The Doors, one of my all time favorite bands, have just celebrated quite the milestone. Their debut album has just turned 50. Yes, I just said 50 years old. That would be 50 years of influence, inspiration and legacy. Over the years, The Doors self titled debut has sold over 20 million copies, been ranked as number 42 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time personally I think it should have been higher), inclusion in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. They have also been credited as one of the pioneers of psychedelic rock. The album was recorded in 6 days at Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood with producer Paul Rothchild and engineer Bruce Botnick. Some interesting facts about the recording of the album is that the album was recorded on a four-track tape machine. The drums and bass (Larry Knechtel was brought in to add some extra “oomph” to the songs, as well as add another layer to Ray Manarek’s Fender Rhodes piano bass) on track one, guitar and organ on track two, vocals on track three, with the fourth being used for overdubs.
For me personally, The Doors first album is sacred to me. This was truly an “album.” Back in the 60’s and 70’s a lot of albums came with a bunch of filler songs, but there isn’t one ounce of filler on this album. The order of the songs beginning with “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” all the way to “The End” has a flow that breathes life into those listening. The “vibe” that the album puts out is astonishing. Jim Morrison’s words and voice strike a chord within, making you think and feel something deep in your consciousness. Robby Krieger’s style of guitar playing melded classical with jazz and rock. He perfectly complemented drummer John Densmore’s Latin and jazz feels. On a side note, I truly believe that John Densmore is one of the most underrated drummers of all time. And then there is Ray Manzarek who provided so many extra layers and melodies to The Doors’ songs.
The Doors will always be to me, one of the most important bands ever. Their legacy, mystique, willingness to explore music and evolve, and words, are the works of legends. Their catalog alone, though only six albums, is uncompromising. Even their out there work on The Soft Parade and dabbles into more “pop” styled songs, can’t be shot down. The Doors were masters of their craft, instruments and words. There is a reason why their legacy will be everlasting.
So, let us all take a moment and celebrate a truly great band and album. Open your mind and take in the 44 minutes and 48 seconds of greatness that is The Doors first album.
The Doors- The Doors: