The 1960s was a decade of forward thinking and controversial bands. Among these was The Doors; a Los Angeles band which stood out due to their poetic lyrics, keyboard led rhythm section and the power of frontman Jim Morrison. The Doors created controversy due to Morrison’s antics both on and off stage and the band’s unwillingness to change for others. Despite only existing for eight years, six of them with Morrison before his untimely death at the age of 27, the group created some of the greatest albums and songs of all time and became a voice for America’s counterculture.
“Light My Fire” - With an iconic intro thanks to keyboardist Ray Manzarek, “Light My Fire” became the breakout single of The Doors with the song reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The lyrics of guitarist Robby Krieger sung by Jim Morrison create an atmosphere of sheer psychedelic rock. While the song had to be cut down to three minutes in order to be made into a single, the original seven minute track from the album “The Doors” rings true with a lengthy keyboard solo and Morrison’s crooner voice.
“Touch Me” - While many songs of The Doors are meant to be interpreted, “Touch Me” is a fairly straightforward track. However, Morrison carries the track by using his voice to balance the song’s animal nature with its tender side. The song also contains brass and string instruments including a saxophone solo by Curtis Amy. There is both a brash and intimate tone within the track which makes it one of The Doors’ finest.
“L.A. Woman” - The titular track of the last album to feature Jim Morrison, “L.A. Woman” is a fiery track which contains Morrison switching between a soft vocal performance to a brash scream. The song speaks of a woman wandering around Los Angeles, searching for meaning and love and also features Morrison chanting “Mr. Mojo Risin,” an anagram of his own name. This makes one wonder if the track is even about a woman but instead is about Morrison.
The entirety of “An American Prayer” - The 1978 album was completed seven years after Morrison’s death and saw drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek reunite to pay tribute to their colleague. The album is a combination of spoken word poetry that Morrison recorded before his death with backing music by the remaining members of The Doors. The album is 40 minutes into the inner mind of Morrison and depicts him as a poet not a musician.
“The End” - This is the best track by The Doors appearing on their titular debut album. The track is 11 minutes long and contains lyrics worthy of Robert Frost or Emily Dickenson with the right amount of 60s counterculture. The song depicts the emptiness and madness of humanity and is an overall dark affair. So dark that director Francis Ford Coppala used the song in his 1979 film “Apocalypse Now,” a film depicting the events of the Vietnam War. “The End” is everything psychedelic music should be, a balance of madness and control with thought provoking lyrics.