Thursday, 02 September 2010
When it comes to music, I have a weird rhythm. I’ll listen to a particular band nonstop for a week or two and then move on to or rediscover another group. Call it music ADD.
My latest obsession is The Doors. I’ve been listening to the sweet sounds of Jim Morrison and company like a madman these past several days. I figured I should share the glory with you all. If you’re unfamiliar with The Doors, shame on you and prepare to have your ears and mind blown. If you know and/or love them, then please come along for the ride.
The Doors only existed in their original form for six years. Lead singer Morrison and keyboardist Ray Manzarek started the band in 1965 (drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger joined shortly thereafter). Morrison died in 1971, and though the band tried to make it as a trio for two more years, The Doors were never the same.
And that’s part of what makes them so impressive. They pumped out hit after hit in only six years. “Hello I Love You,” “Light My Fire,” “Riders on the Storm,” “Break on Through,” “Roadhouse Blues,” “Touch Me,” and “L.A. Woman” make up a majority of their greatest hits.
The Doors had a style unto themselves. They fused rock, soul, and blues into every song and turned each melody into a powerhouse. The soulful, poetic lyrics and voice of Morrison truly set the band apart from others. In “Touch Me,” he croons “I’m gonna love you till the heavens stop the rain. I’m gonna love you till the stars fall from the sky for you and I.” A beautiful violin section and a trumpet riff accompany that verse, and a solo also punctuates the end of the song.
Quick, fast-paced songs populated The Doors lineup, but when they wanted to stretch it out, they did so perfectly every time. “Light My Fire,” “L.A. Woman,” “Riders on the Storm,” and “The End” all place heavy emphasis on the melody and music, with long keyboard solos and guitar riffs.
“L.A. Woman,” my personal favorite song by The Doors, features one of the best moments in rock and roll. Just about five minutes into the song, a slow buildup occurs as Morrison begins to sing (and almost chants) “Mr. Mojo Risin’” over and over again as the guitar and drums emphasize each syllable. Eventually, he begins to belt his mantra out to the back row and screams the word “rising” with power and heart. The name “Mr. Mojo Risin’,” in his typical genius fashion, is an anagram of “Jim Morrison.”
Morrison, who became synonymous with the very mention of The Doors, had his issues and controversies. Police arrested him in New Haven, Connecticut in 1967 when, allegedly, he was making out with a fan in the bathroom and became belligerent toward a police officer that had entered the restroom. I don’t condone his actions toward the cop, but getting some action in the bathroom from a fan is pretty badass.
Police in Dade County issues a warrant for Morrison’s arrest on March 5, 1969 because, at a concert in Miami four days earlier, the lead singer had supposedly exposed himself on stage, simulated oral sex on Krieger, and cursed at the crowd. Morrison was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail, but died before ever serving his sentence. The circumstances surrounding that death are vague. He died in Paris, but French authorities did not perform an autopsy because they did not suspect foul play (this was apparently French law). Some believe Morrison died of a heroin overdose, but the only cause of death listed on the death certificate was heart failure.
So while Morrison may have been erratic and controversial, he truly was a musical genius who was taken too soon. Which is a shame, really, because it’s almost scary to think what The Doors could have done with more time.
What do you think of The Doors? Do you have a favorite song of theirs?