The Great outDoors

For a 70’s band, the Doors would probably be acclaimed as a bunch of loud, pretentious whiners with stupid ambitions and a wacky frontman. For a 60’s band, they were the heroes of their time.

The year was 1967. The world was preparing for Sgt. Pepper and “All You Need Is Love”.  And in the midst of all this suddenly they came crashing like a thunderstorm, with snakes, lizards, worms, insanity, odes to Nietzsche, death and blackness. Nobody ever milked these subjects in such an obvious way before, and few would since.

Some would say Jim Morrison was an over the top poser. 

But he has at least one thing to redeem himself, which many people seem to forget about: he’s actually sincere.  The endless scandals with the police, the infamous ‘little Jim’ scene in 1969, the self-destructive sex & drugs lifestyle – all of this wasn’t just made in order to attract press attention; Morrison actually lived these things.  No publicity stunts to sell records.  Whatever you think about him (and I don’t think he cared what you thought about him) he put himself completely out there.  

 

The band only had five years to go before Morrison died in 1971 and fortunately the remaining band made no effort to substitute him.

Six classic albums, and here they are in quintessential order:

 

“The Doors” 1967

Their debut album was shocking and immediately put them in the superstar league. Rightly so: and not only because the general aura of this debut was quite different from anything anyone was doing at the moment, but also because it was incredibly catchy, melodic and displayed signs of something very smart in most of the tracks. Darkness and dreariness that was given a catchy pop edge – something that Jefferson Airplane, the world’s most depressing band at that period, could only have dreamed of and never managed to achieve in the end.  

A revolutionary album, and that’s the reason The Black Jacket Symphony performs it. 

 

“Strange Days” 1967

1967 drew to its fall, the Doors tightened up all the bolts and released this classic – uncompromised, dark, mystical, and majestic to the extreme.

Dark, deep and depressing as hell…but also unbelievably catchy, with packs of solid, memorable, original melodies jumping out from every corner.  A far cry from the general love-your-neighbour themes of the hippiesque 1967.

 

“Morrison Hotel” 1970

“I woke up this morning and got myself a beer.”

The Doors were off and running with one of the best albums of their career. 

It’s is an album that just makes sense and hangs together well.

It’s raunchy, energetic, and explosive.  It is bar band music at its best.

 

“Waiting for the Sun” 1968

This one’s almost a happy pop album!  What?

This album is a lot more crowd-pleasing than the previous one (“Strange Days”): it’s softer, gentler, a lot of the dark mood is lost, and there’s a lot of tender ballads which are not dark at all – just plain melancholic.

 

“LA Woman”  1971

The last album recorded by Jim Morrison who was not in great shape at the time.

This was The Doors “blues” album.. The seeds sown on ‘Morrison Hotel’ were obviously sprouted, and the Doors decided to temporarily reinvent themselves as a hot blues band.

 

“The Soft Parade”  1969

This album was probably released in a flurry, as 1969 didn’t seem to be a good year for The Doors, what with Jim’s drug additions and obscene behaviour, culminating in the infamous self-exposion bust and subsequent trial. This explains the fact that a good deal of the music here is written by Robbie Krieger.

Still a great album, it just suffers a little from the “sophmore slump” being the third release. 

 

Have your own list of favorite Doors albums?  

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