The Doors

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About The Doors

One of the most wildly influential bands of the ’60s, The Doors molded a seductive brand of doomed psychedelic rock infused with brassy jazz and plodding blues and shot through with heady, hedonistic mantras howled by frontman Jim Morrison. In 1965, Morrison met keyboardist and fellow UCLA film student Ray Manzarek on Southern California’s Venice Beach, and after a few personnel shifts, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger joined them as The Doors—a reference to Aldous Huxley’s mescaline-fueled book The Doors of Perception. The L.A.-based quartet’s influences stretched well past psychedelia, though, as they approached rock music with the loose agility of jazz experimentalists and the indulgent romanticism of beat poets. The band began honing their sound—and Morrison’s bawdy onstage antics—on the Sunset Strip, which led to the release of their 1967 self-titled debut album. The perception-busting lead single, “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” arrived in sharp contrast to the hippie idealism of the time, but it was the incendiary organ-powered track, “Light My Fire,” that challenged listeners with the drug reference, “girl we couldn’t get much higher.” The band’s live shows became notorious as Morrison writhed suggestively on stage, taunted crowds, and provoked the police. But the band was also prolific. Over just five years, they released six albums, featuring a now-lofty stack of classic rock staples, including the raucous hits, “Love Me Two Times,” “Hello, I Love You,” and “Touch Me”; deeper cuts like the flamenco-flavored “Spanish Caravan”; and meaty, meandering epics like the nihilistic number, “The End.” After Morrison’s tragic death on July 3, 1971, at the age of 27, the remaining members trudged on for two more years, but they could never match the ever-growing myth of the Morrison-led Doors and all the influence—and innocence—lost in its wake.

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