Opening the doors to glory

By Sergio Ariza

If The Doors had only recorded this record, their legend and their singer, Jim Morrison, would be just as big. One of the greatest debuts in history, The Doors is a call to rebellion and the rebelliousness by the band that was the image of all the dangers surrounding youth and rock.

If it sounds musically perfect it’s because the band had been playing these songs for more than a year in places like the Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles. That was where Morrison developed his sense of theatrics, what got him expelled from the club when he emulated Oedipus screaming “Mother?, Yes son...I want to fuck you. Despite the fact the record’s editing made that part inaudible, The End is still one of the most disturbingly beautiful songs in the history of rock, and both serves to support Freuds sexual theories and  as an excellent soundtrack for the madness of the Vietnam war in a film like Apocalypse Now. Of course the album goes much further beyond The End, proof of this is that some other songs on the album are Light My Fire, Break On Through (To the Other Side), and The Crystal Ship.

The record was recorded in August 1966 while The Doors were playing in the Whiskey A Go Go, most of their repertoire was composed by Morrison, but, just before they started recording, he told the band to bring  their own songs as well as to take all the weight off his back. The most diligent was guitarist Robby Krieger, who on his first try composed one of the most memorable songs of the 20th century, Light My  Fire. When he brought the song to rehearsal they were delighted and made their contributions, Morrison finished off the lyrics with his own pieces like “the funeral pyre, while Ray Manzarek was in charge of finishing the amazing introduction where he shows off his classic training.


Krieger shines throughout the whole album with his SG plugged into a Fender Twin Reverb without any accessories other than the magic in his fingers. In The End, you can see the influences of Ravi Shankar and Coltrane in his music, giving it his own style, on the solo in Light My Fire, we can talk about what the gypsies call ‘duende’ (enchanting) and Break On Through shows he’s also capable of riffing that would make Elmore James proud. But this record is more than just the popular songs, The Crystal Ship is one of the best ballads of their career, Twentieth Century Fox, I Looked at You and Take It As Easy As It Comes are irresistible (in addition to unique, together with Light My Fire, that are the only tracks that included a bass, thanks to Larry Knechtel), while End of the Night is hypnotic in its beauty. Then there are the two fabulous covers on the record, the wild blues of Back Door Man, by Willie Dixon, and the circus/cabaret feeling of Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar), by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.


The Doors was a giant step in turning rock into something serious and artistic, a form of expression with its own rules. Its release in January of 1967 was the prelude to the psychedelic explosion of ‘67, and the best possible look at what great things were to come in the same year, from Sgt. Pepper’s, to Are You Experienced?, to the debuts of Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd.