The Doors

More than just a band that pro­duced some clas­sic mu­sic, they re­main iconic, their record­ings em­braced by each new gen­er­a­tion.

Classic Rock - - Contents - Max Bell

Look­ing to grab al­bums by one of the most iconic bands of the 60s but don’t know where to start? Let us light your fire.

Com­mu­nion, con­fronta­tion and in­can­des­cent mu­sic lie at the heart of The Doors’ con­tri­bu­tion to pop­u­lar cul­ture. Thanks to front­man Jim Mor­ri­son’s charis­matic per­for­mances, the LA-based quar­tet be­came the most talked­about band in Amer­ica from 1967 un­til Mor­ri­son’s death in Paris in July 1971 – in cir­cum­stances akin to a mur­der mys­tery.

In be­tween they re­leased six stu­dio al­bums, and the dou­ble Ab­so­lutely Live, mostly taken from their come­back tour in the af­ter­math of the no­to­ri­ous Mi­ami show at the Dinner Key Au­di­to­rium on March 1, 1969. At that show, Mor­ri­son allegedly ex­posed him­self. Four days later a war­rant for his ar­rest was is­sued on charges of gross public in­de­cency, in­clud­ing sim­u­lat­ing oral sex on gui­tarist Robby Krieger (mim­icked by David

Bowie on Mick Ron­son three years later).

Ri­ots at Doors con­certs were noth­ing new, nor were ar­rests for their lead singer. His in­creas­ingly er­ratic, of­ten al­co­holin­duced mis­de­meanours –tol­er­ated to a de­gree by key­board player Ray Man­zarek but less so by Krieger and drum­mer John Dens­more – who threat­ened to quit if Mor­ri­son didn’t clean up his act – only en­hanced Mor­ri­son’s leg­end.

The Doors’ fi­nal show, at the Ware­house in New Or­leans on De­cem­ber 12, 1970, ended abruptly with Mor­ri­son smash­ing the mi­cro­phone stand through the stage be­fore lurch­ing to the wings. A bulky, heav­ily bearded Mor­ri­son made amends by com­plet­ing the L.A. Woman al­bum that month in The Doors Work­shop, their of­fice trans­formed into a makeshift stu­dio, close to the bars and sleazy joints that be­came his nat­u­ral mi­lieu.

An idio­syn­cratic in­di­vid­ual to say the least, Mor­ri­son’s pres­ence al­ways gal­vanised The Doors, a band that com­bined a weird take on the blues, el­e­ments of Latin Amer­i­can beats and for­ays into po­etry, orches­tra­tion, shaman­is­tic hal­lu­ci­na­tions and a strain of dark Brechtian pop whose elu­sive na­ture kept The Doors as sin­is­ter as they could be play­ful. They had a unique chem­istry, and even when the ex­per­i­ments ex­ploded, they pro­duced some­thing with un­usual in­tegrity. Given the an­ti­sep­tic na­ture of much cur­rent mu­sic, The Doors re­tain an edge – fires were lit and dan­ger was em­braced. If you can’t keep a good man down, try han­dling a bad one. Start your en­gines – it’s go­ing to be a bumpy ride.

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