The Doors (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

The Doors (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

There have been plenty of classic debut albums. But few first-attempt records have defined an era while simultaneously birthing an idol, as The Doors did upon its release in January 1967. The impact wasn’t immediate: The album’s first single, “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” failed to break into the Hot 100—meaning that, for a while, the most visible marker of The Doors’ success was limited to billboards on the Sunset Strip, which featured Morrison and his bandmates. The equal billing was appropriate, as The Doors was undoubtedly a group effort: The seeds of many of these 11 tracks had mostly been planted by Morrison, but the group’s eventual smash single, “Light My Fire,” had been originally composed by guitarist Robby Kreiger, with the song's iconic organ intro and the groovy bossa-nova-inspired rim clicks created by keyboardist Ray Manzerek and drummer John Densmore, respectively. But it was Morrison—with his tight leather pants, heavy eyelids, and booming baritone—who took center stage when the band performed “Light My Fire” on The Ed Sullivan Show that September. And it was Morrison who sang the controversial line “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” over the protests of the show’s producers—and thus beamed the Southern California counterculture to 40 million American viewers. That wasn’t the only shock generated by Morrison and The Doors: The singer’s infamous soliloquy on “The End”—“Father/Yes, son?/I want to kill you/Mother, I want to…”—has been endlessly analyzed for its Oedipal assertions. And the haunting intro to “The End” captured a new generation of fans when it soundtracked the opening of Apocalypse Now in 1979, sparking a renaissance of sorts for the band into the 1980s.

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