Saturday, June 4, 2011


Without a doubt The Doors were the most successful of the LA bands. They made music on their own terms Morrison wrote the poetry...Manzarek and Kreiger the fantastic music. It still lives vividly today....

The Doors was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger. The band took its name from Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception,the title of which was a reference to a William Blake quotation: "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite." They were among the most controversial rock acts of the 1960s, due mostly to Morrison's wild, poetic lyrics and charismatic but unpredictable stage persona. After Morrison's death in 1971, the remaining members continued as a trio until finally disbanding in 1973.

The origins of The Doors lie in a chance meeting between acquaintances and fellow UCLA film school alumni Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek on Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California in July 1965. Morrison told Manzarek he had been writing songs (Morrison said "I was taking notes at a fantastic rock-n-roll concert going on in my head") and, with Manzarek's encouragement, sang "Moonlight Drive". Impressed by Morrison's lyrics, Manzarek suggested they form a band.
Keyboardist Manzarek was in a band called Rick & the Ravens with his brothers Rick and Jim Manzarek, while drummer John Densmore was playing with The Psychedelic Rangers, and knew Manzarek from meditation classes. In August, Densmore joined the group and, along with members of The Ravens and bass player Pat Sullivan (later credited using her married name Patricia Hansen in the 1997 box CD release), recorded a six-song demo in September 1965. This has since then circulated widely as a bootleg recording. That month the group recruited guitarist Robby Krieger, and the final lineup — Morrison, Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore — was complete. The band took their name from a line in William Blake's poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite".

By 1966, the group was playing the LA club London Fog and soon graduated to the prestigious Whisky a Go Go, where they were the house band, supporting acts including Van Morrison's group Them. On their last night together the two bands joined up for "In the Midnight Hour" and a twenty-minute jam session of Them's "Gloria". Prior to graduating to Whisky a Go Go Morrison went to many record labels trying to land a deal. He did score one but it did not pan out. On August 10, they were spotted by Elektra Records president Jac Holzman who was present at the recommendation of Love singer Arthur Lee, whose group was on Elektra. After Holzman and producer Paul A. Rothchild saw two sets of the band playing at the Whisky a Go Go, they signed them to the Elektra Records label on August 18—the start of a long and successful partnership with Rothchild and engineer Bruce Botnick. Later that month, the club fired the band after a profanity-filled performance of "The End". In an incident that foreshadowed the controversy that later followed the group, an acid-tripping Morrison raucously recited his own version of the Greek drama Oedipus Rex, in which Oedipus unknowingly kills his father and has sex with his mother.

A Ray Manzerak recollection of that particular night......

"In the most important rock club in Los Angeles, The Doors began to enjoy a celebrity audience from the recording industry and the attentions of several record companies. One evening, Miss Karan brought Jac Holzman, President of Elektra records, to hear the group. Holzman was unimpressed. However, he became more enthusiastic on a second visit. Urged on by Billy James, at that time Elektra's West Coast man, they signed The Doors in late 1966. The arrangement was, and still is, amiable on both sides, for The Doors, according to Manzarek, have been permitted freedom to work in the studio and Elektra has a top group that has enhanced its financial picture greatly. In January, 1967, their first album came out with a cut called "Light my fire". Before then, however, The Doors and the Whiskey had had a parting of the ways, mostly caused by "The End". "It started as a simple 'goodbye song', just the first verse and a chorus", says Morrison. "As we did it each night we discovered a peculiar feeling: a long, flowing, easy beat; that strange guitar tuning that sounds vaguely Eastern or American Indian. It was a form that everyone brought something to. Our last night at the Whiskey, I invented that climactic part about 'Father, I want to kill you....'. That's what the song had been leading up to." According to Manzarek, Morrison had missed the first set of the evening and the second set went without incident. The place was packed for the third set. Saturday night at the Whiskey with all the tourist and everything else. Jim sang 'The End' and the place was mesmerized by it. Then he did the 'Killer awoke before dawn' sequence. Everything just sort of stopped. It was really weird. When we finished, no one applauded or even talked. Mario (the Manager) just said, 'those guys are nuts- get them out of here,' and we were fired. No matter. By that time, The Doors were headed for the San Francisco ballrooms and a national tour".

The band recorded their first album from August 24 to 31, 1966 at Sunset Sound Recording Studios. 'The Doors' self-titled debut LP was released in the first week of January 1967. It featured most of the major songs from their set, including the nearly 12-minute musical drama "The End".

In November 1966, Mark Abramson directed a promotional film for the lead single "Break On Through (To the Other Side)". To promote the single, the Doors made their television debut on a Los Angeles TV show called Boss City, circa 1966, possibly early 1967 and then on a Los Angeles TV show called Shebang, miming to "Break On Through," on New Year's Day 1967. This clip has never been officially released by the Doors.

Since "Break on Through" was not very successful on the radio, the band turned to "Light My Fire". The problem with this song was that it was seven minutes long, so producer Paul Rothschild cut it down to a three minute song. The band's second single, "Light My Fire", became the first single from Elektra Records to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, selling over a million copies. "Light My Fire" was the first song ever written by Robbie Krieger and was the beginning of the band's success.

Recorded live on their 1968
"Waiting for the sun" tour
Soundboard recording

01 - Five To one
02 - Mack The Knife - Alabama Song
03 - Back Door Man
04 - You're Lost, Little Girl
05 - Love Me Two Times
06 - When The Music's Over
07 - Wild Child
08 - Money
09 - Wake Up
10 - Light My Fire
11 - The End
12 - Unknown Soldier


Bob W. said...

This is a recording from Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden on September 20, 1968. First 11 tracks early show, Track 12, late show.

Bob W.

24HRDEJAVU said...

Thanks Bob The only info I had was that it was a 1968 recording

john said...

so much has been written about the Doors, and they deserve all the respect and appreciation a great group should have. I grew up in L. A. and they are a part of me. Thanks.

David Shiang said...

Thanks for the post about The Doors. You may have an interest in a free special report that I just finished called The Top 10 Commandments of Jim Morrison. I am also hosting an online festival called Celebration of the Lizard on July 3. You can get the Top 10 Commandments and find out more about the festival at

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