Tonight (January 30th) on the world famous Classic Album at Midnight on Radio Nova we’re playing The Doors’ self-titled debut album.
The album is presented in full on vinyl with no commercials or interruptions, courtesy of The Record Hub.
Taking their name from Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception, The Doors were formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by singer Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore.
Prior to recording their self-titled debut album, The Doors spent much of 1966 performing residencies at L.A. venues The London Fog and Whisky a Go Go, where they developed their music and refined their live act. A visit to the Whisky a Go Go by Elektra Records president Jac Holzman saw the band signed to the label. The venue would cancel the band’s residency when Morrison showed up late tripping on LSD one evening.
On August 14th, 1966, The Doors began recording at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood. Joining the group for the sessions was bassist Larry Knechtel.
A four-track recording technique was employed, with one track for Morrison’s vocals, a second for bass and drums, a third for organ and guitar, and the final tracks used for overdubs.
According to engineer Bruce Botnick, the album was mostly recorded live, though on The End and Light My Fire, two takes were cut together.
The members of The Doors came from very different musical backgrounds. This is reflected in the band’s distinctive sound, which combines folk, classical, jazz, blues, bossanova and psychedelic rock.
With the exception of the covers of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Alabama Song and Willie Dixon and Chester Burnett’s Back Door Man, the lyrics for all songs are written by Morrison, with the band’s three musicians collaborating on compositions. Morrison’s lyrics are heavily inspired by his drug experimentation, with some reflecting his self-destructive tendencies.
In its original release The Doors features 11 tracks. On Side A are Break On Through (To the Other Side); Soul Kitchen; The Crystal Ship; Twentieth Century Fox; Alabama Song (Whisky Bar); and Light My Fire. On Side B are Back Door Man; I Looked at You; End of the Night; Take It as It Comes; and The End.
Released on January 4th, 1967, The Doors began a climb up the US album chart, eventually peaking at number two in September behind The Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Break on Through was released as a single but failed to crack the Billboard 100. Light My Fire however proved a sensation, topping the US chart. The album returned to the charts in 1991 as interest in The Doors was reignited by the Oliver Stone directed biopic, and Light My Fire reached number seven in the UK singles chart.
The Doors’ debut was greeted with enthusiasm by critics. Crawdaddy magazine called it “an album of magnitude,” which was “as good as anything in rock.” Rolling Stone ranks The Doors at number 86 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Let The Doors light your fire at midnight tonight on Radio Nova when Pat James will be playing his original vinyl copy.