L.A. Woman, the final album by The Doors, turns 50 this year. In celebration of that, there is a new reissue of the album featuring all sorts of new goodies. This 50th Anniversary Deluxe Version is a 1LP/3-CD collection featuring the original album remastered by the bands longtime engineer Bruce Botnick, as well as two-hours of studio sessions and demos. This is the earliest known recording of “Riders on The Storm,” recorded at Sunset Sound Studios and it’s quite awesome!
The Doors- Riders On The Storm (Sunset Sound Demo):
The Doors have long been a huge favorite of mine. They were one of the first bands I ever heard as a kid and have stuck with me since that point. When you look back at their catalog, there is a plethora of amazing songs hidden amongst all the songs you know. Even the ones you know, certain ones tend to become a bit underrated or under appreciated. For example “When The Music’s Over,” from their second album Strange Days, is definitely one that fits both that. Plus, on top of that, Robby Krieger’s guitar solo in this song, is superb. It’s got this amazing psychedelic sound that twists and turns in a way that slithers through your body, just as Jim Morrison would.
The Doors are one of the first bands I ever fell in love with. Ever since my parents put them on for me as an infant, I’ve been sold on them. Over the years, I’ve moved more away from their studio versions of their song to the live versions due to the spontaneous nature of the performances. One such song that was among the first I did that with was “Light My Fire.” The studio version is fine but, live, this song takes on a whole new vibe. One of my all time favorite versions of this song is from their 1970 performance at the Isle of Wight Festival. Part of what makes this one special is the history behind it. The Isle of Wight Festival had some 600,000 attendees and the Doors hit the stage at two o’clock in the morning on August 30, 1970. Their set was particularly dark due to Jim Morrison’s not wanting bright spotlights for the film recording on the band. Much of the recording sees the group bathed in a single red spotlight. Morrison was also very subdued in his movements but, he sang his heart out as you can tell.
The Doors- Light My Fire (Live at The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970):
Back in 1990, Billy Idol released his fourth solo studio album entitled Charmed Life. The album featured the hit single “Cradle Of Love.” That song went on to win multiple awards for it’s video which was directed by David Fincher. There was another song on the album though, that got a lot of attention, and that was Billy’s cover of The Doors classic, L.A. Woman. His version was shorter than the original and it also had a bit of a different vibe but, it was still one of those covers that stood out for being unique and still honoring the original. The video for the cover was also directed by David Fincher. L.A. Woman is one of my all time favorite songs by The Doors, and ever since I heard Billy Idol’s version when I was a very young kid (think I was 6), I’ve loved it even more. By the way, Billy Idol is still a badass and continues to rock the stage and release great rock music.
The Doors are in my top 5 favorite bands of all time. They are groundbreaking and beyond inspiring and influential. Over the years I’ve read so many books about them, watched documentaries, and even gone to see them individually and when they would play shows with Ian Astbury of The Cult as their singer. Naturally, one would assume that I have made my “Ultimate Set List” for The Doors years ago, which I did but, in order to fit within my guidelines for this category, I’ve had to shorten it a bit. With that in mind I present to you my “Ultimate Set List” for The Doors.
As usual here are the rules:
Rule 1: What line up of the band would it be
Rule 2: Where would you want to see the show
Rule 3: maximum 25 songs (In order of how the set should go)
Lineup: Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, John Densmore, and Ray Manzarek
Venue: The Whisky A Go Go
01) When The Music’s Over
02) Soul Kitchen
03) Roadhouse Blues
04) Wild Child
05) End Of The Night
06) The Crystal Ship
07) Waiting For The Sun
08) Spanish Caravan
09) Been Down So Long
10) Not To Touch The Earth
11) Peace Frog
12) The Soft Parade
13) Strange Days
14) My Eyes Have Seen You
15) You’re Lost Little Girl
16) Indian Summer
17) Moonlight Drive
18) Five To One
19) People Are Strange
20) L.A. Woman
21) Riders On The Storm
22) Break On Through (To The Other Side)
23) Light My Fire
24) The End
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.
One of my earliest childhood memories is my parents playing all sorts of music that helped mold my musical taste. The Doors were very big in my house and became a huge factor in my love for music. Here is a ranking of all their albums from not their best to their best.