The Door are one of the most influential rock bands that has ever existed. There influence did not just stop at the musical world, but – particularly the charismatic hurricane that was Jim Morrison – was able to seep into the very heart of 60s and 70s life. From 1967 and 1971 the band shone brightly and too fiercely before the inevitable death at 27 (yes, that magically malevolent number) of Jim Morrison, the lead singer, which effectively ended the band (although they did try to limp on for a bit). The band had a string of successful albums and singles and although their final album L.A. Woman is a masterpiece, their debut, The Doors, is by far their best work … and one of the greatest albums ever recorded.
Pioneering what became known as psychedelic rock, and drawing influence from writers such as Aldous Huxley and Bertolt Brecht, The Doors opened the … door … on a new form of musical expression and ushered in a new era of music that nicely rounded off the 60s before it morphed into Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in the 70s. This album went onto inspire everyone from The Beatles to The Rolling Stones and remains to this day unlike anything you’ve ever heard, particularly the masterpiece songs that round off the two sides of the album: ‘Light My Fire’ and ‘The End’.
The album is all killer, but in my opinion ‘Light My Fire’ and ‘The End’ are the two best songs The Doors ever did, even if they take some getting used to … but originality is always shocking at first. ‘Light My Fire’ is an absolute classic that has been covered by the likes of Jose Feliciano, Shirley Bassey, and Will Young, however you haven’t really heard the song until you hear the rambling seven-minute album version. It’s the hit song you know and love, but with added flavour and a whole lot of 60’s psychedelic instrumentation. The song that inspired a generation.
“The time to hesitate is through.
No time to wallow in the mire.
Try now we can only lose
And our love become a funeral pyre.”
-The Doors – Light My Fire
I’ve spoken about ‘The End’ before now, but I will touch on it again as it truly is something very special that I don’t think has ever been successfully emulated, even though many have tried. It’s a long, slow, twelve-minute horror movie of a song and brings to mind the haunting song ‘Black Sabbath’ by … you guessed it … Black Sabbath. The song is mystical and features some Oedipal spoken word poetry that is just terrifying.
The album is not all Meatloaf-length epics, however, as the album surrounds these two musical extravaganzas with blues-inspired rock songs like the stone-cold classic ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’, ‘Back Door Man’, and one of my personal favourites ‘Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)’ taken from the Bertolt Brecht play The Little Mahogany. Only The Doors could take an English translation of a German song from an obscure German play and turn it into an American psychedelic-rock classic.
“We chased our pleasures here,
Dug our treasures there,
But can you still recall
The time we cried?
Break on through to the other side.”
-The Doors – Break on Through (To the Other Side)
If you call yourself a fan of 60’s or rock music and you don’t own a copy of this album, then you need to slap yourself on the wrist and head to your nearest record shop and pick it up on vinyl … or download it if you have too … whatevs …
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