Bright Midnight: Live In America
2001
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Hollywood: Highlights from the Aquarius Theatre Performances
2001
4.29 | 7 ratings
Live At The Aquarius Theatre: The First Performance
2001
4.33 | 6 ratings
Live At The Aquarius Theatre: The Second Performance
2001
4.50 | 2 ratings
Live in Hollywood: Highlights from Aquarius Theatre Performances
2002
5.00 | 1 ratings
Backstage and Dangerous: The Private Rehearsal
2002
5.00 | 1 ratings
Boot Yer Butt! - The Doors Bootlegs
2003
4.00 | 5 ratings
Live In Detroit
2004
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Philadelphia '70
2005
4.18 | 8 ratings
Live In Boston 1970
2007
2.80 | 5 ratings
Live at the Matrix '67
2008
4.50 | 4 ratings
Live in Pittsburgh 1970
2008
4.75 | 4 ratings
Live in New York
2009
4.40 | 5 ratings
Live In Vancouver 1970
2011
4.17 | 6 ratings
Live At The Bowl '68
2012

THE DOORS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 4 ratings
Dance On Fire
1985
4.79 | 10 ratings
Live At The Hollywood Bowl
1987
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Doors
1987
3.87 | 11 ratings
Live In Europe 1968
1988
2.55 | 6 ratings
No One Here Gets Out Alive - The Doors' Tribute to Jim Morrison
1990
3.14 | 3 ratings
The Doors Are Open
1991
4.25 | 4 ratings
The Soft Parade A Retrospective
1991
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Best of The Doors
1997
5.00 | 4 ratings
The Doors Collection: Collector's Edition
1999
4.05 | 3 ratings
The Doors 30 Years Commemorative Edition
1999
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Last American Interview
2000
3.67 | 3 ratings
VH-1 Storytellers: A Celebration
2001
3.09 | 9 ratings
Soundstage Performances
2002
4.20 | 5 ratings
The Doors of the 21st Century - L.A. Woman Live
2004
5.00 | 1 ratings
Videobiography
2007
5.00 | 2 ratings
Classic Albums: The Doors - The Doors
2008
3.00 | 2 ratings
Collector's Edition
2008
2.47 | 13 ratings
When You're Strange
2010
4.00 | 3 ratings
Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman
2012
4.33 | 8 ratings
Live At The Bowl '68
2012
2.50 | 2 ratings
R-Evolution
2013

THE DOORS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 15 ratings
13
1970
3.76 | 15 ratings
Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine
1972
2.72 | 8 ratings
The Best of the Doors
1973
2.07 | 3 ratings
Star Collection (Vol. 1)
1973
4.20 | 39 ratings
The Best Of The Doors
1985
4.43 | 7 ratings
The Doors OST
1991
3.29 | 9 ratings
The Doors Box Set
1997
4.40 | 5 ratings
Essential Rarities (The Best of the '97 Box Set)
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
Love Me Two Times
2002
4.02 | 4 ratings
Legacy: The Absolute Best
2003
3.53 | 10 ratings
Perception
2006
3.33 | 12 ratings
The Very Best Of
2007
4.00 | 3 ratings
When You're Strange (OST)
2010
3.33 | 3 ratings
A Collection (6CD)
2011
3.00 | 2 ratings
L.A. Woman: The Workshop Sessions
2012
1.00 | 1 ratings
Curated By Record Store Day
2013

THE DOORS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.26 | 4 ratings
The Doors (1965 demo)
1965
4.20 | 5 ratings
Break On Through
1967
4.85 | 7 ratings
Light My Fire
1967
3.75 | 4 ratings
Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)
1967
4.20 | 5 ratings
People Are Strange
1967
4.20 | 5 ratings
Love Me Two Times
1967
4.00 | 5 ratings
The Unknown Soldier
1968
4.20 | 5 ratings
Light My Fire 5'' vinyl
1968
4.00 | 5 ratings
Hello I Love You Won't You Tell Me Your Name
1968
4.20 | 5 ratings
Touch Me
1968
4.00 | 4 ratings
Tell All the People
1969
3.17 | 5 ratings
Wishful Sinful
1969
4.00 | 4 ratings
Runnin' Blue
1969
4.00 | 4 ratings
Road House Blues
1970
4.00 | 4 ratings
You Make Me Real
1970
3.31 | 7 ratings
Love Her Madly
1971
2.58 | 7 ratings
Riders on the Storm
1971
3.05 | 3 ratings
Tightrope Ride
1971
4.25 | 4 ratings
Hello I Love You
1971
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Mosquito promo
1972
2.14 | 3 ratings
Get Up and Dance
1972
3.05 | 3 ratings
The Mosquito
1972
3.05 | 3 ratings
The Piano Bird
1972
4.00 | 3 ratings
Hello I Love You 2 x 7'' single
1979
4.00 | 3 ratings
People Are Strange
1981
4.00 | 3 ratings
Gloria
1983
2.31 | 9 ratings
Live at the Hollywood Bowl
1987
4.40 | 5 ratings
Break On Through
1991
4.00 | 3 ratings
Riders On The Storm
1991
3.96 | 5 ratings
Light My Fire
1991
3.33 | 3 ratings
The Ghost Song
1995

THE DOORS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Doors by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.30 | 462 ratings

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The Doors
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by wbiphoto

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 the rest of the music world.

The debate will rage forever as to which album and band opened the door to the "prog" galaxy: some will say King Crimson with their debut album while others will insist it happened earlier with The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's; yet others will point to an earlier album by Zappa, Freak Out!, as the Mother of All Prog.

Two groups that rarely receive their well-deserved due when the topic of "prog" is raised are The Moody Blues and The Doors. The former released "Days of Future Passed" which is, without little argument, a prog classic. The record may not have the raging guitars or the intensity that current prog aficionados crave, but The Blues' second album is one of the finest symphonic space rock albums of all-time; yet, it was the first of its kind! To nail something so perfectly the first time around only goes to show the sublime and timeless nature of "Days of Future Passed".

As for The Doors' eponymous debut album, it's THE PROTOTYPE of the Jazz/Psychedelic/Acid Rock that's heard today with acts like The Mars Volta. The jazz influence on this record is so profound and overwhelming that there is really nothing else that can be compared to it from that era. This keyboard-centric record is way ahead of its time and surprised listeners and audiences with its divergence from the rest of the guitar-heavy music of the era.

Most bands, after twenty years of recording, don't have as many great songs in compilation CDs as The Doors were able to put together in their debut. With shorter format songs that were funky, spacey, racy yet classy, the group pulled off some memorable classics. "The End", clocking in at 11:41, epitomizes the 'epic'. Pink Floyd's first release, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)", attempts similar textures, but falls far short of creating the dark, lyrical masterpiece that Morrison nailed with his first attempt.

We often look to the UK for the roots of prog, and rightly so. But The Doors, hailing from Los Angeles, were doing something so different, and there I say "progressive", with their first release that they deserve their own place in the pantheon of prog giants. If not near the very top of the heap.

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 When You're Strange by DOORS, THE album cover DVD/Video, 2010
2.47 | 13 ratings

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When You're Strange
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I really expected more interesting things from this documentary. But anyway, it is much better than Oliver Stone`s film titled "The Doors" and better than the "No One Here Gets Out Alive" from 1981. But this "When You`re Strange" documentary also suffers a bit from the same "sensationalism" which characterizes both Stone`s film and the 1981 documentary. I can say that until now I have not yet seen a good documentary about the band which avoids the emphasis on Morrison`s substances abuse and some of his on stage "wild" antics like singing, dancing and shouting drunk and / or stoned. I think that Morrison as an artist had more interesting things to take into view to make a documentary about him and the band, like his poetry, his lyrics and his singing in the studio albums and in some live in concert recordings. But again, this documentary mostly focuses in the real or invented "wild" aspects of Morrison`s personality like he was acting this "wild" character almost all the time. So, again, this documentary also contributes to re-create and maintain the "Morrison Myth" as an anti-establishment rebel more than a very good artist. And again, the history of the band stops with Morrison`s death, and the surviving members of the band are showed as Morrison`s backing band most of the time, and not as very good musicians as they were and are. So, the fans are not seeing in this documentary different things as other documentaries (and books) about the band show, and one has the idea that Morrison was more a "Myth" created by the managers of the band, the record label and the media and not a "real" person.

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 No One Here Gets Out Alive - The Doors' Tribute to Jim Morrison by DOORS, THE album cover DVD/Video, 1990
2.55 | 6 ratings

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No One Here Gets Out Alive - The Doors' Tribute to Jim Morrison
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I watched this video documentary a long time ago, in 1991, in the VHS format. In 1980-81, I bought the book of the same name written by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, and at that time I liked the book, being one of the few books written then about Morrison and the band. But, as time passed and I found another book which I considered being much better than this book ("The Doors", written by John Tobler and John Doe in 1983), I think that Hopkins and Sugerman`s book, while being well written and researched in some parts, lacked some accurate things and tended a bit to make grow the "Morrison Myth and Legend" with the use of some "sensationalism" in the style of writing. It has some very good photos, and good information about their discography (with Morrison in the band only).But, with the passing of time I really started to not like this book very much. Anyway, it seems that this video documentary, done in 1981 maybe to be a video companion to the book, it is much better than the book, because it includes interviews with the other members of the band (Densmore, Krieger and Manzarek), with the authors of the book, and with Producer Paul Rothchild. It also includes some humour by Manzarek`s part in some of the fragments of his interviews, and one of the best parts of this video is the inclusion of some video clips, most of them being presented in fragmented form, with a very few being presented in complete form ("Light My Fire" and "Touch Me", with "Touch Me" being a TV broadcast of the band and a small orchestra miming to the album recording of the song while only Morrison sings live, and with "Light My Fire" being a live TV broadcast fom the "Ed Sullivan Show", their only appearance on that TV programme due to the band refusing to change the lyrics of the song during their performance because Sullivan considered them as a bit "immoral" for that times). Some of the other live clips fragments show Morrison shouting and obviously showing him in a bad shape (drunk), which is one of the things that I sometimes don`t like very much from some of his performances with the band in concert. But he obviously was a great artist, a very good lyricist, and the band as a whole was a very good band. Anyway, this video documentary is much better than Oliver Stone`s film from the nineties, which I don`t like and I consider it as much more "sensationalist" and inaccurate than this 1981 video documentary.

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 Riders on the Storm by DOORS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1971
2.58 | 7 ratings

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Riders on the Storm
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The version of "Riders on the Storm" released in this single lacks most of the electric piano introduction parts played by Ray Manzarek (and also the storm sounds which were included at the start of the album version), and his piano solo in the middle of the song is also cut a bit, and there are also some edits done in the instrumental sections towards the end of the song. "Riders on the Storm" is one of my favourite songs from the band, and Manzarek really shines in this song. I don`t know if it was a song which was mainly composed by him, but it could have been, because the main instrument in this song is his electric piano. So, by cutting some of the electric piano parts, this single version is not as good as the album version, in my opinion. For collectors only.

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 Love Her Madly by DOORS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1971
3.31 | 7 ratings

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Love Her Madly
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Love Her Madly" is a song from the "L.A. Woman" album from The Doors which was released as the "A" side of this single in 1971. It is one of the best songs from the album and it obviously was the best choice to be released as a single, with some Pop Rock influences, very good guitar parts, very good drums, a very good organ solo and very good arrangements. This song was played in December 1970 (before it was released in the album or as a single) in one of the two final concerts of the band with Jim Morrison as singer in a longer version.The song is still played in some oldies FM radio stations in my city.

The B-side, titled "(You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further", is a Blues song composed by Willie Dixon, sung by Ray Manzarek, which wasn`t included in the original version of the "L.A. Woman" album, and which sounds like it was recorded with a bit of a hurry to have an "instant B-side" for the new single. I donīt know if it was recorded when Morrison left the recording sessions to travel to Paris, or it was recorded while he still was with the band, or if he only allowed Manzarek to sing the song. Anyway, Manzarek sang the song well but with some strain in his voice sounding like he really could not reach the high notes very well. But the song also includes some guitar overdubs and sounds well in general.

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 Wishful Sinful by DOORS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
3.17 | 5 ratings

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Wishful Sinful
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Wishful Sinful" is a song composed by Robbie Krieger from the "Soft Parade" album by The Doors. It is maybe one of the best songs from the album, an album which some fans of the band didn`t like very much and was criticized because the band used some orchestral arrangements which were considered as "commercial" and not very characteristic of the musical style of this band. Anyway, the orchestral arrangements are very good and work very well particularly in this song, which also has the distinction of not including keyboards, although RayManzarek played them in the versions played in concert. It is a love song which maybe wasn`t very popular among some fans from the band.

The song "Who Scared You" is in the B-side of this single, and is a song by Jim Morrison and Robbie Krieger which was not included in the original version of the "Soft Parade" album. It is also a very good song which has very good brass arrangements and organ and guitar solos.

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 The Doors (1965 demo) by DOORS, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1965
2.26 | 4 ratings

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The Doors (1965 demo)
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Very early demos from this line-up of the band, which at that time was Jim Morrison ( lead vocals), Ray Manzarek ( piano, vocals), John Densmore (drums), Rick Manzarek ( guitar), Pat Sullivan (bass guitar) and Jim Manzarek (harmonica), but I don`t know if by that time the name of the band was "The Doors". Recorded in 1965, they sound like being recorded live in the studio without overdubs, and the instrumentation is simple. Ray Manzarek is playing the piano on all songs, without using an organ. There are not really instrumental solos apart from the occasional piano or harmonica solo. The guitarist all the time plays rhythm guitar and there is a competent female bass guitar player. All the songs were later recorded by the band for some of their albums, and the songs arrangements sound more in the rock and roll and blues styles, but The Doors` style is very recognizable even with the absence of Robbie Krieger. So, all these songs were composed and arranged before he arrived to the band, giving the impression that Ray Manzarek was one of the main composers with Jim Morrison (and maybe John Densmore too) of the band and one of the creators of the sound of the band, and that Krieger wasn`t the main composer in the band. So, the recently late Ray Manzarek contributed a lot to the band`s very own style and sound. There are some traces of Jim Morrison`s "theatrical "vocals, even if he still sounds a bit "shy", still developing his style as lead singer. The recording and mixing is very professional (in mono) and it is a very good demo. The band plays very well, but with the addition of Krieger the band would reach the definitive line-up and musical style and to develop more the musical arrangements that all these songs had when they finally were recorded for their albums.

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 The Doors by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.30 | 462 ratings

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The Doors
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by zincorbie

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 trusty Mission Impossible tape recorder (it was the exact same model - also a big Lalo Schifrin fan and taped much of that show) was handy to get those great 'long' songs only available on FM at the time. Trying to review this debut album is kind of like reviewing a sacred text in a way. Everyone knows the text and has a unique and personal impression already. To share my impression is to say that each song was at one time or other my favorite. Time passes and the flavor of one piece fades in time as another becomes more savory. But it's an album that has an unusual continuity for the time that allows one to listen to the entire thing. In those days it seemed to be expected for bands to record the gratuitous traditional blues song, a jazzy piece, a rock standard, and it was typical to skip over the genres that weren't to one's taste. Not so for this ground-breaker. The Doors had continuity and enough creativity to keep your attention for the entire LP. That was pretty unusual back then. The End was the most bizarre song ever by 1967 but it was pure Doors. The trance effect that was alluded to in Oliver Stone's film wasn't there for me, but the quiet attention that it demanded was. The smooth and powerful sound of "Break On Through" always made me sit in awe of the tension/release style of the barely-reigned Morrison who was always ready to explode. Maybe only early Kinks, some Morphine, and most Nirvana rivaled that style of the growling animal just beneath the surface who gets loose at the last moment. That was the part I waited for, when he finally let loose and belted it out. Poetry? Maybe not the best. But Jim was only in his 20s and great poetry takes lots of experience. For rock music, though, he was way over the competition. Those lyrics fit the dark mood of the songs. Not oppressively dark, just a little dangerous, and enough mystery to entice us in to enjoy this unique ambiance. It's a must recommendation, obviously, and a guaranteed plus for any collection.

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 The Soft Parade by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.73 | 192 ratings

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The Soft Parade
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

2 stars ....When It's A Jar of Whiskey

Perhaps the most bipolar of all the Doors albums, given that Krieger's decent but undistinguished songs shuffle nervously beneath a dark awning cast by Morrison's iconic but now bloated silhouette. As to what competing influences brought about this discernible tension between the band and their anxious employers Elektra is of course the source of endless debate and lucrative careers for those cat flap pussies a.k.a. Exit Doors scholars. I've always suspected that Jimbo had become such a basket case hereabouts that his colleagues had to fashion material by themselves from scratch and coax their sodden meal ticket into actually singing for (their) supper. Robbie's tunes are buried beneath a thick layer of cloying horns and strings that conspire to smother the life out of what dying embers were left from a burnt out stump of an association. We can't blame a thwarted poet for lyrics he had no hand in shaping:

I'm gonna love you, till the heavens stop the rain I'm gonna love you, till the stars fall from the sky for you and I

The foregoing would be trite, hackneyed drivel even from the Osmonds so why couldn't the Lizard King have banished same to exile with one swish of his celebrated mighty tail? The inference should be transparent: maybe by this stage he really couldn't give a whistling squidgy one. I'm sure that with just a modicum of self respect, Jim Morrison would have consigned some of the chaff that sullies both the Soft Parade and Waiting for the Sun to where it belongs i.e. on a ruinously expensive out-takes compilation that only the aforementioned 'cat flap pussies' are gauche enough to buy. On the other hand, anecdotal accounts would support the view that Morrison abhorred the direction taken by the Doors on Soft Parade to the extent that individual writing credits were considered expedient if only to distance himself from culpability for the likes of this from Krieger's Tell All the People:

Come out and take me by my hand, gonna bury all our troubles in the sand, oh yeah Can't you see me growing, get your guns, the time has come, to follow me down

The call to arms re 'get your guns' seems particularly crass but perhaps the author had 'Annie' in mind. You are also advised that the harmonic progression used for this number would be exploited to brilliant and memorable effect on All Around the World by Oasis some 30 years later. John Updike was right: we contain chords others must strike.

It's also disappointing to report that the strongest musical ideas throughout this record are mostly sacrificed to those tracks where an arranger with delusions of becoming Acid Rock's Jimmy Webb wasn't punched into paralysis beforehand. However, amidst the twitching pile of lurid roadkill there survives some moments of genuine class and distinction. Curtis Amy's sax solo towards the end of the otherwise toe curlingly awful Touch Me is quite brilliant (why is it that some of the most sane, intelligent and perceptive people I know cite this song as their favorite Doors tune?) Would someone like those Scandinavian teenybop cuties 'Aha' attract the sort of scrutiny and lavishly illustrated box sets afforded to this MOR flotsam? Ray's keyboards even plagiarize the Four Seasons C'mon Maryann for pity's sake. (I'm at a loss) Morrison is reputed to have altered the original lyric from C'mon hit me babe, I am not afraid to C'mon touch me babe on the pretext that the former would make him vulnerable to physical assault at live shows. What's rather ironic is that he was so anesthetized from booze at this point, it's unlikely he would have felt a thing.

Wishful Sinful is simply beautiful from start to finish despite a rather ragged (read sh*t-faced) vocal from Jim that still cannot impinge on either the sumptuously haunting arrangement (for once) or the resilient elegance of the melody. Wild Child has a bit of welcome grunt about it but on closer inspection just comes across as either a really bad Kinks song or a proto metal dirge where the melody has no career aspirations above replicating the riff verbatim. Similarly, the energy and raw primacy of Shamen's Blues threatens to deliver a cathartic bounty but is never gonna survive this impenetrable candy coating:

You'll be dead and in hell, Before I'm born Sure thing, Brides maid, The only solution, Isn't it amazing?

(Nah)

I know I've used this before but 'pastiche' remains forever an anagram of it's cheap and there is no armistice for the likes of Runnin' Blue or Easy Ride. Prosecution rests. Take them down. Don't Do It Jim please, (Miami would have thanked you for keeping yer pants on)

The title track is often trumpeted as a portal for the sorts of expanded consciousness and kaleidoscopic imagery we are asked to believe practically defines the hallucinogenic imprint of the 60's on popular culture. Bollocks. By way of mitigation, it does start brilliantly with Mr Mojo Risin's uncanny appropriation of a southern preacher with the incriminating whiskey breath of fiery sedition in his belly:

When I was back there in seminary school, There was a person there who put forth the proposition, that you can petition the Lord with prayer, petition the Lord with prayer....You cannot petition the lord with prayer! (in short, no-one here gets out alive)

This is followed by a disarmingly angular and claustrophobic melody underpinned by Manzarak's penitent harpsichord that should have presaged a creation the Doors are celebrated for but seldom delivered: credible progressive intent albeit unwitting proto. Instead we often have to settle for undernourished experimental rock debris or the product of a broken Psyche forever stymied by a cold, distant and bullying authoritarian father?.

Can you give me sanctuary? I must find a place to hide A place for me to hide Can you find me soft asylum? I can't make it anymore The Man is at the door

There is more substance and rigour in these candid lines than the swathes of esoteric blather Morrison habitually used to plaster over the cracks in his own crumbling facade. During a headfirst dive towards a prematurely shallow end, we are witness to a bloodied and bruised muse that abandoned her host long before any coroner's report annulled the relationship. The autobiographical and historical elements combine here in a passage that intimates the singer's own private despair and references the final madness and hospitalization of his hero Nietzsche. I think the final lines re the horses eye's may also have been inspired by an incident in a Turin street that precipitated the philosopher's collapse.

The title track promises much but ultimately fails to save the day, despite some arresting changes of mood, texture and tempo during its ambitious eight and half minute duration. There is however, one truly spell binding moment remaining within re the refrain:

The Soft Parade has now begun, listen to the engines hum People out to have some fun, a cobra on my left, leopard on my right, yeah

Unfortunately what fun ensues rests upon a lumpen and lazy bass pivot over which Morrison very quickly runs out of ideas and resorts to regurgitating badly digested philosophical soundbites with volume in direct inverse relationship to coherence. There are other instances in the Door's output where he falls into this same trap e.g. Moonlight Drive, Five to One, My Wild Love, My Eyes Have Seen You

There is of course a danger that we end up appraising the Doors using criteria that is only applicable to the legion of artists that followed in their hugely influential wake. For all their prescience and innovation, the Doors were NEVER a Progressive Rock band and although Krieger, Densmore and Manzarak subsequently returned a timid nod in Prog's direction, Morrison would have been horrified at the idea and I'm now convinced he (covertly) despised the entire counter-culture as embodying Nietzsche's nemesis: the ressentiment of slave morality.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Much of this deeply flawed document flirts with a knowing self parody of psychedelic conceits, a disposable zeitgeist that artists of this calibre should not have wasted an ounce of creativity disseminating. The greatest art is timeless, the Soft Parade is what happens when you allow antique collectors to become speech writers for iconoclasts.

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 Strange Days by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.20 | 351 ratings

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Strange Days
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by lukatherfan

4 stars As its title may suggest, The Doors' second LP (and second of 1967) is a stranger and odder beast than its already psychedelic predecessor. Sadly, it's also a less accomplished offering, with the batch of songs on offer primarily made up of left-over material from The Doors sessions. But call it a cash-in on the mega success of their debut album at peril, because Strange Days, despite a few hold-ups, remains a highly enjoyable and artistically successful record, even if it didn't take the band anywhere new or to further popularity.

The bluesy undercurrent that flows under virtually all The Doors cuts is watered down more so than on their previous effort, with psychedelica arriving as it's more prominent replacement. It doesn't feel forced at all, thankfully, and gives the album a rather neat and united vibe, at the expense of little less variation perhaps. Opening with the squirrely Manzarek organs of 'Strange Days', one gains a picture of what to expect ? a slightly eerie, psychedelic rock exploration of alienation and feeling a little, ahem, 'spaced out', shall we say (it doesn't require much research to learn of Morrison's dabbling in LSD ? it was the summer of love after all). The melodic floatiness of 'You're Lost Little Girl', the catchy and tormented 'People Are Strange' and the bizarre, poetic interlude of 'Horse Latitudes' further the creepy, psych vibe to an equally exciting level.

The album isn't all tripped out paranoia, as the jaunty pop delights of single 'Love Me Two Times' and the almost funk of 'Moonlight Drive' point out so refreshingly. The remainder of the tracks aren't all that weak either ? 'Unhappy Girl' features a jumpy, rising and falling melody; 'My Eyes Have Seen You' isn't particularly spectacular but is still far from skip-worthy, and 'I Can't See Your Face in My Mind' is a crawling, ghostly little ditty.

The only song that oversteps the mark more than a little (by about 6 minutes if you require an exact label) is closer, 'When the Music's Over'. While the track was a well suited live set piece of The Doors' energetic and theatrical performance, plonked on the end of this fine LP it becomes a drag towards the end and just doesn't have enough interesting qualities to justify an entire 1/3rd of the disc's length. But with that slight snag aside, Strange Days shapes up as a quality release by a band that were riding higher than most contemporary artists could hope to, not to mention the fact that they could put out something as unique and challenging as this piece can sometimes be, just months after their legendary debut - further testament to its worth if any were needed.

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