1965–1968

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Origins and Information

The origins of The Doors began with a meeting between acquaintances Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek, both alumni of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, on Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California in July 1965. Morrison told Manzarek he had been writing songs (Morrison said "I was taking notes at a fantastic rock'n'roll concert going on in my head") and with Manzarek's encouragement sang "Moonlight Drive". The members came from a varied musical background from jazz, rock, blues, and folk idioms.

Keyboardist Manzarek was in a band called Rick & the Ravens with his brothers Rick and Jim Manzarek, while drummer John Densmore was playing with The Psychedelic Rangers and knew Manzarek from meditation classes. In August, Densmore joined the group, renamed The Doors, and the five, along with bass player Patty Sullivan (later credited using her married name Patricia Hansen in the 1997 box CD release) recorded a six-song demo in September 1965. This has circulated widely since then as a bootleg recording. The band took their name from the title of Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception, itself derived from a line in William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: "If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite".

In mid-1965, after Ray Manzarek's two brothers left, the group recruited guitarist Robby Krieger and the best-known lineup — Morrison, Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore — was complete.

By 1966, the group was playing the Los Angeles club London Fog. The club was not as prestigious as the Whisky a Go Go and did not attract many customers. The Doors used the nearly empty club as an opportunity to hone and, in some cases, lengthen their songs and work the "The End", "When the Music's Over" and "Light My Fire" into musical epics. (In 2011 a 30-minute tape was discovered of The Doors performing at the London Fog.) The Doors soon graduated to the more prestigious Whisky a Go Go, where they were the house band, supporting acts including Van Morrison's group Them. On their last night together the two bands joined up for "In the Midnight Hour" and a twenty-minute jam session of Them's "Gloria". Prior to graduating to Whisky a Go Go, Morrison went to many record labels trying to land a deal. He did score one at Columbia Records but it did not pan out. On August 10, they were spotted by Elektra Records president Jac Holzman, who was present at the recommendation of Love singer Arthur Lee, whose group was with Elektra Records. After Holzman and producer Paul A. Rothchild saw two sets of the band playing at the Whisky a Go Go, they signed them to the Elektra Records label on August 18 — the start of a long and successful partnership with Rothchild and engineer Bruce Botnick. The Doors were fired from the Whisky on August 21, 1966 when Morrison added an explicit retelling and profanity-laden version of the Greek myth of Oedipus during "The End".

Debut album

The band recorded their first album from August 24 to 31, 1966, at Sunset Sound Recording Studios. The Doors' self-titled debut LP was released in the first week of January 1967. It featured most of the major songs from their set, including the nearly 12-minute musical drama "The End".

In November 1966, Mark Abramson directed a promotional film for the lead single "Break On Through (To the Other Side)". To promote the single, the Doors made their television debut on a Los Angeles TV show called Boss City circa 1966, possibly early 1967, and then on a Los Angeles TV show called Shebang, miming to "Break On Through", on New Year's Day 1967. This clip has never been officially released by the Doors.

In early 1967 the Doors appeared on The Clay Cole Show (which aired on Saturday evenings at 6 pm on WPIX Channel 11 out of NYC) where they performed their single "Break On Through". Research has determined that the tapes were all wiped. The only shows that still exist are the final ones copied by an employee of the station; unfortunately this was long after The Doors' appearance. The Doors returned to The Clay Cole Show a second time on June 24 where they most likely performed "Light My Fire".

Since "Break on Through" was not very successful on the radio, the band turned to "Light My Fire". The problem with this song was that it was seven minutes long, so producer Paul Rothchild cut it down to three minutes by radically cutting the lengthy keyboard and guitar solos in the center section. "Light My Fire" became the first single from Elektra Records to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, selling over a million copies. "Light My Fire" was the first song ever written by Robby Krieger and was the beginning of the band's success.

Early live recordings at The Matrix

From March 7 to 11, 1967, The Doors performed at the Matrix Club in San Francisco, California. The March 7 and 10 shows were recorded by a co-owner of The Matrix, Peter Abram. These recordings are notable as they are among the earliest live recordings of the band to circulate. On November 18, 2008, The Doors published a compilation of these recordings, Live at the Matrix 1967, on the band's boutique Bright Midnight Archives label.

Early television performances

The Doors appeared on American television on August 25, 1967, guest-starring on the variety TV series Malibu U, performing "Light My Fire". They did not appear live. The band is seen on a beach and is performing the song in play back. The music video did not gain any commercial success and the performance was more or less forgotten. It was not until they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show that they gained attention on television.

The Doors made their international television debut in May 1967, recording a version of "The End" for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) at O'Keefe Centre in Toronto. But after its initial broadcasts, the performance remained unreleased except in bootleg form until the release of The Doors Soundstage Performances DVD in 2002. As "Light My Fire" climbed the charts in June and early July, The Doors were on the East Coast as an opening act for Simon and Garfunkel in Forest Hills, Queens, and as headliners in a Greenwich, Connecticut, high school auditorium.

On September 17, 1967, The Doors gave a memorable performance of "Light My Fire" on The Ed Sullivan Show. According to Ray Manzarek, network executives asked that the word "higher" be removed in favor of "better". The group appeared to acquiesce, but performed the song in its original form, because either they had never intended to comply with the request or Jim Morrison was nervous and forgot to make the change (Manzarek has given conflicting accounts). Either way, "higher" was sung out on national television, and the show's host, Ed Sullivan, canceled another six shows that had been planned. After the program's producer told the band they would never play on the show again, Jim Morrison reportedly replied: "Hey man. We just did the Sullivan Show."

On December 24, The Doors performed "Light My Fire" and "Moonlight Drive" live for The Jonathan Winters Show. Their performance was taped for later broadcast. From December 26 to 28, the group played at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. An excerpt taken from Stephen Davis' book on Jim Morrison (p. 219–220):

The next night at Winterland, a TV set was wheeled onstage during The Doors set so the band could see themselves on The Jonathan Winters Show. They stopped playing "Back Door Man" when their song came on. The audience watched the Doors watching themselves on TV. They finished the song when their bit was done, and Ray walked over and turned the TV off. The next night was their last ever in Winterland.

They played two more dates in Denver on December 30 and 31, 1967, capping off a year of almost constant touring.

Strange Days

The Doors spent several weeks in Sunset Studios in Los Angeles recording their second album, Strange Days, experimenting with the new technology, notably the Moog synthesizer they now had available. The commercial success of Strange Days was middling, peaking at number three on the Billboard album chart but quickly dropping, along with a series of underperforming singles. The chorus from the album's single "People Are Strange" inspired the name of the 2010 documentary of The Doors, When You're Strange.

Although session musician Larry Knechtel had been featured on bass on several tracks on the band's debut album, Strange Days was the first Doors album recorded with a studio musician on bass on most of the tracks, and this continued on all subsequent studio albums. Manzarek explained that his keyboard bass was well-suited for live situations but that it lacked the articulation needed for studio recording. Douglass Lubahn played on Strange Days and the next two albums; but the band used several other musicians for this role, often using more than one bassist on the same album. Kerry Magness, Leroy Vinnegar, Harvey Brooks, Ray Neopolitan, Lonnie Mack, Jerry Scheff, Jack Conrad (who played a major role in the post Morrison years touring with the group in 1971 and 1972), Chris Ethridge, Charles Larkey and Leland Sklar are credited as bassists who worked with the band.

New Haven incident

On December 9, 1967, The Doors performed a now infamous concert at New Haven Arena in New Haven, Connecticut, which ended abruptly when Morrison was arrested by local police. Morrison became the first rock artist ever to be arrested onstage during a concert performance.

Morrison had been making out with a girl fan backstage in a bathroom shower stall prior to the start of the concert when a police officer happened upon them. Unaware that he was the lead singer of the band about to perform, the officer told Morrison and the girl to leave, to which Morrison said, "Eat it." The policeman took out a can of mace and warned Morrison, "Last chance", to which Morrison replied, "Last chance to eat it." There is some discrepancy as to what happened next: according to No One Here Gets Out Alive, the girl ran and Morrison was maced; but Manzarek recounts in his book that both Jim and the fan were sprayed and that the concert was delayed for an hour while Jim recovered.

Halfway through the first set, Morrison proceeded to go on an obscenity-laced tirade to the audience, describing what had happened backstage and taunting the police, who were surrounding the stage. The concert was abruptly ended when Morrison was dragged offstage by the police; he was taken to a local police station, photographed and booked on charges of inciting a riot, indecency and public obscenity. Charges against Morrison, as well as those against three journalists also arrested in the incident (Mike Zwerin, Yvonne Chabrier and Tim Page), were dropped several weeks later for lack of evidence.

Waiting for the Sun

Recording of the group's third album in April 1968 was marred by tension as a result of Morrison's increasing dependence on alcohol and drugs, and the rejection of his new epic, "Celebration of the Lizard", by band producer Paul Rothchild, who deemed the work not commercial enough. Approaching the height of their popularity, The Doors played a series of outdoor shows that led to frenzied scenes between fans and police, particularly at Chicago Coliseum on May 10.

The band began to branch out from their initial form for this third LP. Because they had exhausted their original repertoire, they began writing new material. Waiting for the Sun became their first No. 1 LP, and the single "Hello, I Love You" was their second and last US No. 1 single. With the 1968 release of "Hello, I Love You", the rock press pointed out the song's resemblance to The Kinks' 1964 hit, "All Day and All of the Night". Kinks guitarist Dave Davies was particularly irritated by the similarity. In concert, Morrison was occasionally dismissive of the song, leaving the vocals to Manzarek, as can be seen in the documentary The Doors Are Open.

A month after riotous scenes took place at the Singer Bowl in New York, the group flew to Britain for their first performance outside of North America. They held a press conference at the ICA Gallery in London and played shows at The Roundhouse Theatre. The results of the trip were broadcast on Granada TV's The Doors Are Open, later released on video. They played dates in Europe, along with Jefferson Airplane, including a show in Amsterdam where Morrison collapsed on stage after a drug binge.

The group flew back to the US and played nine more US dates before returning to work in November on their fourth LP. They ended the year with a successful new single, "Touch Me" (released in December 1968), which hit US No. 3. They started 1969 with a sold-out show on January 24 at Madison Square Garden.

 

 

Attribution

The Doors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doors http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/