Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

THE DOORS

Proto-Prog • United States


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Doors picture
The Doors biography
Founded in LA, USA in 1965 - Disbanded in 1973 - Reformed in 2002 as Doors Of The 21st Century (later renamed)

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 Al...
read more

THE DOORS forum topics / tours, shows & news


THE DOORS forum topics Create a topic now
THE DOORS tours, shows & news
No topics found for : "the doors"
Post an entries now

THE DOORS Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all THE DOORS videos (1) | Search and add more videos to THE DOORS

Buy THE DOORS Music



More places to buy THE DOORS music online Buy THE DOORS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

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)

4.33 | 688 ratings
The Doors
1967
4.23 | 523 ratings
Strange Days
1967
3.59 | 336 ratings
Waiting For The Sun
1968
2.90 | 283 ratings
The Soft Parade
1969
3.36 | 313 ratings
Morrison Hotel
1970
4.01 | 488 ratings
L.A. Woman
1971
2.71 | 104 ratings
Other Voices
1971
2.35 | 91 ratings
Full Circle
1972
3.16 | 128 ratings
An American Prayer
1978

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

3.74 | 79 ratings
Absolutely Live
1970
3.31 | 48 ratings
Alive, She Cried
1983
3.81 | 63 ratings
In Concert
1991
3.31 | 13 ratings
Bright Midnight: Live In America
2001
3.33 | 3 ratings
Live in Hollywood: Highlights from the Aquarius Theatre Performances
2001
4.10 | 10 ratings
Live At The Aquarius Theatre: The First Performance
2001
4.11 | 9 ratings
Live At The Aquarius Theatre: The Second Performance
2001
4.00 | 5 ratings
Live in Hollywood: Highlights from Aquarius Theatre Performances
2002
3.00 | 4 ratings
Backstage and Dangerous: The Private Rehearsal
2002
5.00 | 1 ratings
Boot Yer Butt! - The Doors Bootlegs
2003
3.83 | 6 ratings
Live In Detroit
2004
3.00 | 4 ratings
Live in Philadelphia '70
2005
4.05 | 13 ratings
Live In Boston 1970
2007
2.67 | 9 ratings
Live at the Matrix '67
2008
4.38 | 8 ratings
Live in Pittsburgh 1970
2008
4.00 | 7 ratings
Live in New York
2009
4.33 | 9 ratings
Live In Vancouver 1970
2011
3.82 | 11 ratings
Live At The Bowl '68
2012
2.50 | 2 ratings
London Fog 1966
2016
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at the Matrix
2017
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At The Matrix Part 2: Let's Feed Ice Cream To The Rats, San Francisco, CA - March 7 & 10, 1967
2018

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

3.71 | 7 ratings
Dance On Fire
1985
4.61 | 14 ratings
Live At The Hollywood Bowl
1987
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Doors
1987
3.75 | 13 ratings
Live In Europe 1968
1988
2.55 | 6 ratings
No One Here Gets Out Alive - The Doors' Tribute to Jim Morrison
1990
3.04 | 4 ratings
The Doors Are Open
1991
3.60 | 5 ratings
The Soft Parade A Retrospective
1991
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Best of The Doors
1997
4.20 | 5 ratings
The Doors Collection: Collector's Edition
1999
3.91 | 4 ratings
The Doors 30 Years Commemorative Edition
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Last American Interview
2000
3.00 | 4 ratings
VH-1 Storytellers: A Celebration
2001
3.10 | 12 ratings
Soundstage Performances
2002
3.80 | 5 ratings
The Doors of the 21st Century - L.A. Woman Live
2004
3.00 | 2 ratings
Videobiography
2007
3.67 | 3 ratings
Classic Albums: The Doors - The Doors
2008
2.33 | 3 ratings
Collector's Edition
2008
2.42 | 14 ratings
When You're Strange
2010
3.80 | 5 ratings
Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman
2012
4.35 | 11 ratings
Live At The Bowl '68
2012
1.00 | 1 ratings
R-Evolution
2013
2.50 | 2 ratings
Feast Of Friends
2014
3.05 | 2 ratings
Live at the Isle Wight Festival 1970
2018

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

3.68 | 19 ratings
13
1970
3.81 | 18 ratings
Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine
1972
2.72 | 10 ratings
The Best of the Doors
1973
2.22 | 7 ratings
Star Collection (Vol. 1)
1973
4.20 | 54 ratings
The Best Of The Doors
1985
3.40 | 11 ratings
The Doors OST
1991
3.21 | 10 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 | 5 ratings
Legacy: The Absolute Best
2003
3.55 | 11 ratings
Perception
2006
3.48 | 16 ratings
The Very Best Of
2007
4.00 | 3 ratings
When You're Strange (OST)
2010
4.33 | 4 ratings
A Collection (6CD)
2011
3.50 | 3 ratings
L.A. Woman: The Workshop Sessions
2012
1.00 | 1 ratings
Curated By Record Store Day
2013
3.86 | 2 ratings
Other Voices / Full Circle
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles
2017

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

2.26 | 4 ratings
The Doors (1965 demo)
1965
4.38 | 8 ratings
Break On Through
1967
4.86 | 9 ratings
Light My Fire
1967
3.80 | 5 ratings
Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)
1967
4.33 | 6 ratings
People Are Strange
1967
4.33 | 6 ratings
Love Me Two Times
1967
4.14 | 7 ratings
The Unknown Soldier
1968
4.33 | 6 ratings
Light My Fire 5'' vinyl
1968
4.14 | 7 ratings
Hello I Love You Won't You Tell Me Your Name
1968
3.33 | 8 ratings
Touch Me
1968
4.20 | 5 ratings
Tell All the People
1969
3.24 | 6 ratings
Wishful Sinful
1969
4.00 | 5 ratings
Runnin' Blue
1969
4.00 | 5 ratings
Road House Blues
1970
4.00 | 5 ratings
You Make Me Real
1970
3.39 | 9 ratings
Love Her Madly
1971
2.79 | 10 ratings
Riders on the Storm
1971
3.09 | 4 ratings
Tightrope Ride
1971
4.40 | 5 ratings
Hello I Love You
1971
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Mosquito promo
1972
2.14 | 3 ratings
Get Up and Dance
1972
3.09 | 4 ratings
The Mosquito
1972
3.13 | 4 ratings
The Piano Bird
1972
3.25 | 4 ratings
Hello I Love You 2 x 7'' single
1979
3.25 | 4 ratings
People Are Strange
1981
4.00 | 3 ratings
Gloria
1983
2.31 | 9 ratings
Live at the Hollywood Bowl
1987
3.83 | 6 ratings
Break On Through
1991
4.25 | 4 ratings
Riders On The Storm
1991
4.00 | 6 ratings
Light My Fire
1991
3.33 | 3 ratings
The Ghost Song
1995

THE DOORS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Soft Parade by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.90 | 283 ratings

BUY
The Soft Parade
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars The Doors 4th album "The Soft Parade" came after an extensive tour, and with pressure from the record company to produce another album left the band members little time to compose new music. Their producer, in the meantime, wanted the band to try out a new sound, while pushing into a popular sound and style. Thus, The Soft Parade was born out of this. However, I don't believe it was a big failure, even though the albums longevity in sales wasn't quite as long as previous albums.

The "new sound" of The Doors would end up incorporating tracks with a lot of orchestral backing. It might have been a bit shocking at first to the masses of The Doors fans, but listening to it all of these years later, it doesn't seem as shocking as it did then. It almost seems like a natural progression. And, for being pressured into creating new songs, they ended up sounding pretty decent anyway.

Keyboardist Ray Manzarek and drummer John Densmore had already discussed bringing in some horns and strings, and the idea to do something different only allowed them to try it out. Besides, Densmore and Manzarek both had jazz backgrounds and welcomed the idea. Morrison, in the meantime, wasn't necessarily opposed to the idea, but his own songs didn't go in that direction, which ended up giving the album more of a variety.

"Tell All the People" and hit "Touch Me" were both written by Robby Krieger, and they start off the album with that upbeat and pop jazz sound, and it starts things off the right way. The next 4 tracks were penned by Morrison, and these see little or no orchestra or horns, but rely more on the rock, blues and psychedelic styles that Morrison felt were his stronger suit. On previous albums, the entire band had been credited for each song, but Morrison decided that he didn't want to be associated as having writing credits for "Tell All the People" because of the lyrics telling people to "get your guns", so mainly for this reason, it was decided to list the specific writing credits to the appropriate band member. As the album continues, "Runnin' Blue" and "Wishful Sinful" are both penned by Krieger, and the "new sound" is apparent again, however, with the former track, there is a bluegrass style chorus to it, which was definitely a surprise for fans especially with it also being the first time Krieger would sing on a Doors album, and the latter track has the string drenched arrangements that turn the song into a track that could have been written by Neil Diamond, and is probably my least favorite on the album.

The thing that does weaken the songs a bit on this album is not so much the inclusion of heavily orchestrated tracks, but because of so many shorter and lesser developed tracks. The spirit is there, for sure, but most of them are over before they have a chance to get into the listeners head. That is the case with all of them except for the title track, which is the one that originally finished this quick album off. It is another Morrison penned track. It is also the most progressive song on the album with several different meter and style changes throughout its 8 minute run time. It also ends up, along with "Touch Me", as being the most memorable things about the album, and the song that would keep the fans happy with the feeling that this new direction would probably not be permanent.

The 40th Anniversary Edition of the album continues on with 6 extra tracks. "Who Scared You" was written by Krieger, and was a non-album b-side for "Wishful Sinful". It is also another track utilizing the orchestra and horns, though it does have more of a blues inflection than the other Krieger tunes on this album. This is followed by two different versions of "Whiskey, Mystics and Men", a non-album track recorded in 1970 (Version 1) and overdubbed by the surviving members of the band in a different key (Version 2). The song is definitely a classic-sounding Morrison track, with a barroom feel and an accordion providing most of the instrumental backup. "Push Push" is a rare Doors jam that follows a Latin style drum beat with Manzarek doing most of the work on piano and the band singing "Push Push Push" in the background. The track is a bit too long without much of a change for over 6 minutes. Next is "Touch Me (Dialogue)" with is a short track and just has some banter by the band as they prepare to record a take of the named song, and then this is followed by "Touch Me (Take 3)", which is a nice alternative take on the popular song that still retains the horns but accents the harpsichord and strings more.

The 50th Anniversary Edition has 16 additional tracks, but only repeats "Who Scared You" from the 40th Anniversary Edition, plus it has all of the orchestral tracks in versions that are performed only by The Doors, some alternative versions of other songs, like "Roadhouse Blues" and "(You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further", both sung by Manzarek, a short track called "I Am Troubled", a different version of Morrison's preacher vocal from The Soft Parade track called "Seminary School", the full 60+ minute version of "Rock is Dead" and a track called "Chaos". This edition is probably more interesting to die-hard fans than anyone else. I find the 40th Anniversary Edition to be the better one as it adds to the album without adding badly done demos that weren't meant to be released.

So, overall, the album isn't as bad as some might make it out to be, but for an album by The Doors, most of the songs lack development, and that is the biggest drawback, and that is a pretty big one. The addition of orchestra and horns actually works well for the most part, and the title track is probably worth purchasing the entire album for. But there are better Doors albums, so it's one that you might want to check out after you have already made yourself familiar with some of their better albums. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

 L.A. Woman by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 488 ratings

BUY
L.A. Woman
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars As I see it, the Doors were trending downward when L.A. Woman was released in 1971, just months before the death of frontman Jim Morrison. It's true that there were some promising signs in the behavior of the mercurial Morrison during the recording sessions, but these were counterbalanced by an increasing number of indications that neither the band, nor perhaps music itself, was his raison d'être anymore. Plus, as demonstrated by the band's final two (Morrison-less) albums, and by the relative lack of post-Doors success experienced by the surviving members, Morrison's participation was essential.

Shortly after the L.A. Woman sessions began in November 1970, producer Paul A. Rothchild, who had been with the band since their first album, quit working with the group, partly, it's said, over Morrison's aversion to rehearsals, and partly because he disliked the group's artistic direction. Bruce Botnick was promoted from sound engineer to co- producer, but that choice must've been made with the realization that they'd be losing, but not replacing, a putative taskmaster and a decided quality-control agent.

Oddly (at least to me), the three strong songs here, 'Love Her Madly,' 'L.A. Woman,' and 'Riders on the Storm,' appear to have been the first rehearsed for the album. If Rothchild's oversight was in fact positively correlated with successful Doors material, that makes sense. But apparently it was precisely these songs which drove Rothchild out. At any rate, much of the remainder of L.A. Woman is offhanded bar-band blues, which may have been an attempt to keep it real, assuring critics and fans that their prior album, the pop-rejecting Morrison Hotel, was no fluke. On the title track, as well as many of the blues-based songs, Morrison affects a glottal vocal style which I have to assume is supposed to sound like a clichéd (i.e., black) blues or soul singer. It kind of works, for instance, on the James-Brown homage 'The Changeling,' but in other cases it sounds like Morrison just can't hit the notes. This is noticeable, for example, on the 'city of night' section of 'L.A. Woman.' But to be fair, he sounds in good voice when he's not imitating the style of others, on tracks like 'Love Her Madly,' 'L'America,' and 'Riders on the Storm.'

Speaking of 'Riders on the Storm:' while L.A. Woman sounds like the product of a band in decline, I have to acknowledge that the Doors close the album in a big way. Along with 'Break on Through' and 'Light My Fire' - - both from the Doors' 1967 debut album - - 'Riders on the Storm' is a true rock classic. And 'Love Her Madly' is another gem in the Doors headband.

I wouldn't recommend L.A. Woman to casual Doors fans unless we're talking about casual Doors fans who especially like blues-based rock - - and even then, I'd suggest the Allman Brothers or Cream first. But if neither that nor a Doors greatest-hits album is enough, L.A. Woman may be what you're looking for.

 The Best Of The Doors by DOORS, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1985
4.20 | 54 ratings

BUY
The Best Of The Doors
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As far as I know, this was the first Doors greatest-hits CD, and it's a significant one, with ten million certified sales in the US as of 2007. Since that time, it has been superseded several times as the go-to Doors compilation.

A-B comparisons of some of the songs here reveal that they're not quite the equals of more recent remastered versions, but I'm not sure I would've noticed otherwise; apparently the original Doors albums were recorded pretty well. One thing that I did notice after becoming more familiar with the group is that this collection is sequenced quite strangely: the songs are in semi-chronological order. The first three are from the group's first album, and the next three are from their second. But then it's back to the first, then the third, the fifth, back to the third - - you get the idea. All three songs from the last album represented here (L.A. Woman, also their last with singer Jim Morrison) are on the second CD, but the collection closes with a song from their debut. Since the nineteen songs here were released over a period of less than four and a half years, with no change in band membership, I suppose the departure from chronological sequencing isn't as noticeable as it might've been otherwise. But the Doors' sound did change over their somewhat brief career; for instance, their debut album has more of a live-in-the-studio feel. And L.A. Woman had a different producer - - and a different-sounding Morrison.

Like many Best-Ofs, The Best of the Doors draws heavily from a limited number of LPs. Prog Archives lists nine studio albums by the Doors, including six that made the US Top 10. About 47 of this album's 89 minutes are taken from the first two of these, The Doors and Strange Days, both from 1967. However, this works pretty well. I try not to criticize the song selection of compilation albums, and while my choices would've been a bit different, I probably would've also chosen heavily from their earlier songs. At any rate, their most notable songs are here. That includes most of their finest singles, but also their two longest - - and, in my opinion, most self-indulgent - - album tracks, which account for close to 23 minutes of the running time of The Best of the Doors. The lengths of these two, in comparison to the other tracks, is probably what precipitated the odd sequencing; there was really nothing else to do other than to place one at the end of each of the disks.

The Best of the Doors has been supplanted by several compilations. Judging by the track list, the single-disk The Future Starts Here: The Essential Doors Hits (2008) is just as good, even if it's ten minutes shorter. Nonetheless, there must be thousands of used copies of The Best of the Doors floating around for cheap. My suggestion to any fan of 'proto-prog' of of rock music in general: unless you already have a comprehensive Doors collection, grab a copy of this one.

 Waiting For The Sun by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.59 | 336 ratings

BUY
Waiting For The Sun
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I've never understood why "Hello I Love You" is disliked by a fair number of fans of the Doors. Although I've always enjoyed "Touch Me" from the band's 1969 album The Soft Parade, I can see how its contemporary pop sound could have turned off longtime fans. But "Hello I Love You"? I suppose it has a pop form, but so did at least a handful of prior Doors songs - - "People Are Strange" comes to mind.

Anyway, I picked up a copy of Waiting for the Sun a few years ago. It was a brand new, remastered CD for $4.99 or so. I played it once and decided it was OK but nothing special. For some reason I gave it a spin recently and upon further reconsideration, I was surprised at how good it was.

Although the Doors' debut album is often considered their best, Waiting for the Sun is just as good, and is an improvement over Strange Days, their sophomore effort. There's no "Break on Through" or "Light My Fire" here, but "Hello, I Love You," "The Unknown Soldier," and "Five to One" rank among next echelon of the Doors' best songs, and they're nicely interleaved with some solid cuts like "Spanish Caravan," "Love Street" and "Not to Touch the Earth." Three stars.

 Strange Days by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.23 | 523 ratings

BUY
Strange Days
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It comes as little surprise that Strange Days is largely drawn from the same stockpile that provided the songs on The Doors, the band's debut album. It's also not surprising that many fans feel that most of the best material from this trove wound up on The Doors. An exception is "People are Strange," which was written after the release of The Doors, and which was the most successful single from Strange Days.

I will say, though, that of the two longer-form pieces the group had written before their first album, "When the Music's Over," the last song here, is better than "The End," which serves the same role on The Doors.

Like its predecessor (The Doors) and its successor (Waiting for the Sun), Strange Days opens with a solid rocker - - although "Strange Days" isn't of the quality of "Break on Through" or "Hello I Love You." And while the song quality on those other albums is maintained over the next several tracks, the opening song on Strange Days is followed with the relatively weak "You're Lost Little Girl." Other than "People Are Strange," the only standout track is "Love Me Two Times."

On the whole, though, Strange Days is a solid album, just not as strong as the other two early Doors albums.

 The Doors by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.33 | 688 ratings

BUY
The Doors
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The debut from the legendary LA proto-proggers, The Doors is better than I'd remembered; in the past I thought of it as two good songs plus half an hour of filler.

It seems like, in those pre-Sgt. Pepper days, albums would often be front-loaded with the most accessible songs. The Doors more or less follows this pattern, and Side One, containing "Break on Through (To the Other Side)" and "Light My Fire," is definitely the stronger half. Among the album cuts on The Doors that weren't issued as singles, "Soul Kitchen" and "Crystal Ship" are the most notable, and "Alabama Song" is also pretty good. All three are also on the first side.

I've never been a fan of the ballyhooed "The End," the Side-Two centerpiece (which is nonetheless situated exactly as its title implies). It reminds me of a contemporary Pink Floyd jam, a semi-anti-formal art-house piece. But it's sung much better than a Floyd song, and even on The Wall, Pink Floyd's lyrics never so fully integrated the self-serious and the puerile. For decades I've heard it taken as an article of faith that Doors singer and lyricist Jim Morrison was a criminally under-appreciated and under-understood True Poet. But let's say he was a better than-average pop lyricist and leave it at that.

So in short, one side of The Doors is much stronger than the other, although on balance it's a good album.

 L.A. Woman by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 488 ratings

BUY
L.A. Woman
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars The legacy that is known as THE DOORS had a history shorter than The Beatles at least during the Jim Morrison years and went from a complete unknown to world class superstars in a short time but in the brief five years from the self-titled debut to the band's last album with Morrison, THE DOORS lived a million life times and then some. The year 1969 had taken a particular harsh toll with the band's fourth album "The Soft Parade" taking nine months to record, racking up unthinkable debts and then taking a major fan based nosedive due to producer Paul Rothchild's brilliant idea of create a bloated orchestrated version of the band. Not to mention Morrison's brush with the law in Miami, FL which left him a criminal charged with indecent exposure which led to a series of cancellations and outright bans from more conservative areas of the USA. The nature of the music biz may giveth but more often than not it taketh away even quicker.

Despite the series of debacles which included Morrison's own flirtations with the devil in the form of an incessant drug and alcohol addiction, the band triumphantly returned with the fifth release "Morrison Hotel" which eschewed the pompousness of "The Soft Parade" and reinvented the band's sound with blues rock which added the proper garage rock creds that fit the band's image. The album was a triumphant success and it would've been insane to look a gift horse in the mouth and deviate from that trajectory. Having used up all prior song material the band was forced to start from scratch and work out completely new compositions, however right from the start the various tunes that would be included on the band's sixth album L.A. WOMAN were met with contempt and scorn by longtime producer Rothchild who claimed that songs like "Riders On The Storm" were nothing more than cocktail music. The tune "Love Her Madly" particular rankled his sensibilities.

The four members Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzerek and John Densmore refused to budge and Rothchild had a hissy fit and quit after serving as essentially the "fifth" member for the band's previous five albums. Suddenly free from his slave driving work ethos, THE DOORS took on the challenge of producing the album themselves and took things even further into the "back to basics" arena. While "The Soft Parade" consumed a whopping nine months of recording time which clashed with Morrison's restless nature and short attention span, L.A. WOMAN was recorded outside of the major high tech luxuries of the major recording studios and instead unfolded organically in the lo-tech facilities known as the "workshop." Living as if in a fraternity the band members rekindled the creative spark that made them a household name in the first place an crafted the entire album in less than a week with an additional week of mixing with a little help from engineer Bruce Botnick. Some of Morrison's vocal parts were even recorded in a bathroom!

While the original four members followed in the footsteps of "Morrison Hotel" with a stripped down bluesy rock sound, the band employed a couple of guest musicians for the extra parts. Marc Benno who played with the Asylum Choir and Leon Russell in the late 60s contributed rhythm guitar on several tracks and the role of bassist was assigned to Jerry Scheff who had just completed a tour with Elvis Presley. Scheff contributed a noticeable shift towards funk especially heard on the opening track "The Changeling" and "Crawling King Snake." While the back to basics ethos was clearly emphasized, THE DOORS were about having fun while creating music and scoffed at too harsh of restrictions therefore L.A. WOMAN has a more diverse sound than "Morrison Hotel" and not only found new creative expressive ways to steer their unique brand of psychedelic blues rock but also found new life in earlier styles not heard since the first two albums.

After the soulful and funk laden opener "The Changeling" establishes L.A. WOMAN as the more down-to-earth album of the band's canon, the hit single "Love Her Madly" follows. The title came from a Duke Ellington catchphrase that he used to end his concerts. The track itself is about Krieger arguing with his wife but ultimately it's the super catchy mix of guitar riffs and keyboard magic that makes the track burrow into the psyche forever. Of the original ten tracks, several stick to the blues rock paradigm. "Been Down So Long," "Cars Hiss By My Window," "Crawling King Snake" and "The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)" all emphasize bluesy guitar struttin' as their modus operandi with Morrison taking on the role of blues bro No.1 and pulling it off quite well i might add. The remaining three tracks all exude a personality of their own despite adopting the blues, funk and psychedelia heard elsewhere.

The spectacular title track was one of the most sophisticated songs THE DOORS had recorded and spawned the famous phrase "Mr. Mojo Risin" which Morrison shouts out several times during the song's bridge. The tune is filled with references such as the phrase "city of night" referring to a John Rechy novel. "L'America" was originally recorded for a Michelangelo Antonioni soundtrack more specifically for the 1970 film "Zabriskie Point" but was ultimately rejected for being too rowdy! It was the only track that was already written previously. "Hyacinth House" is one of the slower tracks with a slower blues rock tempo and more focus on the extraordinary psychedelic rock keyboard additions. The track also displayed Morrison's labyrinthine lyrical style as the subject matter relates to another DOORS song, "The End." The music was entirely a Manzarek construct and was inspired by Frederic Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 during the organ solo which seems fairly imperceptible but a testament to how well these guys could mix and mingle all the major genres of music without detection.

It's well known that after the recording of the album, Jim Morrison took a long needed vacation to Paris but would never return having suffered from a premature death at the unthinkable age of 27 on July 3, 1971. The final track on L.A. WOMAN, "Riders On The Storm" couldn't have been a better track for Morrison to end his all too brief career on. Not only was it the last song on the album but the last one Morrison recorded. The eerie mix of thunderstorm sound effects and lyrical themes inspired by an old cowboy song that lamented over a serial killer adopted the galloping country and western chops of "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend," made famous by Vaughn Monroe and turned it into a psychedelic rock classic that was released the day Morrison died. Not only does the song evoke the spirit of Morrison haunting the skies above but also paid tribute to his career before he had actually even passed on. While the speculation of whether he overdosed on drugs or was actually murdered may never be known, the track amazingly was brought back to the origins of the psychedelic hazy sounds of the band's debut album, namely on the song "The End." Wow.

Despite all the odds against them at every turn from outside and especially from within, THE DOORS defiantly reinvented themselves and in the process crafted their best album since the one-two punch masterpiece combo pack of 1967's "The Doors" and "Strange Days." L.A. WOMAN cleverly summarizes the band's entire run through its brief five year stint as America's most celebrated psychedelic rock band and although the remaining members would make a feeble attempt to release a couple more albums without Morrison in the picture, for all true fans this is where all those "Strange Days" ended forever. The band of course would live on in perpetuity on classic rock radio stations and playlists worldwide but they couldn't have ended the Morrison led years on more of a high note than L.A. WOMAN which only hints at the musical achievements they could've achieved if only they were allowed to continue however when all is said and done it's actually a miracle they made it as far as they did.

 Morrison Hotel by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.36 | 313 ratings

BUY
Morrison Hotel
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Touted as one of the greatest comebacks in music history, THE DOORS had a triumph return to form after the tumultuous year of 1969 which not only found the band's third album 'The Soft Parade' panned by fans and critics alike for straying too far from the psychedelic rock leanings by adding elaborate brass and string arrangements courtesy of producer Paul Rothchild but also found the band licking its wounds after Jim Morrison's altercations on March 1, 1969 at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove, Florida where Morrison was charged for indecent exposure which ultimately escalated in many gigs on the band's world tour to be cancelled. Despite the series of events that very well could've spelled the end of the band's career, the band's fourth album MORRISON HOTEL miraculously turned everything around and returned the band to the top of the charts. Despite Morrison's self- destructive behavior, the band was still churning out the product despite all the odds.

THE DOORS resorted to a tried and true trick in the music biz. When many a band took a wrong musical career turn that left the fanbase alienated, going back to the basics more often paid off then not and on MORRISON HOTEL, the band eschewed all the bloated budgets and grandiose pomp that resulted in 'The Soft Parade' costing more than all the other DOORS albums combined and instead focused on simple blues based tracks that also added that special 60s psychedelic sauce that made THE DOORS stand out in the first place. While the album was primarily made up of totally new tracks, the band also raided the vaults of unreleased material including 'Indian Summer' form the earliest recording sessions as well as 'Queen Of The Highway,' a leftover from 'The Soft Parade' and de-jazzified for inclusion. Likewise 'Waiting For The Sun,' which flirted with proto-prog tendencies was a reject from the band's third album of the same name but found a new lease on life on MORRISON HOTEL.

The original release was split into two sides, Side A known as 'Hard Rock Caf' which would inspire the future restaurant chain of the same name and the second side that adopted the name of the album, MORRISON HOTEL which was a real establishment in the downtown area of Los Angeles. The band took an impromptu photo of themselves in that very place which is on the album cover. While MORRISON HOTEL failed to yield any significant charting singles, the album shot up to No. 4 on the Billboard charts and performed well overseas as well thus establishing the band as an album band. Despite this many of the tracks have become popular on classic rock radio stations over the decades and while the blacklisting in more conservative areas of the USA continued to haunt the band, the negative publicity actually generated interest for many as well. Once again THE DOORS were back on top of their game.

The album starts off with one of THE DOORS' most distinctly recognizable tracks, the feisty 'Roadhouse Blues' which found Jim Morrison taking the role as a blues vocalist and keyboardist Ray Manzarek delivering one of his most memorable piano performances where he utilized a tack piano as well as a Wurlitzer electric. A different version of the track exists with John Lee Hooker sharing vocals and while the single only hit #50 and the tune has become one of THE DOORS' greatest hits over the years. The track created an instantly addictive bluesy guitar shuffle along with guest musician John Sebastian (from the Lovin' Spoonful) delivering a mean harmonica performance. 'Waiting For The Sun' returns to the zeitgeist of the psychedelic years of the band's early performances with trippy twangy guitar slides and offers the now rare glimpse into Morrison's early poetic contributions that had been all but exhausted at this point. Morrison was also still very much out of control with this alcoholism and the entire album was recorded with him being totally inebriated so it is said.

Much of the remaining tracks follow the bluesy shuffles and piano rolls of 'Roadhouse Blues.' 'You Make Me Real,' 'Land Ho!' and 'Maggie McGill' feature the most bluesy tracks whereas 'Blue Sunday,' 'Ship Of Fools,' 'The Spy' and 'Queen Of The Highway' focus more on the psychedelic rock aspects that made the band so popular in the first place. The track 'Peace Frog' stands out from the pack as it contains a guitar riff sequence that reminds me of what 90s grunge would sound like. The opening guitar heft is very much the stuff that bands like Nirvana was made of but the track also incarnates that California sound of the 60s with the psychedelic pop keyboard style and of course Morrison's charismatic frontman style that managed to shine through despite his persistent substance abuse. Much of Morrison's personal life was reflected in the tracks 'The Spy' and 'Queen Of The Highway' which lamented about his tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend Pamela Courson who must have endured a lot of nonsense!

It's fair to say that THE DOORS never successfully recaptured the sheer psychedelic pop rock perfection of the first two albums but the band was amazingly consistent at cranking out strong melodic tunes that showcased the tight instrumental interplay as well as Morrison's unique and outrageous vocal style. It seems that the world was ready to write THE DOORS off as just another has been 60s band after 'The Soft Parade' so the fact that the band was given a second chance to join the next wave of rock music developments of the early 1970s was nothing short of a miracle especially given Morrison's unpredictable and confrontationally grating personality. MORRISON HOTEL was indeed an excellent return to form although i still can't understand why 'The Soft Parade' received all the hate that it did. The album is chock full of catchy infectious blues oriented rock tracks as well as the expected psychedelic 60s charm. Only tracks like 'Indian Summer' sound like filler and in all honesty should have been left in the vaults for time immemorial. The strength of the majority of the tracks on MORRISON HOTEL make this yet another essential addition for your classic rock collection.

 Full Circle by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.35 | 91 ratings

BUY
Full Circle
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Full Circle is arguably the first Doors LP recorded outside of Jim Morrison's shadow. Morrison didn't participate in any aspect of Other Voices (1971) - - in fact, he died shortly before that album was recorded. But Other Voices was originally planned to include Morrison, and that's clear on several Other Voices songs. Full Circle was begun with a proverbial clean slate.

The Doors had always been comprised of keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, drummer John Densmore, and lead vocalist Morrison; upon Morrison's death, Manzarek and Krieger took over the vocals. Prior to Full Circle, Morrison was also the frontman and a bad-boy celebrity to boot, and appears to have been the Doors member with the most influence over the band's musical direction. While the others may have had differing musical interests, each of the group's seven albums as a quartet (including Absolutely Live) hit the top ten of the Billboard (US) album chart - - so they were heading in a pretty successful direction. Even Other Voices hit #31. But with Morrison irretrievably gone, the old formula wasn't going to work, and co-lead singers Manzarek and Krieger - - who between them wrote nearly all of the group's post-Morrison material - - couldn't agree on a new tack. Specifically, as I understand it, Manzarek favored a jazzier direction while the other two wished to keep on rockin'. The lack of direction, as well as the group's declining popularity - - Full Circle peaked at #68 - - meant that this was also the last Doors LP recorded outside of Jim Morrison's shadow.

On one hand, Full Circle is more adventurous that Other Voices. Sometimes this works, such as on the groovy, psychedelic, and cantado-en-español "The Mosquito." But more often really doesn't. Part of the issue may have been a lack of agreement on artistic direction, but it seems more likely that it was lack of inspiration.

On the other hand, maybe the problem is that the Doors, which had been an internally-inspired group, was now overly influenced by its contemporaries. To be sure, Full Circle is very much an early-1970s American rock record, sounding not only like the Doors, but in places echoing the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and even Blood, Sweat, and Tears. And like those groups, the Doors were no longer enjoying hit singles. (OK, the Dead never really enjoyed hit singles in the 1970s). The American rock acts that were enjoying big hit songs were more song-oriented: Jim Croce and Three Dog Night, for example. Full Circle is more album-oriented, but the diversity of contemporary styles and the attempted hooks imply that the group was aiming to remain as hitmakers. (Elektra released three singles from the album in the US: "The Mosquito" / "It Slipped My Mind," "Get Up and Dance" / "Treetrunk," and "The Piano Bird" / "Good Rockin'." Only the first of these charted, hitting #85. "Treetrunk," by the way, is a non-LP single included on some reissues of the CD.)

If you've already heard the Doors' music from their classic period, and are curious about how they sounded without Morrison, I'd start with Other Voices. In the event you enjoy that one, then by all means, get Full Circle.

 Other Voices by DOORS, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.71 | 104 ratings

BUY
Other Voices
The Doors Proto-Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Other Voices pretty much sounds like the Doors without Jim Morrison, which is of course exactly what it is. The "voices" referred in the album's title are those of keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger. The trio is rounded out by drummer John Densmore; a variety of session players cover the bass parts.

The songs were originally planned for a follow-up to L.A. Woman, on which Morrison would again have been the lead singer - - but he died before he could rejoin the group. Manzarek had already sung leads in concert, including, as I understand it, cover songs as well as songs originally sung by Morrison. So he's able to sound like Morrison on Other Voices. Krieger's vocals are less suited to the material.

And it's the material that's the shortcoming here. Most of the songs are pedestrian: nothing especially good or bad. Based on my assumption that the Doors' final albums were created somewhat similarly to Other Voices, I have a newfound appreciation for Morrison, whose creative input - - and not just singing - - would probably have transformed at least a song or two into a Doors standard.

The closest Other Voices comes to that ideal is when Manzarek conjures up those Morrison vocals on "In the Eye of the Sun" and "Tightrope Ride" - - which means that Other Voices is at its best when the Doors are clutching at a ghost. I'd only recommend this album to those who've already experienced all of the great music the Doors had already created. For everyone else, it's safe to get one of the two-CD compilations like Legacy: The Absolute Best (2003) or The Very Best Of (2007).

Thanks to erik neuteboom for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives