Jim Morrison – circa 1967
“Five to one / One in five / No one here gets / Out alive” – ‘Five To One’ (The Doors)
It is 1 March 1969. American rock band The Doors is on stage at The Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove, Florida. The Doors’ vocalist, Jim Morrison, seems a bit confused. ‘A song broken down in the middle, the singer too drunk to even make a pretence of professionalism’. There are a few cat calls from the audience. Everyone is waiting for Morrison to do something. According to subsequent legal charges, this is what happens next: Morrison asks the crowd, “You wanna see my c*ck?” while ‘waving his flaccid peter’ in the air. The events of this evening of 1 March 1969 mark ‘the beginning of the end for Morrison and The Doors.’
James Douglas Morrison (8 December 1943-3 July 1971) is born at 11:55 a.m. in Melbourne, Florida, U.S.A. He is the son of George Stephen Morrison (7 January 1919-17 November 2008) and Clara Virginia Morrison (nee Clarke). Jim comes from a mix of Scottish, Irish and English ancestry. His father is a U.S. Navy officer. George Morrison was assigned to the U.S.S. Pruitt, a mine-layer, and watched the vessel being bombed by Japanese forces in an attack on the U.S. Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941. This bombing drew the U.S.A. into World War Two. George Morrison undertakes flight training in 1943 (the year in which his son is born) at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. He flies missions in the Pacific for the rest of the war, becoming ‘a career naval pilot.’
When Jim Morrison is 4 years old in 1947, he and his family witness a car accident in the desert and sees injured Native Americans lying by the roadside. Jim later believes this to ‘be the most formative event of his life.’
In the post-war years, the Morrison family expands with the birth of Jim’s younger siblings. His sister, Anne Robin Morrison, is born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1947 and his brother, Andrew Lee Morrison, is born in Los Altos, California, in 1948.
Raised as a ‘military brat,’ Jim Morrison and his siblings often change address depending on where their father is posted. Jim spends part of his childhood in San Diego, California. He completes third grade at Fairfax County Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia. In 1952, while his father is stationed at NAS (Naval Air Station) Kingsville, Jim goes to Charles H. Flato Elementary School in Kingsville, Texas. His education continues at St Joan’s Methodist School (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Longfellow School’s Sixth Grade Graduation Program (San Diego, California). Jim Morrison starts high school in 1957 at Alameda High School in Alameda, California. However, by the time he graduates in June 1961, Jim is at George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia. (Fellow future rock star Cass Elliot of The Mamas And The Papas is also at George Washington High School at the same time.)
Jim Morrison’s childhood is described as ‘harsh.’ Although his parents do not physically punish their children, they employ the military technique of ‘dressing down.’ This involves yelling at the misbehaving person until they acknowledge their failures. Once Jim graduates, he breaks off most contact with his family. In press material for The Doors’ first album in 1967, Jim Morrison falsely claims his parents are dead. Jim’s father is not supportive of Jim’s career choice as a musician, though he does seem to mellow a bit in later years. By 1969, Jim Morrison says, “I said my parents were dead as some kind of joke. I have a brother too, but I haven’t seen him in about a year. I don’t see any of them.” (Jim’s sister Anne goes unmentioned here but she saw Jim during his rock star years and was pictured with him and her infant son.)
Music doesn’t play a large role in Jim Morrison’s youth. “When I was a kid, I tried piano for a while, but I didn’t have the discipline to keep up with it,” he recalls. “I think I got to about the third grade book.” On the other hand, poetry exerts a stronger grip on him. “I think around the fifth or sixth grade I wrote a poem called ‘The Pony Express’,” says Morrison. He is said to have always been ‘a voracious reader’ and ‘one of the most erudite and widely read rock stars.’
After graduating high school, Jim Morrison goes to live with his paternal grandparents in Clearwater, Florida. Jim attends St Petersburg Junior College in Florida for a year. In 1962 he moves on to Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. On 28 September 1963 Jim Morrison is arrested for pulling a prank while drunk at a home football game for Florida State University’s team. This is an early indicator of Jim Morrison’s love for both alcohol and rebellion. He will later proselytise, “When you make your peace with authority, you become authority.”
Jim Morrison’s first ‘major love’ is Mary Werbelow. He meets her on the beach in Florida. Jim and Mary’s relationship lasts for ‘several years.’
In January 1964 Jim Morrison transfers to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
By 1964 Jim Morrison’s father, George Stephen Morrison, has been given command of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard. This vessel is involved in what is known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident on 2 August 1964. The Gulf of Tonkin is a body of water north of Vietnam and south of China. On 2 August 1964 the carrier division under George Morrison’s command exchanges fire with Vietnamese vessels. Both sides claim the other shot first. This confrontation escalates the involvement of the U.S. in the region, leading eventually to the U.S. entering the Vietnam War in 1965.
At UCLA, Jim Morrison starts out in a comparative literature program. His taste for theatrical material leads Morrison to transfer to UCLA’s film school in 1965 where he works on an undergraduate degree. It is at this time that Jim Morrison meets Ray Manzarek.
Ray Manzarek (12 February 1939-20 May 2013) is born Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr. in Chicago, Illinois. He is the son of Raymond Manczarek, Sr. and Helena Manczarek. Ray has two brothers, Rick and Jim. The family is of Polish descent.
Like Jim Morrison, Ray Manczarek learns to play piano. Unlike Jim, Ray sticks with it and ‘shows considerable talent as a classical pianist.’ However, Ray has other ambitions: He wants to play basketball professionally. It is only when his coach refuses to let Ray play in the position he prefers, that Ray – in a fit of pique – turns his back on basketball to concentrate on music.
Ray Manczarek attends Everett Elementary School on South Bell Street in Chicago before going on to St Rita of Cascia High School. When he is 12 years old, the ‘classically trained pianist’ discovers rhythm and blues music. After that, Ray is soon frequenting the blues clubs on Chicago’s South Side. Ray Manczarek matriculates at DePaul University in 1956. Moving on to higher education, he plays piano in his fraternity’s jazz band. In 1960 Ray Manczarek graduates from DePaul University’s College of Commerce with a degree in economics.
In autumn 1961 Ray Manczarek enrols at the UCLA School of Law. As a grad student, he transfers to UCLA’s Department of Motion Pictures, Television and Radio. However he drops out completely after breaking up with his girlfriend. Ray visits New York City where he drunkenly tries to enlist in the Army Signal Corps as a camera operator. Contrary to expectation, the young man winds up in the Army Security Agency as a prospective intelligence analyst. He is sent for training in Okinawa, Japan, and Laos. Ray Manczarek plays in various musical ensembles while he is in the army. It is also during his time in Asia that Ray first smokes cannabis and begins to grow his own crop. Manczarek is discharged from the army when he refuses to sign a security clearance. Ray returns to UCLA in 1962 and enrols in their graduate film program. (Some suggest that Ray’s second stint at UCLA is financed by the sale of the dope he grew.) Ray Manczarek eventually earns a Master of Fine Arts in Cinematography in 1965. While working towards that end, Ray meets both Jim Morrison (who, being younger, is still an undergraduate) and Ray’s future wife, Dorothy Fujikawa.
In 1961 Ray Manczarek’s brothers, Rick and Jim, had formed a band called Rick & The Ravens. The original line-up was: Rick Manczarek (guitar), Jim Manczarek (organ, harmonica), Patrick Stonier (saxophone), Roland Biscaluz (bass) and Vince Thomas (drums). When Ray returns to UCLA in 1962 he joins Rick & The Ravens. Under the alias of Screamin’ Ray Daniels, he is the act’s lead vocalist and provides occasional piano work as well. The ‘Screamin’’ prefix is borrowed from Screaming Jay Hawkins, an early rock ‘n’ roll/rhythm and blues singer. The fake surname comes from Ray’s own middle name, Daniel.
Rick & The Ravens release three singles in 1965, all featuring Screamin’ Ray Daniels on vocals: ‘Soul Train’, ‘Henrietta’ and ‘Big Bucket “T”’. The first of them is credited to ‘Ray Daniels feat. Rick & The Ravens’. All these singles are promotional products only and are not commercially available.
Forty days after finishing film school, Ray Manczarek meets Jim Morrison again on California’s Venice Beach. Morrison graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in summer 1965 and has become a part of the Venice Beach culture ‘where transience is a given and acid [i.e. LSD] the drug of preference.’ One night on the beach, Morrison recites some of his own poetry to Manczarek. Ray recalls, “It seemed as though, if we got a group together we could make a million dollars.” Ray Manczarek invites Jim Morrison to join Rick & The Ravens.
Rick & The Ravens seem to have some trouble keeping musicians in the band. Jim Morrison finds the only three remaining members of the band are the three Manczarek brothers, Ray, Rick and Jim. The need for a rhythm section is particularly pressing. Ray Manczarek meets both John Densmore and Robby Krieger at a transcendental meditation lecture.
John Paul Densmore is born on 1 December 1944 in Los Angeles, California. He is the son of Ray Densmore and Margaret Densmore. John Densmore has two siblings, a brother named Jim and a sister named Ann. John is brought up in a Catholic family environment.
At first, John Densmore plays piano as a child. He takes up drums to be part of the school marching band. John attends Santa Monica City College and California State University, Northridge. At the latter, he studies ethnic music. John Densmore’s playing style is influenced by the jazz drummers Elvin Jones and Art Blakey
In the mid-1960s John Densmore is in a band called The Psychedelic Rangers. One of his colleagues in this act is guitarist Robby Krieger – the other fellow Ray Manczarek meets at the transcendental meditation lecture.
In August 1965 drummer John Densmore joins Rick & The Ravens. Rounding out the group is bassist Patricia ‘Pat’ Sullivan (when she marries later she becomes Pat Hansen) from Patty And The Esquires.
On 2 September 1965 Rick & The Ravens make a demo recording of six songs: ‘Moonlight Drive’ (adapted from the beachside poetry recitation Jim Morrison had given Ray Manczarek that so impressed the latter), ‘My Eyes Have Seen You’, ‘Hello I Love You’, ‘Go Insane’, ‘End Of The Night’ and ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’. All of these songs will later be re-recorded by The Doors – though ‘Go Insane’ is retitled ‘A Little Game’ when it is part of the ‘Celebration Of The Lizard’ suite. The six people on this demo by Rick & The Ravens are: Jim Morrison (vocals), Ray Manczarek (vocals, keyboards), Rick Manczarek (guitar), Jim Manczarek (harmonica), Pat Sullivan (bass) and John Densmore (drums). When the demo garners a poor reaction, Ray’s brothers – Rick and Jim Manczarek – both leave the group.
In October 1965 guitarist Robby Krieger joins the band.
Robert Alan Krieger is born on 8 January 1946 in Los Angeles, California. He is the son of Stu Krieger and Marilyn Krieger. Stu Krieger is an engineer – and a fan of marching band music. Robby Krieger has a brother named Ron. The family is of German Jewish descent.
Robby Krieger first tries his hand at music when he is 10 years old and attempts to learn to play the trumpet. This does not prove to be very successful. Robby does better at picking out blues tunes on his parent’s piano. Robby Krieger becomes a boarding student at Menlo School in Menlo Park, California. While at this private school, Robby learns guitar at night. He ‘bounces around genres,’ playing flamenco, folk, jazz and blues…and even joins a jug band, The Back Bay Chamber Pot Terriers.
After high school, Robby Krieger goes on to the University of California, Santa Barbara. He lists his influences as a guitarist as including Wes Montgomery (jazz) and Albert King (blues). “I didn’t plan on rock ‘n’ roll. I wanted to learn jazz,” Robby later says. Nonetheless, by the mid-1960s Robby Krieger is playing alongside drummer John Densmore in The Psychedelic Rangers. If the band’s name suggests a familiarity with LSD, Robby points out, “I was the first one at my school to try acid [but] by the time I was in The Doors I was cutting down on my acid use. That was why I was doing meditation classes – I had come back down to earth.” It is at a transcendental meditation lecture that he and John Densmore meet Ray Manczarek. John is recruited to Ray’s band in August 1965. At Densmore’s recommendation to the group, Robby Krieger is added to their line-up in October 1965.
A month after the poorly received September 1965 demo recording, vocalist Jim Morrison suggests that Rick & The Ravens change their name to The Doors. It probably makes sense to distance themselves from the unsuccessful demo and, given the departure of Rick Manczarek, there isn’t even any ‘Rick’ in Rick & The Ravens. Jim Morrison’s inspiration for the name ‘The Doors’ is Aldous Huxley’s book ‘The Doors of Perception’ (1954). This work references the use of psychedelic drugs to expand one’s consciousness. Huxley borrows the title from a line in ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’ (1790-1793) by the poet William Blake. The quote from Blake is, “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” The literary pedigree makes ‘The Doors’ a very acceptable title to the aspiring musicians. A line attributed to Jim Morrison is, “There are things known and things unknown and in between are The Doors.”
At first, in October 1965, The Doors is a five-piece band that includes bassist Pat Sullivan. She remains with the group until December 1965. Pat Sullivan’s departure leaves the band in its best and most famous configuration: Jim Morrison (vocals), Ray Manczarek (keyboards), Robby Krieger (guitar) and John Densmore (drums). “We wanted a bass player, and we auditioned a few – but we could never find one who was right,” explains Robby Krieger. The Doors get around this deficit by having keyboardist Ray Manczarek play a bass foot-pedal or a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass. Krieger adds, “Ray had to play really simple bass lines, which gave the music a hypnotic feel.” On stage, Manczarek plays the bass parts but, when The Doors start to record, they use a guest bass player on at least some tracks of every album they record.
Guitarist Robby Krieger sheds some light on the early relationships within the band. “I first met him [vocalist Jim Morrison] when he came to my house with [drummer] John Densmore and he seemed pretty normal…[I later discovered] Jim was so out there…When I first met him [keyboardist Ray Manczarek], he was the ‘Big Man On Campus’ at the UCLA Film School…He was a major character, but Jim kind of kept him in his place…[It] created a good balance…I couldn’t hold a candle to Jim and Ray [when it came to acid use]…In the very early days, Ray was very close to Jim; Jim actually lived with Ray and his [future] wife [Dorothy Fujikawa]. He was almost like their son…”
In January 1966 The Doors become the house band at The London Fog, a club on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. They face some ‘hard, discouraging dues-paying months.’ “Nobody came in the place,” reports keyboardist Ray Manczarek. “It was a very depressing experience, but it gave us time to really get the music together.”
It is while The Doors are performing at The London Fog that vocalist Jim Morrison meets Pamela Susan Courson (22 December 1946-25 April 1974). At the time Pamela is an art student at Los Angeles City College. Jim and Pamela become a couple. He spends ‘most of his adult life’ with her and, though they never officially wed, she is recognised as his ‘common law’ wife. Jim and Pamela’s relationship is described as ‘tumultuous’, rife with arguments and infidelities by both partners.
Presumably, the start of Jim Morrison’s relationship with Pamela Courson coincides with the end of his relationship with Mary Werbelow (lasting from 1962 to 1966?). While Jim and Pamela are together, Jim is said to have been involved with many other women to varying degrees of seriousness. His other lovers are allegedly: fans (‘groupies’) such as Pamela Des Barres and Josepha Karcz; fellow rock stars Nico (of The Velvet Underground), Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane) and – maybe – a drunken encounter with Janis Joplin; journalists Gloria Stavers (‘16’ magazine) and Patricia Kennealy (‘Jazz and Pop’ magazine – c. 1967-1970); Judy Huddleston (c. 1965-1969); Ingrid Thompson (c. 1970); and Janet Erwin (c. July 1971). At one point, Morrison supposedly had ‘twenty paternity suits pending against him.’ At the time of his death, there are still three paternity suits outstanding – but these claims are not pursued against his estate.
In 1966 George Stephen Morrison, the father of Doors vocalist Jim Morrison, is promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral with the U.S. Navy. At 46 years of age, he is the youngest Admiral in the Navy. Although Jim Morrison initially fosters the fiction that his parents are dead, when later chroniclers of his story discover the truth, they routinely note the ironic contrast in one of rock music’s arch-rebels being the son of a Rear-Admiral.
The same day that The Doors are fired from The London Fog, they are hired to be the house band at another Los Angeles club, The Whisky A Go Go. In June 1966 The Doors perform there as the opening act for the visiting Irish rock band Them, featuring Van Morrison (no relation to The Doors’ Jim Morrison).
While The Doors are performing at The Whisky A Go Go, they are signed to a recording contract by Columbia Records. However, nothing comes of this. Columbia seems unable to make the arrangement work out to the satisfaction of all concerned. On 10 August 1966 Jac Holzman, at the recommendation of Arthur Lee (frontman of Love), catches a Doors gig at The Whisky A Go Go. Holzman is the President of Elektra Records, the label for whom Love records. Elektra is characterised as a ‘fading folkie label’ (at this point in history) and Holzman hopes that signing electric groups like Love and The Doors will arrest the decline of Elektra. He signs The Doors to Elektra on 18 August 1966. Columbia, the label that has a six-month contract with The Doors, decides not to fight the label change and lets The Doors go.
On 21 August 1966, three days after signing with Elektra, The Doors are fired from The Whisky A Go Go ‘when [vocalist Jim] Morrison adds an explicit retelling and profanity laden version of the Greek myth of Oedipus during [The Doors’ song titled] “The End”.’ “I don’t think we were actually fired,” contends guitarist Robby Krieger. “We kept playing The Whisky after that.” (More on the controversial ‘The End’ will come later.)
Before recording their first album, vocalist Jim Morrison tells his colleagues in The Doors that he wants to use the stagename James Phoenix. Keyboardist Ray Manczarek gives the idea the curt response of “No way” and the matter is abandoned. By contrast, Ray’s own surname is altered from Manczarek (his birth-name) to Manzarek (without the ‘c’ between the ‘n’ and the ‘z’).
The Doors’ music is usually classified as psychedelic or acid rock – though some later works are correctly viewed as blues rock. The Doors’ musicians are no strangers to mind-altering substances such as LSD (a.k.a. acid). Psychedelic music sets out to sonically emulate the experience of taking such drugs. Typically, this is achieved via eccentric production effects, exotic instruments and lyrics that sound like nursery rhyme whimsy. However there is nothing whimsical about The Doors. ‘The Doors were dread.’ Acid rock is equally inadequate as a description of The Doors. Most acid rock acts really on corrosive guitar riffs and thundering beats that come close to setting the stage for heavy metal. The Doors’ music is more sophisticated and, if not exactly lighter, at least not so single-minded. The Doors’ sound is distinctive and virtually unique. Their ‘sound is dominated by [keyboardist Ray] Manzarek’s electric organ work and [vocalist Jim] Morrison’s deep, sonorous voice.’ Add to that guitarist Robby Krieger’s composite of flamenco, folk, blues and jazz tones and the ‘jazz-influenced’ drums of John Densmore and the result is a ‘band [that] sounds like no other.’
The composing credit for most of The Doors’ songs is given to the group as a whole. “It was real magical that combination of four people, that’s why we all got songwriting credit,” says drummer John Densmore. All songs referred to here are group compositions unless otherwise stated. Vocalist Jim Morrison reveals that, “In the beginning, I wrote most of the songs, the words and music. On each successive album, [guitarist] Robby [Krieger] contributed more songs…He [Robby] is more complex…and my thing is more in a blues vein: long, rambling, basic and primitive.” Krieger claims, “[I wrote] twenty-five per cent of the music” by The Doors. There are a few cover versions amongst The Doors’ total recordings, but the overwhelming majority of their catalogue is written by members of the band. It seems the usual pattern is for Jim Morrison to have some lyrics prepared that the group sets to music or he just makes up some words to fit whatever tune the musicians are working on. “Jim wanted to be known as a poet, first and foremost,” says Ray Manzarek. “[However] Jim, as just a spoken poet, was not that good. He needed the music behind him [even though] The Doors were never that good as musicians.” It appears to be normally Ray Manzarek who takes a leading role in putting together the arrangements – though John Densmore claims that, “My main thing beyond the drumming was arranging.” Fancying himself a sort of modern day shaman or medicine man, Morrison opens himself up to the muse or some higher power or external force and just lets the magic happen. Such an approach is a recipe for unevenness, but The Doors maintain a surprisingly high level of quality, whether this is attributed to their own innate skills or the gods smiling upon them. With Manzarek’s musical dominance, their songs are often constructed about a keyboard figure, but Krieger and Densmore are hardly passengers. All three of the musicians contribute strongly to the band’s output, and all three of them are in service to whatever spirits are animating their frontman, Jim Morrison. “Jim was our lead singer and focal point,” says Densmore, but Manzarek astutely notes, “Without any one member of the band, The Doors wouldn’t have been The Doors.”
The first recording released by The Doors is the single ‘Break On Through (To The Other Side)’ (US no. 126). It is issued on 1 January 1967. Ray Manzarek’s icy organ tones on this song play tag with Robby Krieger’s volcanic guitar. Jim Morrison’s vocal similarly transforms from deep and dark tones to the shout of a wild man: “You know the day destroys the night / Night divides the day / Try to run, try to hide / Break on through to the other side.” What was this ‘other side’? Could it be as simple as the evening time? Or was it the other side of existence, some sort of death or spiritual afterlife? Drummer John Densmore gives the song a bossa nova groove. The single’s relatively poor showing on the charts is, at least partly, attributed to the line “She gets high” discouraging radio airplay since it is a drug reference. However, Morrison mangles the line almost beyond recognition in one of his most unhinged vocal performances so there is some question about whether the ‘offending’ line is even audible to any but the most avid listeners.
The debut album, ‘The Doors’ (1967) (US no. 2), follows on 4 January, three days after their debut single. Like almost all The Doors’ albums, it is released on the Elektra record label. ‘The Doors’ is produced by Paul A. Rothchild, who also produces the next four albums by the band. The material on this disc was recorded over six days – 19-24 August 1966 – at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood. Larry Knechtel plays bass on five tracks on ‘The Doors’. (Knechtel goes on to play piano – not bass – on the 1970 Simon And Garfunkel hit ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ (US no. 1, UK no. 1) and is keyboardist for U.S. soft rock act Bread in 1972-1973.) The album cover shows the symbolically huge visage of vocalist Jim Morrison looming over the full figures of the rest of the band. “I hated that cover on the first album,” says Morrison, presumably irked at his own implied dominance. The Doors logo used on this album’s cover (and closely associated with the group in later decades) was designed by an Elektra Records assistant. ‘The Doors’ includes the (barely) earlier single ‘Break On Through (To The Other Side)’. However, it is this album’s second single, ‘Light My Fire’ (US no. 1, UK no. 49, AUS no. 16), that provides the group with their commercial breakthrough. It tops the U.S. singles chart for three weeks, 31 July 1967 to 14 August 1967. Although officially written by The Doors, it seems an open secret that ‘Light My Fire’ is primarily composed by guitarist Robby Krieger. He claims Morrison encouraged the rest of the band to write material because the singer did not have enough songs of his own to fill the album. ‘Light My Fire’ is, according to keyboardist Ray Manzarek, “the first song Robby Krieger ever wrote. What a genius he is.” On the album it is quite a lengthy piece (7:05), but much of the instrumental mid-section is edited out for the radio-friendly three minute single version. “You know that it would be untrue / You know that I would be a liar / If I was to say to you / Girl, we couldn’t get much higher / Come on, baby, light my fire / Try to set the night on fi-yah,” urges Jim Morrison. Ray Manzarek’s account of the origins of ‘Light My Fire’ continues, “And Robby’s only got one verse. He needs a second verse. And Morrison says, ‘Okay, let me think about it for a second.’ And Jim comes up with the classic line, ‘And Our love becomes a funeral pyre.’” (“The time to hesitate is through / Not time to wallow in the mire / Try now we could only lose / And our love become a funeral pyre.”) Larry Knechtel overdubs the bass part on ‘Light My Fire’. The song’s ‘sinister quality’ coupled with its commercial success makes this the classic Doors song. ‘The Crystal Ship’ (a track from the album used as the flipside to the ‘Light My Fire’ single) is appropriately delicate. The Doors demonstrate the breadth of their influences with cover versions on this album of both the 1961 blues song ‘Back Door Man’ by Howlin’ Wolf (written by Willie Dixon) and ‘Alabama Song’, a Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill composition from their 1930 opera ‘Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny’. Fittingly, ‘The End’ closes the album. This massive (11:41) piece is framed by Robby Krieger’s lingering guitar notes which, while lovely, are also as unsettling as caressing raw nerves. Morrison declares, “This is the end / Beautiful friend / This is the end / My only friend / The end / Of all elaborate plans / The end.” The singer tells an interviewer, “It started out as a simple goodbye song…probably just a girl…” According to Ray Manzarek, ‘The End’ was begun by Jim as a farewell to his first major love, Mary Werbelow. Viewed from a different angle, ‘The End’ can be seen as an ode to death. “At the point of death…I guess it is a friend,” muses Morrison. He considers ‘The End’ “sufficiently complex and universal in its imagery that it could be [about] almost anything you want it to be…Every time I hear [‘The End’] it means something else to me.” As the song meanders along, Jim Morrison’s questing lyrics refer to “weird scenes inside the goldmine” (later used as the title of a 1971 compilation album) and riding “the blue bus” to the coast. However, ‘The End’ is notorious for its ‘Oedipal drama.’ “Oedipus is a Greek myth. Sophocles wrote about it,” say Morrison in the manner of a school teacher. “It’s about a man who inadvertently killed his father and married his mother…I really don’t know what I was trying to say.” In Greek mythology, Oedipus (pronounced EE-di-pus) is the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes. Due to a dire prophecy, the infant is left to die on a mountainside. However, unknown to his parents, the babe is taken away and raised by shepherds. Returning to Thebes as an adult, Oedipus kills a stranger on the road. Arriving in the city he learns the king has recently died. Unaware of their relationship, Oedipus marries the bereaved Jocasta. When she learns that the stranger Oedipus killed was, in fact, King Laius and her new husband is actually her long lost son, Jocasta kills herself by hanging. Oedipus is also tormented by the tragic truth and blinds himself. Psychiatrist Sigmund Freud coins the term ‘Oedipus complex’ for a child’s unconscious desire for the parent of the opposite gender. When The Doors performed ‘The End’ at The Whisky A Go Go, the manager ‘threw Morrison out of his club.’ When recording the song, producer Paul Rothchild is ‘freaked out.’ In the spoken word interlude of ‘The End’, Morrison intones, “The killer awakes before dawn,” walks down a hallway and (at least on record) it goes like this: “Father? (Yes, son?), I want to kill you. Mother, I want to…waaugh!” Reportedly, ‘The End’ is mixed down to make Jim Morrison’s use of the word ‘f***’ unintelligible. ‘The End’ is ‘the first major statement of The Doors’ perennial themes: dread, violence, guilt without possibility of redemption, the miscarriages of love, and, most of all, death.’ As Robby Krieger puts it, “How can you possibly top ‘The End’?” ‘The Doors’ – the group’s debut album – stands as their best work. It is ‘one of the most exciting, ground-breaking recordings of the psychedelic era.’
‘Light My Fire’ enters the U.S. singles chart on 3 June 1967. A week later, on 10 June 1967, The Doors are on the bill for the two-day Fantasy Faire and Magic Mountain Fest in Mt. Tamalpais, California, alongside such performers as The Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds and Smokey Robinson. Also in June 1967, The Doors hire the management team of Asher Dunn and Sal Bonafede. ‘Light My Fire’ becomes a U.S. no. 1 single from 31 July 1967 to 14 August 1967.
On 17 September 1967 The Doors appear on the television variety program ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’. They perform ‘Light My Fire’ and the new single ‘People Are Strange’. The Doors are asked to change the line “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” in ‘Light My Fire’ to “Girl, we couldn’t get much better” to avoid what is taken to be a reference to drugs. The group consents – but vocalist Jim Morrison sings the original version anyway. The Doors are told they won’t be invited to perform on the show again due to this breach.
While in New York City for ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’, Doors vocalist Jim Morrison does a photo shoot with photographer Joel Brodsky from 17 September 1967 to 19 September 1967. These images – usually referred to as the ‘Young Lion’ photos – become one of the most famous portraits of Jim Morrison. When Morrison’s name is mentioned, this is the look that springs to mind since they are used extensively over subsequent years, particularly on latter day ‘Best Of’ and ‘Greatest Hits’ collections.
In 1967 The Doors meet Lynn Veres, a go-go dancer from New Jersey, at Ondine’s discotheque in New York. She has a brief fling with vocalist Jim Morrison and then gravitates towards Robby Krieger, becoming the guitarist’s girlfriend.
The Doors’ ‘original roots and support [were] in the underground but their debut album blows such considerations sky-high [making] them one of the top U.S. rock bands almost immediately.’ This change in status is also partially due to Jim Morrison’s good looks and charisma. He may have harboured pretensions to the intelligentsia – or at least the sybaritic fringes – but he was also appearing bare-chested in glossy magazines like ‘Hit Parader’ aimed at teenagers, he was striking Christ-like poses and wearing leather trousers. ‘Morrison exuded animal sexuality with a mere glance.’
The Doors’ second album is ‘Strange Days’ (1967) (US no. 3). It is released on 25 September, a little over eight months after their debut album. ‘Strange Days’ is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders from May to August 1967 in breaks between tours and gigs. Doug Lubahn plays bass on seven of the tracks on this disc. When it came to the album’s cover image, Doors vocalist Jim Morrison says, “Originally, I wanted us in a room surrounded by about thirty dogs but that was impossible.” Instead, the cover photo by Joel Brodsky (the same person behind the ‘Young Lion’ photo session with Jim Morrison) is a portrait of street performers and circus freaks in Sniffen Court in New York. A poster for The Doors is on the wall at the far right of the front cover. The group does not otherwise appear on the cover because, allegedly, they ‘weren’t talking to each other.’ The first single from ‘Strange Days’ is ‘People Are Strange’ (US no. 12). Although credited to The Doors collectively, ‘People Are Strange’ is said to be co-written by vocalist Jim Morrison and guitarist Robby Krieger. Over honky-tonk piano and throbbing bass lines, Jim Morrison sings, “People are strange / When you’re a stranger / Faces look ugly / When you’re alone / Women seem wicked / When you’re unwanted.” Listening to the vocalist, ‘you knew he felt the chill and lived it.’ More straightforward is the lusty ‘Love Me Two Times’ (US no. 25) in which Morrison demands, “Love me two times, baby / Love me twice today / Love me two times, girl / I’m goin’ away / Love me two times, girl / One for tomorrow / One just for today.” Robby Krieger’s intrusive guitar makes its presence felt with a libidinous charge. The album’s title track, ‘Strange Days’, features one of the earliest uses of a Moog synthesiser (a hi-tech keyboard) in rock music. Thematically, it is closer to ‘People Are Strange’. “Strange days / Have found us / Strange days / Have tracked us down,” warns Morrison. A disturbing vibration surrounds the tune…and is that a maniacal laugh buried in the mix? ‘When The Music’s Over’ is this album’s epic (10:55), a regimented rock march. “When the music’s over / Turn out the light,” urges Jim. As the music dies to barely more than a pulse beat, he again improvises word portraits of “a feast of friends” (which becomes the title of a 1969 Doors documentary film), “alive she cried” (used as the title of a 1983 album of vintage Doors’ performances) and – accompanied by a sepulchral echo – “We want the world / And we want it now!” “It’s one of my favourite songs,” says guitarist Robby Krieger of ‘When The Music’s Over’. The album ‘Strange Days’ it is said, ‘takes its listeners not only past such familiar landmarks of the youth odyssey as alienation and sex, but into symbolic realms of the unconscious – eerie night worlds filled with throbbing rhythms, shivery metallic tones, unsettling images.’
The recording of The Doors’ second album, ‘Strange Days’, is a tumultuous time for the group’s drummer John Densmore. He meets his future wife, Julia Brose, during that time. At the other end of the emotional spectrum, John’s brother Jim spends some time in a mental hospital around the same period.
On 9 December 1967 The Doors play a gig at the New Haven Arena in New Haven, Connecticut. Before the show commences, vocalist Jim Morrison is ‘making out with a girl backstage.’ This girl is journalist Patricia Kennealy of ‘Jazz and Pop’ magazine. One of the policemen providing security at the show fails to recognise Morrison and tells the couple to move on. “Eat it,” responds the singer. This prompts the cop to spray both Morrison and Kennealy with mace. Once The Doors take to the stage, Jim Morrison recounts the incident to the audience. He taunts the cops and ‘delivers a tirade.’ The police turn on the house lights and move in. Jim Morrison becomes the first rock star to be arrested on stage. He is charged with inciting a riot, indecency (presumably due to his ‘making out’ backstage) and public obscenity (because he swears in his storytelling on stage). The charges are dropped three weeks later due to lack of evidence.
On 21 December 1967 Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek marries his girlfriend Dorothy Fujikawa in Los Angeles. Doors vocalist Jim Morrison and his partner Pamela Courson are witnesses to the ceremony. Ray and Dorothy go on to have a son named Pablo. The marriage lasts for decades, only ending with Ray’s eventual demise.
The Doors’ 1967 no. 1 hit ‘Light My Fire’ re-enters the U.S. singles chart in 1968. The second time around, there is a much more modest chart placing for ‘Light My Fire’ (US no. 87).
In February 1968, Universal Studios offers The Doors five hundred thousand dollars to star in a feature film. The band also announces plans for a television special on the U.S. ABC Network, a ‘humour book’ by the whole group and a book of lyrics and poetry by frontman Jim Morrison. Of these four projects, the only one that actually materialises is the last one.
In March 1968 The Doors release a single titled ‘The Unknown Soldier’ (US no. 39). Kerry Magness plays bass on this track. ‘The Unknown Soldier’ appears to be a reaction to the war in Vietnam: “Unborn living, living dead / Bullet strikes the helmet’s head” and “It’s all over for the Unknown Soldier.” This is lent dramatic impact by sound effects of marching feet, a firing squad and gunshots.
Also in March 1968 The Doors begin work on their documentary film ‘A Feast of Friends’. (It will not be released until 5 June 1969.)
On 12 April 1968, ‘Life’ magazine in the U.S.A. publishes an article on The Doors that says of vocalist Jim Morrison, ‘[He] is 24 years old, out of UCLA, and he appears – in public and on his records – to be moody, temperamental, enchanted in the mind and extremely stoned on something.’
In April 1968 The Doors dismiss the management team of Asher Dunn and Sal Bonafede. “We had some managers we didn’t like and had to get rid of,” says guitarist Robby Krieger by way of explanation. Taking their place as manager of The Doors in April 1968 is Bill Siddons. He is increasingly assisted as time passes by a young Doors fan named Danny Sugerman.
In June 1968 The Doors release the single ‘Hello I Love You’ (US no. 1, UK no. 15). The song was written in 1965 by Doors vocalist Jim Morrison. It was first recorded by the pre-Doors act Rick & The Ravens on the 1965 demo tape that scored them a (brief) contract with Columbia Records. ‘Hello I Love You’ is one of the earliest singles released in stereo sound and boasts, ‘a more mainstream rock sound’ than earlier Doors hits. “Hello, I love you / Won’t you tell me your name?” asks Jim Morrison, before swatting away other potential suitors (or maybe upbraiding himself?) with such sentiments as, “Do you think you’ll be the guy / To make the queen of the angels sigh?” and “Do you hope to make her see you, fool? / Do you think to pluck this dusky jewel?” Ray Davies of British band The Kinks sues The Doors for ‘Hello I Love You’ being a ‘rip-off’ of The Kinks’ 1964 hit ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ (UK no. 2, US no. 7, AUS no. 18). The result is that all U.K. royalties from ‘Hello I Love You’ go to Davies instead of Morrison. The Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger feels that ‘Hello I Love You’ is more based on another U.K. hit, Cream’s 1967 song ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ (UK no. 25, US no. 5, AUS no. 18).
The Doors’ third album, ‘Waiting For The Sun’ (1968) (US no. 1, UK no. 16), is released on 3 July. The material on this set was recorded at TTG Studios in Hollywood from January 1968 to May 1968. Only one song on this album, ‘My Wild Love’, is recorded without a bass player. The bulk of the bass work is performed by Doug Lubahn. The only exceptions are ‘The Unknown Soldier’ (with bass by Kerry Magness) and ‘Spanish Caravan’ (where Leroy Vinnegar – as well as Doug Lubahn – plays bass). ‘Waiting For The Sun’ includes the previously released singles ‘The Unknown Soldier’ and ‘Hello I Love You’. When working on this album, The Doors plan to record an ambitious piece called ‘The Celebration Of The Lizard’ but they can’t get it to work. The inner sleeve shows the full libretto of ‘The Celebration Of The Lizard’, but the only part that makes it onto this disc is a song called ‘Not To Touch The Earth’. It’s a chilling chant like some kind of sorcerous incantation set to a rock beat. At its conclusion, vocalist Jim Morrison pronounces, “I am the Lizard King / I can do anything.” ‘Not To Touch The Earth’ is credited to Jim Morrison as sole author and ‘The Lizard King’ seems to be a kind of alter ego for him. (The full ‘Celebration Of The Lizard’ turns up later on the concert recording ‘Absolutely Live’ (1970).) Guitarist Robby Krieger gets to play some acoustic flamenco guitar on ‘Spanish Caravan’. ‘Five To One’ is another Jim Morrison composition. In his most guttural voice, Morrison utters the lyrics over Ray Manzarek’s ominous keyboards and Robby Krieger provides a dirty guitar solo. A title track, ‘Waiting For The Sun’, is left off this album but appears instead two albums later. This absentee is also written by Jim Morrison. The Doors performed a number of takes for the songs on this album due to producer Paul Rothchild’s perfectionism. This trait is ‘becoming an issue for the band.’ On the other hand, guitarist Robby Krieger sees this album as “when the liquor really started to be a problem” for frontman Jim Morrison.
‘Hello I Love You’ tops the U.S. singles chart for two weeks, 3 August 1968 to 10 August 1968. Following ‘Light My Fire’ the previous year, ‘Hello I Love You’ is The Doors’ second – and final – U.S. no. 1 single.
On 3 September 1968 The Doors arrive in London for their first U.K. performances. The band’s European tour begins with shows at London venue The Roundhouse on 6 September 1968 and 7 September 1968. The Doors are joined for these gigs by fellow U.S. band The Jefferson Airplane. The Doors are the opening act for Jefferson Airplane on 6 September 1968; The Jefferson Airplane is the opening act for The Doors on 7 September 1968. The Doors’ final show on their European tour is in Stockholm, Sweden, on 21 September 1968. On23 September 1968 Doors vocalist Jim Morrison meets British group The Beatles at Abbey Road Studios in London before he returns to the U.S.A. On 6 October 1968 a documentary, ‘The Doors are Open’, screens on British television in celebration of the country’s recent showbiz visitors.
In October 1968 The Doors’ 1967 hit ‘Light My Fire’ is optioned for use in an advertisement for a Buick motor vehicle. When he learns of this, vocalist Jim Morrison vetoes the deal and the licence for use of the song is not granted.
‘By early 1969, [Jim Morrison] the formerly svelte singer [from The Doors] has gained weight [and has] begun dressing more casually – abandoning the leather pants…’
On 1 March 1969 The Doors play a gig at The Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove, Florida. The ‘allegedly intoxicated’ lead singer of the group, Jim Morrison, is said to have called out to the crowd, “You wanna see my c*ck?” Morrison is then said to have exposed himself on stage to the twelve thousand people in the audience. On 4 April 1969 Morrison is ‘charged with committing a felony (lewd and lascivious behaviour) and three misdemeanours (indecent exposure, open profanity and drunkenness).’ According to the Court, he ‘did lewdly and lasciviously expose his penis, place his hands upon the penis and shake it, and further the said defendant did simulate the acts of masturbation upon himself and oral copulation upon another [i.e. guitarist Robby Krieger].’ The rest of The Doors contradict this story. In their version of events, Jim Morrison had been soaked in champagne so he removed his wet shirt. The singer then held his shirt in front of his groin and made hand movements behind it. This may not be much better, but the difference could be crucial legally. With these charges hanging over the group, twenty-five tour dates are cancelled and the band is blacklisted from radio airplay. The Doors abandon this tour. Drummer John Densmore estimates it cost The Doors “a million dollars in gigs.”
‘Throughout 1968 (the previous year), Jim Morrison’s behaviour became increasingly erratic: he began drinking heavily and distanced himself from recording studio work to focus on his more immediate passions, poetry and film making.’
Two volumes of Jim Morrison’s poetry are published in 1969. These books are ‘The Lords/Notes on Vision’ (1969) and ‘The New Creatures’ (1969). They are later combined into one volume under the title ‘The Lords and the New Creatures’.
‘A Feast of Friends’ (1969), a forty minute documentary on The Doors made by the band and their friends, premieres on 5 June 1969 at the Los Angeles Cinematheque 16. The film is part of a fund-raising benefit for writer Norman Mailer’s (unsuccessful) attempt to become mayor of New York City. Doors vocalist Jim Morrison also gives a poetry reading on the night.
By this time, Jim Morrison is struggling with anxiety and considers quitting The Doors. Keyboardist Ray Manzarek convinces his troubled frontman to at least finish the album the group is working on.
‘The Soft Parade’ (1969) (US no. 6), the fourth album by The Doors, is released on 21 July. It was recorded from July 1968 to May 1969 at the (newly established) Elektra Sound Recorders in Los Angeles. Bassists are employed on all tracks; Harvey Brooks and Doug Lubahn divide the album between them. Most of ‘The Soft Parade’ was recorded after a ‘gruelling’ tour and The Doors had little time to write new material. Vocalist Jim Morrison is less involved in the songwriting than usual due to ‘personal issues.’ Consequently, guitarist Robby Krieger shoulders more of the load when it comes to composing the songs for this set. ‘The Soft Parade’ is further distinguished by producer Paul Rothchild adding brass and strings to many tracks, lending the group a noticeably different sound. Three songs from ‘The Soft Parade’ are released as singles before the parent album is issued. All of them are written by Robby Krieger. The most commercially successful song from this album, ‘Touch Me’ (US no. 3, AUS no. 10), was released in December 1968. This song is adorned with a string section, horns and a saxophone solo by Curtis Amy. Trumpets blare as Morrison sings, “Come on, come on, come on / Touch me, babe / Can’t you see that I am not afraid.” March 1969 saw the release of ‘Wishful Sinful’ (US no. 44) as a single. Guitar flourishes colour the verses of the song, while the chorus flowers into soaring strings. A woodwind section is also added. ‘Tell All The People’ (US no. 57), the June 1969 single, has a galumphing brass intro, delicate piano verses and a brassy chorus. ‘Tell All The People’ also includes a line saying, “Get your guns.” Vocalist Jim Morrison was so troubled by what he saw as a possible incitement to violence, that he insisted on individual songwriting credits on this album so that everyone would know he didn’t write that line. One more song is lifted as a single from ‘The Soft Parade’ after the album’s release, ‘Runnin’ Blue’ (US no. 64). Not only is this song written by Robby Krieger, the guitarist also provides lead vocals on the almost-country sections of the song (Jim Morrison still handles the verses). Aside from the oddball fiddle sounds, ‘Runnin’ Blue’ has an eccentric mix of brass and Ray Manzarek’s keyboards. ‘The Soft Parade’ is viewed as being aimed at the ‘pop market,’ which means it is less favourably regarded by The Doors’ original ‘underground’ fan base – particularly distasteful to them is the use of horns and strings. Although it has probably improved with age, ‘The Soft Parade’ is ‘widely considered the group’s weakest effort’ while Jim Morrison was still in the band. It is described as ‘an all-time low’ that suffers from ‘lightweight chart-style material and a lack of direction.’
The Doors is one of the acts that play at the Seattle Pop Festival in Woodenville, Washington, a three-day event that starts on 25 July 1969. Ironically, The Doors miss out on playing at the Woodstock Festival in Bethel, New York, on 15-17 August 1969 (the most iconic of all rock festivals) because Doors vocalist Jim Morrison is ‘paranoid that someone will take a shot at him as he performs onstage.’ The Doors go on to play the Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival Concert in Toronto, Canada, on 13 September 1969. With many traditional venues still closed to the band due to the furore after the Florida gig in March, The Doors play shows in Las Vegas and Mexico City.
Jim Morrison’s partner Pamela Courson runs a fashion boutique called Themis from 1969 to 1971. (Themis is the goddess of light and beauty from ancient Greek mythology.)
On 11 November 1969 Doors vocalist Jim Morrison and his friend Tom Baker catch a jet flight from Los Angeles to Phoenix, Arizona, to see a concert by visiting British rock band The Rolling Stones. The drunken Morrison pesters a female flight attendant and finds himself charged with the (relatively new) crime of skyjacking. Morrison is jailed for ‘interfering with the flight of an intercontinental aircraft and public drunkenness.’ The singer faces the potential penalty of a ten thousand dollar fine and a possible ten-year prison sentence. The flight attendant withdraws her accusation and all charges are dropped.
The Doors’ fifth album, ‘Morrison Hotel’ (1970) (US no. 4, UK no. 12, AUS no. 4), is released on 9 February. The bulk of the album is recorded from November 1969 to January 1970 at Elektra Sound Recorders, though a couple of tracks date back to August 1966 and March 1968. Guitarist Lonnie Mack plays bass on two tracks, but most of the bass work on this set is provided by Ray Neapolitan. ‘Morrison Hotel’ is divided into ‘Hard Rock Café’ (Side A) and ‘Morrison Hotel’ (Side B). The album’s cover photo by Henry Diltz – showing the band members behind window glass stencilled ‘Morrison Hotel’ – is taken at the actual Morrison Hotel (no connection to Doors vocalist Jim Morrison) at 1246 Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles. Similarly, the back cover shot is of the Hard Rock Café at nearby 300 East 5th Street – which is now a convenience store. The Hard Rock Café is the inspiration for the otherwise unrelated Hard Rock Café franchise of eateries. This global operation starts in the U.K. in 1971 and then spreads to other countries – including the U.S.A. The Doors’ fifth album is seen as a move back to basics, with a slight shift towards more blues-oriented material. The single from ‘Morrison Hotel’ is ‘You Make Me Real’ backed with ‘Roadhouse Blues’ (US no. 50, AUS no. 26). Written by vocalist Jim Morrison, ‘You Make Me Real’ is a wild and exuberant effort pairing his throaty vocal with some gutsy guitar by Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek’s honky-tonk piano. ‘You Make Me Real’ shares its “Roll, baby, roll” refrain with its flipside. It is actually ‘Roadhouse Blues’ that receives more attention and is better remembered historically. The lyrics to ‘Roadhouse Blues’ are penned by Jim Morrison; the music is the collective work of The Doors. Lonnie Mack plays bass on ‘Roadhouse Blues’ and the song’s harmonica part is played by John Sebastian of U.S. folk rock act The Lovin’ Spoonful (under the alias of G. Puglese). The rough guitar, piano and harmonica coalesce with Morrison’s earthy vocal as he growls, “Well, I woke up this morning / Got myself a beer” and then urges, “Keep your eyes on the road / Your hands upon the wheel.” The first of the two older tracks on ‘Morrison Hotel’, ‘Indian Summer’ (co-written by Morrison and Krieger), was recorded in August 1966. The other historical addition is Jim Morrison’s ‘Waiting For The Sun’ from March 1968, the ‘lost’ title track of The Doors’ third album. On this song Morrison poetically declaims, “At first flash of Eden / We raced down to the sea / Standing there on freedom’s shore / Waiting for the sun.” Ray Manzarek’s keyboards on this song are positively iridescent. ‘Morrison Hotel’ is considered to be ‘a carnival of crude delights.’
Obviously yet to learn his lesson from his 1969 arrest for indecent exposure, after a power failure at a Doors concert in Boston on 10 April 1970, vocalist Jim Morrison asks the audience if “anyone wants to see my genitals.” Even the other Doors are losing patience with their wayward frontman. Drummer John Densmore says that, when on tour with Jim, “Sometimes I felt like I was on an airplane with a lunatic.” Guitarist Robby Krieger looks back on his frustration and says, “We had the group which we all knew had the potential to be something really big, and Jim was trying to sabotage it by f***ing up at every turn.”
In June 1970 Jim Morrison exchanges marriage vows with journalist Patricia Kennealy in a Celtic handfasting ceremony. However, because it is a pagan ceremony it is not recognised as legally binding. That does not stop the female participant from subsequently using the name of Patricia Kennealy-Morrison.
‘Absolutely Live’ (1970) (US no. 8, UK no. 69, AUS no. 20), the first concert recording by The Doors, is released on 20 July. The material on this disc is drawn from ‘many shows’ in the period July 1969 to May 1970, including a two-night stand at the Felt Forum in New York on 17 & 18 January 1970. ‘Absolutely Live’ is notable for containing the only full recording of ‘The Celebration Of The Lizard’, the epic The Doors failed to fully translate to disc on ‘Waiting For The Sun’ (1968) including only ‘Not To Touch The Earth’ at that time.
The Doors appear at the Isle of Wight Pop Festival in England held from 26 August to 31 August 1970. Vocalist Jim Morrison has to obtain special permission to travel overseas for this show because he still has charges against him.
The afore-mentioned charges relate to the allegations of indecent exposure and associated wrong-doing by Jim Morrison at The Doors’ Florida gig on 1 March 1969. On 20 September 1970 a jury in Miami acquits Morrison of ‘lewd and lascivious behaviour’ (the felony charge) and public drunkenness. However, he is convicted of profanity and public exposure. As the police photo on 20 September 1970 shows, by this time Jim Morrison is sporting a heavy beard. On 30 October 1970, Judge Murray Goodman sentences Jim Morrison to six months in prison and a fine of five hundred dollars. The singer is freed on a bond of fifty thousand dollars. A rueful Morrison says, “I think subconsciously I was trying to get across in that concert, I was trying to reduce it to absurdity. And it worked too well.” An appeal against the sentence is lodged.
On 12 November 1970, Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore appear on stage at The Warehouse in New Orleans. Although they do not know it at the time, this is fated to be the last show by The Doors. This is a performance ‘with a gibberish-spouting Morrison.’ Drummer John Densmore recalls watching Morrison ‘lose all his energy’ as the show drags to a conclusion. “I saw him bloat up the last few years and drink a lot,” says Densmore. After the gig, The Doors agree to stop touring.
‘13’ (1970) (US no. 25), the first compilation of The Doors’ hits and best-known songs, is released on 30 November.
On 8 December 1970 Doors vocalist Jim Morrison celebrates his 27th birthday by recording a recitation of his own poetry. Parts of this session later surface on the album ‘An American Prayer’ (1978). The same title is used for another volume of Jim’s poems and lyrics, ‘An American Prayer’ (1970), published by Western Lithographies.
The year of 1970 has been a bad one for rock stars. Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix died in August and blues shouter Janis Joplin died in October. Both Hendrix and Joplin were aged 27. Jim Morrison of The Doors, just turned 27, informs his friends, “You’re drinking with number three.” Morrison is in rough shape. He ‘has developed a serious drinking problem. It is damaging his voice, bloating his body, and causing tensions in the band.’ Partly, the change in Morrison’s appearance is due to him trying to be taken seriously as an artist and wanting to disassociate himself from star-struck teenage devotees. No longer is he the sex symbol of 1967; he is bearded, gruff-voiced and has a body shaped like a barrel.
In 1970 Doors drummer John Densmore marries Julia Brose, the woman he met while The Doors were recording their second album, ‘Strange Days’ (1967).
Doors guitarist Robby Krieger marries his girlfriend, Lynn Veres, on 26 December 1970. She is a former go-go dancer whom Robby met in 1967. Robby and Lynn go on to have a son named Waylon (born on 5 September 1973). The marriage lasts for decades.
The Doors record the material for their next album from December 1970 to January 1971. With that task completed, the group’s vocalist Jim Morrison takes ‘a leave of absence’ from The Doors beginning on 13 March 1971. Morrison goes to Paris, France, where he joins his partner, Pamela Courson, who is already in that European city.
The Doors’ album ‘L.A. Woman’ (1971) (US no. 9, UK no. 28, AUS no. 9) is released on 19 April. Paul Rothchild, the producer of The Doors’ previous albums is present at the start of the recording sessions for this disc, but he quits ‘following friction with [the] band.’ Bruce Botnick, who had been sound engineer on the earlier Doors albums, co-produces this set with the group. ‘L.A. Woman’ is recorded at The Doors Workshop in a two storey building at 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, California. The sessions have a more relaxed feel than if they had been conducted in a more professional studio. Jim Morrison records his vocals in the bathroom doorway. Guitarist Robby Krieger explains, “[Producer Paul] Rothchild had gone, which is one reason why we had so much fun. The warden was gone.” ‘L.A. Woman’ is the first Doors album on which Jim Morrison is shown with a beard on the cover. On these recordings, the four members of The Doors are augmented by Marc Benno (rhythm guitar) and Jerry Scheff (bass). The first single from the album, ‘Love Her Madly’ (US no. 11, AUS no. 6), is released in March 1971, one month before the parent disc. ‘Love Her Madly’ is written by guitarist Robby Krieger. “I wrote it about Lynn [Veres],” says Robby, referring to his new wife, a former go-go dancer. ‘Love Her Madly’ is rather pop-oriented (it is The Doors’ biggest hit in Australia), but Jim Morrison’s vocals are deep and ravaged: “Don’t you love her madly / As she’s walkin’ out the door.” Ray Manzarek’s honky-tonk piano seems to keep pace with her. One of The Doors’ best known songs, ‘Riders On The Storm’ (US no. 14, UK no. 22, AUS no. 10), also comes from this album. Robby Krieger says this group composition was inspired by the band messing about with ‘(Ghost) Riders In The Sky’, the 1948 haunted country music song written by Stan Jones that was first recorded by Vaughan Monroe in 1949. By the time The Doors put together ‘Riders On The Storm’ it sounds like an evocation of the veritable Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, their presence conjured up amid sound effects of thunder while Ray Manzarek’s keyboards tinkle like raindrops. “Riders on the storm / Riders on the storm / Into this world were born / Into this world were thrown,” vocalist Jim Morrison mutters darkly. After recording the main vocal, Morrison goes back and whispers the same lyrics over the top of the main vocal, lending the song its eerie, phantasmal sound. This is actually the last vocal Morrison records for the album. Another line in ‘Riders On The Storm’ points out, “There’s a killer on the road / His brain is squirming like a toad.” Allegedly this is a reference to Billy Cook who killed six people during a twenty-two day rampage through Missouri and California in 1950-1951. The speedy title track, ‘L.A. Woman’ (written by Jim Morrison), pictures Los Angeles embodied as a female, a “lucky little lady in the city of light.” Morrison pledges his fealty: “If they said I never loved you / You know they are a liar.” He goes on to recount episodes of “motel, money, murder, madness” as he goes “Driving down your freeway / Midnight alleys roam / Cops in cars, topless bars / Never saw a woman so alone.” As the song eases back, the singer introduces another alternate identity, ‘Mr Mojo Risin’’. ‘Mojo’ is a term suggesting mystic or sexual potency, a word derived from blues music and its superstitious antecedents. ‘Mr Mojo Risin’’ is also an anagram of ‘Jim Morrison.’ ‘L.A. Woman’ contains ‘some of The Doors’ most blues-oriented songs.’ Perhaps the best example of this is Jim Morrison’s composition, ‘Been Down So Long’ – ‘a conventional blues song.’ Over a trudging beat, Morrison’s lived-in vocal claims, “I’ve been down so very damn long / That it looks like up to me.” Guitarist Robby Krieger says, “I’m glad that ‘L.A. Woman’ was our last album…It really captured what we were about. The first record [‘The Doors’ (1967)] did too, but ‘L.A. Woman’ is more loose. It’s live – it sounds like a rehearsal. It’s pure Doors.”
When ‘L.A. Woman’ is released, Doors frontman Jim Morrison is in Paris, France, with his partner Pamela Courson. They rent an apartment on Rue Beautreillis. ‘Wearied and disillusioned,’ Morrison is weighed down by his legal hassles, problems with alcohol and a general malaise…or so goes one interpretation. There is a partly contradictory legend that Jim shaves his beard and loses at least some of the excess weight he has accumulated. Was he in despair or was he getting his act together? It’s impossible to know for sure. On 3 July 1971 (ironically, the same date on which The Doors’ ‘Riders On The Storm’ enters the U.S. singles chart), Pamela Courson finds Jim Morrison dead in their Paris bathtub. He was 27 years old. The official cause of death is listed as heart failure. No autopsy is performed because such a procedure is not required under French law.
Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek says, “When I got the call to say Jim had died in Paris I refused to take it seriously. Our manager, Bill Siddons, flew to Paris to establish the truth – but by the time he got there Jim had been buried. The coroner said that death was due to a haemorrhage brought on by a heart attack which was caused by taking a too-hot bath after a heavy drinking spree.” Doors guitarist Robby Krieger says, “I thought he [i.e. Jim Morrison] would never die. I thought he’d outlive everybody…He seemed invulnerable.”
On 9 July 1971 Jim Morrison is buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. This is also where writer Oscar Wilde, composer Frederic Chopin and singer Edith Piaf are interred. Doors manager Bill Siddons releases the news to the press justifying the delay of nearly a week from Morrison’s death by saying that those closest to the late singer wished to avoid the circus-like atmosphere that surrounded the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
At the time of his death, an appeal against Jim Morrison’s conviction on charges of profanity and indecent exposure was still to be decided in court. With the demise of the defendant, the case is abandoned.
Surprisingly, the three surviving members of The Doors – Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore – decide to keep the band going. Iggy Pop of The Stooges is considered as a replacement for Jim Morrison but, instead, the group continues as a three-piece band, sharing the vocals amongst the existing members.
‘Other Voices’ (1971) (US no. 31) is released on 18 October. This album is co-produced by The Doors and Bruce Botnick. The bass-playing on this set is divided amongst Jerry Scheff, Jack Conrad, Wolfgang Melz, Ray Neapolitan and Willie Ruff. Without the late Jim Morrison, three of the album’s eight tracks have lead vocals by keyboardist Ray Manzarek; the other five songs are sung by guitarist Robby Krieger. The single from ‘Other Voices’ is ‘Tightrope Ride’ (US no. 71), a track co-written by Manzarek and Krieger with Ray Manzarek on vocals. On this rhythm and blues raver, Manzarek bawls, “You’re all alone, like a rolling stone / Like Brian Jones, on a tightrope ride.” (Brian Jones, the guitarist for The Rolling Stones, had died in 1969. Like Jim Morrison, he was 27 years old when he died.) ‘Other Voices’ is described as ‘a good deal better than anyone had any right to expect.’
‘Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine’ (1972) (US no. 55, UK no. 50), released on 24 January, is a double album collection of The Doors’ past triumphs. The title is a line from ‘The End’, the closing track on the group’s debut album, ‘The Doors’ (1967).
‘Full Circle’ (1972) (US no. 68), released on 17 July, is the second album by the three-piece version of The Doors. The group produce this disc themselves. Four bassists are used for this album: Jack Conrad, Chris Ethridge, Charlie Larkey and Leland Sklar. The single from ‘Full Circle’ is the group composition ‘The Mosquito’ (US no. 85). This is a goofy piece of Mexicana with a semi-Spanish vocal: “No me moleste mosquito / Why don’t you go home?” (‘No me moleste’ translates to ‘Do not bother me’.) ‘The Mosquito’ has a long instrumental section and turns into a rockin’ rave-up. ‘Full Circle’ incorporates elements of funk and jazz into The Doors’ sound as well.
Doors drummer John Densmore splits up with his wife, Julia Brose, in 1972. She subsequently becomes involved with Berry Oakley of The Allman Brothers Band (1972) before marrying Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night (1976-1985).
On 30 August 1973 it is reported that The Doors have broken up. Guitarist Robby Krieger recalls that keyboardist “Ray [Manzarek] just kinda said, ‘Look, I’m outta here, I’m getting tired of this, it’s not working.’ So we gave up. [Drummer] John [Densmore] and I were trying to make it work. Would we have carried on? Yeah, for sure.” Manzarek says, “We didn’t have [vocalist Jim] Morrison. What can I tell you?…We did the best we could…Nobody else in the band had the charisma of Morrison…”
The compilation album ‘The Best Of The Doors’ (1973) (US no. 158) is released on 10 September.
Pamela Courson, the former partner of the late Doors vocalist Jim Morrison, dies of a heroin overdose on 25 April 1974. Like Morrison, she was 27 years old when she died. Her grave shows her name as ‘Pamela Susan Morrison,’ even though she and Jim never legally wed.
Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek releases two solo albums: ‘The Golden Scarab’ (1974) and ‘The Whole Thing Started With Rock ‘N’ Roll, Now It’s Out Of Control’ (1975). Ray then forms a band called Nite City (1977-1978). The members of this group are: Noah James (vocals), Paul Warren (guitar, vocals), Ray Manzarek (keyboards, vocals), Nigel Harrison (bass) and Jimmy Hunter (drums, vocals). Note: Bassist Nigel Harrison is later a member of new wave band Blondie (1979-1982). Nite City release two albums: ‘Nite City’ (1977) and ‘Golden Days, Diamond Nights’ (1978).
Former members of The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger and John Densmore work together again in The Butts Band (1973-1975). The founding line-up of this act is: Jess Roden (vocals), Robby Krieger (guitar), Roy Davies (keyboards), Phil Chen (bass) and John Densmore (drums). This version of the group makes the debut album ‘The Butts Band’ (1974). The Butts Band is an Anglo-American outfit (Roden, Davies and Chen are from the U.K.), but this proves to be a bit unworkable in practice. After a membership reshuffle, the second edition of The Butts Band is all American: Michael Stull (vocals, guitar), Robby Krieger (guitar), Alex Richman (keyboards, vocals), Karl ‘Slick’ Ruckner (bass), John Densmore (drums) and Mike Berkowitz (drums and percussion). The revised version of The Butts Band issues ‘Hear And Now’ (1975) before breaking up.
Around 1975, former Doors drummer John Densmore marries his second wife, Debbie Fife. John and Debbie have a daughter together, but the name and date of birth of this girl do not appear to be public knowledge. John and Debbie’s marriage lasts eight years so it ends in approximately 1983.
Former Doors guitarist Robby Krieger releases the album ‘Robby Krieger And Friends’ (1977).
Jim Densmore, the brother of former Doors drummer John Densmore, commits suicide in 1978. Jim Densmore had a history of mental health problems including a stay in a mental hospital in 1967.
‘An American Prayer’ (1978) (US no. 50, UK no. 24, AUS no. 34), released on 27 November, is credited to The Doors but the story behind this disc is a bit more complicated than that simple designation suggests. During his lifetime, the late Doors vocalist Jim Morrison recorded recitations of some of his poetry (e.g. the recording session late in 1970 on Jim’s 27th birthday). Those spoken word recordings are set to music for this project by the three surviving members of The Doors. ‘Ghost Song’ (AUS no. 48) from this album is issued as a single. Over a funky bass and a noodling jazzy background, Jim Morrison’s words float past like some kind of guided meditation. The imagery in ‘Ghost Song’ includes (American) Indians bleeding by the highway, recalling the incident Morrison witnessed as a child that he believed was so influential to him. ‘An American Prayer’ is co-produced by John Haeny, Frank Lisciandro and the three remaining members of The Doors.
The Doors 1967 song ‘The End’ is used prominently in Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War drama ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979). Music industry executives consider this to be the event that triggers a renewed interest in The Doors. Momentum is added by the publication of the Jim Morrison biography ‘No One Here Gets Out Alive’ (1980) written by Jerry Hopkins with former Doors manager Danny Sugerman. In its wake, ‘every album in The Doors’ catalogue…doubles or triples its sales in 1980 over the previous year.’ Similarly, the compilation album ‘The Doors Greatest Hits’ (1980) (US no. 17), released on 13 October, performs well on the U.S. album chart. By 1981, U.S. rock magazine ‘Rolling Stone’ has Jim Morrison on the cover with the blurb ‘He’s hot, he’s sexy, he’s dead.’ Former Doors drummer John Densmore remarks on the surge of interest in his old band, “It isn’t like it stopped for ten years, but in the last few years, it’s a big business again.” A concert recording, ‘Alive She Cried’ (1983) (US no. 23, UK no. 36), is released on 17 October. This contains historical live performances by The Doors from 1968 to 1970 in such locations as New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Boston – and Copenhagen in Denmark. A cover version of ‘Gloria’ (US no. 71), a song originally recorded in 1964 by Van Morrison’s band Them, is lifted as a single from this album. ‘Alive she cried’ is a line from The Doors’ 1967 song ‘When The Music’s Over’. ‘In the mid-1980s, Morrison was as big a star as he’d been in the mid-1960s.’ The compilation album ‘The Doors Classics’ (1985) (US no. 124) in May is followed by a two-CD compilation on 20 July, ‘The Best Of The Doors’ (1985) (US no. 32, UK no. 9, AUS no. 17). ‘Live At The Hollywood Bowl’ (1987) (US no. 154, UK no. 51), released in May, is a recording of The Doors concert at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on 5 July 1968. The revival of interest in The Doors over the last decade reaches a climax with the release of Oliver Stone’s biographical movie ‘The Doors’ (1991) on 1 March. The actors portraying the key figures in the saga are: Val Kilmer (as Jim Morrison), Kyle MacLachlan (as Ray Manzarek), Frank Whaley (as Robby Krieger), Kevin Dillon (as John Densmore) and Meg Ryan (as Pamela Courson). The film also spawns ‘The Doors: Original Soundtrack Recording’ (1991) (US no. 8, UK no. 11, AUS no. 11) on 5 March which features The Doors’ original recordings of the songs in the film. ‘Light My Fire’ (UK no. 7), The Doors’ 1967 hit, enters the British singles chart in 1991 – and this re-release becomes the group’s belated all-time biggest U.K. hit. Not everyone is pleased with Oliver Stone’s movie though. Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek grumbles, “The Doors movie is a pack of lies.” After ‘In Concert’ (1991) (US no. 50, UK no. 24, AUS no. 34), released on 21 May, the pace of The Doors revival slows down a bit. ‘In Concert’ is drawn from a ‘variety of different concerts’ from 1968 to 1970.
The Doors renaissance of the 1980s leaves Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore relatively untouched. For the most part, they continue to pursue their own individual paths.
Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek releases the solo album ‘Carmina Burana’ (1983). However, Manzarek’s next work is a written memoir, ‘Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors’ (1988).
Former Doors guitarist Robby Krieger collaborates with a group called Acid Casualties for the album ‘Panic Station’ (1982). Krieger follows this with a series of jazz fusion solo albums: ‘Version’ (1982), ‘Robby Krieger’ (1985), ‘No Habla’ (1989) and ‘Door Jams’ (1989) – though the last named hints at his history.
Former Doors drummer John Densmore moves out of music in general to mainly concentrate on working as an actor, either on stage or in movies and television shows. John Densmore’s credits are: appearing in two episodes of the CBS television show ‘Square Pegs’ in 1982; the movie ‘Get Crazy’ (1983); ‘Skins’ (1984), a one-act play written by Densmore in which he also stars, that is staged at La Mama Theatre; John Densmore writes the music for ‘Methusalem’ (1985), a play directed by actor Tim Robbins; Densmore co-produces the stage play ‘Rounds’ (1987); ‘Dudes’ (1987), a film directed by Penelope Spheeris; Densmore develops and performs the one-man stage show ‘The King of Jazz’ (1989) about the life of Donald Barthelme; a small role in Oliver Stone’s film ‘The Doors’ (1991); the stage show ‘Be Bop a Lula’ (1992) with fellow rock veteran Adam Ant; and an appearance in an episode of the television show ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ in 1992. Like Ray Manzarek, John Densmore also writes a book about his history with The Doors, ‘Riders on the Storm’ (1990).
In 1990 John Densmore marries his third wife, documentary film-maker Leslie Frances Neale. John and Leslie go on to have a daughter together, Luka (born in 1992). John Densmore’s marriage to Leslie Neale ends in divorce in 2006.
The Doors are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. When they perform on the occasion, the three surviving members are accompanied by Eddie Vedder (vocals) (from Pearl Jam) and Don Was (bass) (from Was Not Was).
In the 1990s The Doors’ history is revisited with the following albums: ‘The Doors Greatest Hits’ (1996) (UK no. 185), released on 15 October [this is a CD edition of the 1980 vinyl LP of the same name]; The Doors are amongst the multiple recording artists contributing to the film soundtrack for ‘Message Of Love: The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970’ (1996), released by Legacy Records on 29 October; ‘The Doors: Box Set’ (1997) (US no. 65, UK no. 194); and ‘Essential Rarities’ (1999).
Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek releases two albums in the 1990s and both are collaborations with poets where Manzarek provides music behind their spoken word performances: ‘Love Lion’ (1993) with Michael McClure; and ‘Freshly Dug’ (1999) with Darryl Read.
Former Doors guitarist Robby Krieger starts playing in The Robby Krieger Organisation in the early 1990s. The other two members of this band are Skip Van Winkle (keyboards, bass) and Dale Alexander (drums). This outfit is supplanted by The Robby Krieger Band (1991-1998) whose line-up sees Krieger joined by: Waylon Krieger (guitar) [Robby’s son], Dale Alexander (keyboards), Berry Oakley, Jr. (bass) and Ray Mehlbaum (drums).
In 2002 The Doors Of The 21st Century comes into existence. This project reunites Ray Manzarek (keyboards) and Robby Krieger (guitar). They work with Ian Astbury (vocals) (from The Cult). Former Doors drummer John Densmore gets into a legal dispute with Manzarek and Krieger about the rights to use the name The Doors Of The 21st Century. This leads to the act changing its name to Riders On The Storm, then Ray Manzarek And Robby Krieger Of The Doors and, finally, Manzarek-Krieger. For a brief time, Stewart Copeland (drums) (from The Police) works with them. John Densmore writes another book, ‘The Doors Unhinged’ (2013), about his litigation against Manzarek and Krieger.
Aside from touring with The Doors Of The 21st Century (or whatever name they are using) to play the hits of the original Doors, Ray Manzarek’s creative works in this era are: a novel called ‘The Poet in Exile’ (2001) which imagines what would have happened had Jim Morrison lived; a second novel ‘Snake Moon’ (2006) which is a Civil War ghost story; the solo album ‘Love Her Madly’ (2006); ‘Atonal Head’ (2006) with Bal (a.k.a. trumpet player Piotr Bal); ‘Bleeding Paradise’ (2007) with poet Darryl Read; ‘Ballads Before The Rain’ (2008) with slide guitarist Roy Rogers; ‘Translucent Blues’ (2010), a second album with Roy Rogers; in 2011 there is a ‘reunion’ of Rick & The Ravens with the line-up of: Rob Stanfield (vocals, rhythm guitar), Steve Cress (lead guitar), Ray Manzarek (keyboards), Scott Ferris (harmonica), Pete Tebow (bass) and Paul Estrip (drums). Aside from Manzarek, none of them played in the 1960s incarnation of this pre-Doors group; ‘The Piano Poems Live From San Francisco’ (2012) with poet Michael McClure; and, finally, ‘Twisted Tales’ (2013), a third album with Roy Rogers.
In 2013 Ray Manzarek is diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct, a rare form of cancer. This disease leads to Manzarek’s death on 20 May 2013. He was 74 years old. Ray Manzarek is survived by his wife Dorothy Fujikawa and their son, Pablo.
Aside from his tours with The Doors Of The 21st Century (or its later altered names), guitarist Robby Krieger’s albums and activities are as follows: ‘Cinematix’ (2000) [an instrumental fusion album]; Krieger makes a guest appearance on ‘Transformations Live’ (2004) by Particle; ‘Live At The Ventura Beach California’ (2008) with Eric Burdon (vocals) (from The Animals); ‘Singularity’ (2010); a tour in May 2012 with The Roadhouse Rebels, a side project for most of these musicians: Rich Robinson (vocals, guitar) (from The Black Crowes), Robby Krieger (guitar) (from The Doors), Steve Molitz (keyboards) (from Particle), John Avila (bass) (from Oingo Boingo) and Joe Magistro (drums); and ‘Look Each Other In The Ears’ (2014) with Ray Manzarek and poet Michael C. Ford.
Former Doors drummer John Densmore becomes romantically involved with Ildiko Von Somogyi from 2012.
The Doors’ musical history is repackaged in the new millennium in the following albums (and movie): ‘The Best Of The Doors’ (2000) (UK no. 9, AUS no. 3), released by WEA on 5 December, initially as a single disc, but later reissued as a two-CD set; ‘The Very Best Of The Doors’ (2001), released by Rhino on 18 September (unless otherwise indicated, all subsequent albums are issued by Elektra and Rhino in combination); ‘Legacy: The Absolute Best’ (2003) (US no. 63); ‘The Very Best Of The Doors’ (2007) (US no. 113, UK no. 15, AUS no. 25) (available as both a two-CD set and a single disc); ‘The Future Starts Here: The Essential Doors Hits’ (2008) (US no. 161) issued on 29 January; ‘The Platinum Collection’ (2008) issued by Rhino on 15 April; ‘When You’re Strange’ (2009) is a documentary about The Doors narrated by the actor Johnny Depp; ‘When You’re Strange: Music From The Motion Picture’ (2010) (US no. 156) is the film soundtrack released on 6 April; ‘L.A. Woman – The Workshop Sessions’ (2012); ‘Behind Closed Doors: The Rarities’ (2013); and ‘Curated by RSD’ (2014) on the Record Store Day label.
Arguably, the beginning of the end for The Doors was when vocalist Jim Morrison was charged with indecent exposure after The Doors show on 1 March 1969 at The Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove, Florida. A conviction was recorded on 30 October 1970. An appeal was lodged but no ruling was made on the appeal before Morrison’s death on 3 July 1971. Jim Morrison was officially posthumously pardoned on 9 December 2010. According to the other members of The Doors, Jim wasn’t guilty of the offence in any case. Nonetheless, part of The Doors’ appeal was their ‘outlaw’ status. That wasn’t the whole story though. The musical chemistry between the four members of the band was the heart of this saga. ‘All four of them knew Jim could not have journeyed alone…He needed The Doors as much as they needed him.’ Jim Morrison was ‘the prototypical rock star: surly, sexy, scandalous and mysterious.’ If he retained that ‘mysterious’ quality, then perhaps he didn’t expose anything very much after all. The Doors were ‘one of the most influential and controversial rock bands of the 1960s.’ Their songs ‘are timeless now because they were created beyond time then. The music of The Doors was at once both modern and ancient.’
- wikipedia.org as at 11 September 2017
- ‘Rolling Stone Rock Almanac’ by the Editors of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (Papermac, 1984) p. 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 137, 141, 143, 147, 149, 156, 159, 160, 161, 162, 164, 168, 171, 175, 176, 177, 178, 188, 217
- ‘The Rolling Stone Illustrated History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’, ‘The Doors’ by Lester Bangs (Plexus Publishing, 1992), p. 388, 389
- Internet Movie Database – imdb.com – as at 17 September 2017
- ‘Rock Stars’ by Timothy White (Columbus Books, 1984) p. 146
- ‘Rolling Stone’ (U.S. rock magazine) – ‘The Rolling Stone Interview: Jim Morrison’ by Jerry Hopkins (26 July 1969) (reproduced on rollingstone.com)
- doorshistory.com as at 16 September 2017
- ‘The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock’ by Nick Logan, Bob Woffinden (Salamander Books, 1978) p. 68, 69, 144
- brainyquote.com as at 16 September 2017
- ‘The Best Of The Doors’ – Sleeve notes by Danny Sugerman (WEA Records Ltd, 1985) p. 2, 3, 4
- whosdatedwho.com as at 15 September 2017
- everything2com – ‘John Densmore’ by ‘Segnbora-t’ (14 November 1999)
- guitarworld.com – ‘The Doors’ Robby Krieger Sheds Light – Album by Album – on One of Rock’s Most Mysterious Bands’ – interview conducted by ‘apaul’ (8 January 2016)
- ‘The Illustrated Rock Handbook’ edited by Roxanne Streeter, Ray Bonds (Salamander Books, 1983) p. 32, 67, 133
- allmusic.com – ‘The Doors’ by Richie Unterberger as at 16 September 2017
- classicbands.com – ‘Gary James’ Interview with John Densmore of The Doors, 20 Years After ‘Light My Fire’’ (1987)
- ‘Classic Rock’ issue 161 – ‘The Story Behind The Doors’ ‘Love Her Madly’’ – Robby Krieger interview conducted by Max Bell (August 2011) (reproduced on teamrock.com 23 April 2014)
- rockmine.com – ‘The Ray Manzarek Interview’ – uncredited (11 November 1983)
- ‘Los Angeles Free Press’ – Jim Morrison interview conducted by John Carpenter (summer 1968) (reproduced on archives.waiting-for the-sun.net)
- ‘The Doors: Box Set’ – Sleeve notes by Robby Krieger (WEA Records Pty Ltd, 1997) – via 1 (above) [‘The Doors’ LP]
- ‘Fresh Air’ (U.S. radio program) – Ray Manzarek interview conducted by Terry Gross (1998) (reproduced on npr.org- ‘An Archival Interview with Ray Manzarek, Keyboardist for The Doors 28 July 2017 – David Bianculli)
- ‘Rolling Stone’ (U.S. rock magazine) – ‘The Rolling Stone Interview (Jim Morrison)’ by Jerry Hopkins (2007) via 1 (above) [‘The Doors’ LP]
- ‘Creem Magazine’ (U.S. rock magazine) – ‘Jim Morrison: Ten Years Gone’ – interview conducted by Lizzie James (1981) via 1 (above) [‘The Doors’ LP]
- ‘The History of Rock’ by Mark Paytress (Parragon Books, 2011) p. 95
- ‘Friday On My Mind’ by Ed Nimmervoll (Five Mile Press, 2004) p. 72, 89
- ‘Time’ (U.S. magazine) via 2 (above) p. 136
- ‘Life’ (U.S. magazine) – ‘Wicked Go The Doors’ by Fred Powledge via 2 (above) p. 143
- thedoors.com – ‘Interview with Jim Morrison’ by Ben Fong-Torres (1971) via 1 (above) [‘L.A. Woman’ LP]
- google search as at 16 September 2017 [for when John Densmore married Julia Brose]
- lyricsfreak.com as at 30 September 2017
- musicradar.com – ‘Interview: Robby Krieger of The Doors’ ‘L.A. Woman’, Jim Morrison and Skrillex’ interview conducted by Joe Busso (2012) via 1 (above) [‘L.A. Woman’ LP]
- metrolyrics.com as at 17 September 2017
- google translate as at 17 September 2017
- ‘Los Angeles Times’ (Los Angeles, U.S.A., newspaper) – ‘In this Group, Scions are there’ by John Matsumoto (7 August 1998) (reproduced on articles.latimes.com)
- ‘Uncut’ (U.K. rock magazine) –Robby Krieger interview – uncredited (September 2015?) (reproduced on uncut.co.uk)
- ‘Rolling Stone’ (U.S. rock magazine) – ‘Jim Morrison Lives – The Legacy of the Lizard King’ by Rosemary Breslin (17 September 1981) (reproduced on rollingstone.com)
- famousfix.com as at 15 September 2017 [for information on John Densmore’s wife Leslie Neale and his later girlfriend Ildiko Von Somogyi]
- ‘Hollywood Reporter’ (U.S. magazine) – ‘Doors Drummer Densmore Files for Divorce’ by Associated Press (13 December 2006) (reproduced on hollywoodreporter.com)
- collect-a-mag.com as at 15 September 2017 [for the date of the ‘Classic Rock’ issue in 17 (above)]
Song lyrics copyright The Doors Music Company, ASCAP – except for ‘You Make Me Real’, ‘Been Down So Long’, ‘Tightrope Ride’ and ‘The Mosquito’ (all publisher(s) unknown)
Last revised 25 October 2017