On the cover of The Doors first album singer Jim Morrison rather dominates but on the band's most famous song Ray Manzarek's organ solo is every bit as important as Morrison's contribution. For some the appeal of The Doors was the tension between singer Jim Morrison's Dionysian persona and the band's crisp, melodic playing. The LP stayed in the US charts for 121 weeks. "Light My Fire" was the first single on Elektra records to get to number one. Trivia fans will be interested to learn that Morrison named the group after a quote by Aldous Huxley ("all the other chemical Doors in the Wall are labelled Dope..."). Over the years historians continually claim Morrison had been reading William Blake and that he's making reference to a line about "the doors of perception" but it's not actually the case. This week my favourite song on the album is "Soul Kitchen" - I love the way Morrison sings "learn to forget." Last week my favourite song on the album was "20th Century Fox" because of Robbie Krieger's brilliant guitar solo. Next week it might go back to being "I looked At You."
To my ears, The Doors first album is 45 minutes of perfection. It was released the same year as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Whilst The Fab Four’s album had several duff tracks. The Doors debut was filler free. Ultimately McCartney’s songs were sunny - tunes about friends helping each other out, having a crush on a meter maid, couples staying together forever, fixing holes and things getting better. Morrison’s songs were much darker. His mind seemed full of thoughts of sex and death hence the covers of Willie Dixon's ode to anal penetration ("Back Door Man") and the crazy Brecht & Weill "Alabama Song" about having whisky on your mind.
The Doors influenced hundreds of great bands including The Stranglers, The Cult, and Echo & The Bunnymen. Their songs have been successfully covered by bands as diverse as Was (Not) Was, Jose Feliciano, Will Young, The Cure, The House of Love, and Shirley Bassey. Why do so many people love them? Jim Morrison suggests they appeal lies in the fact: "There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors."