1969-1971

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Posted on Thu, 03/05/2015 - 4:54pm
by Angie Spray

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The Soft Parade

The Doors' fourth album, The Soft Parade, released in July 1969, contained pop-oriented arrangements and horn sections. The lead single, "Touch Me", featured saxophonist Curtis Amy.

While the band was trying to maintain their previous momentum, efforts to expand their sound gave the album an experimental feel, causing critics to attack their musical integrity. According to John Densmore in his biography Riders On The Storm individual writing credits were noted for the first time because of Morrison's reluctance to sing the lyrics of Robby Krieger's song "Tell All the People". Morrison's drinking made him difficult and unreliable, and the recording sessions dragged on for months. Studio costs piled up, and The Doors came close to disintegrating. Despite all this, the album was immensely successful, becoming the band's fourth hit album.

Miami incident

On March 1, 1969, at the Dinner Key Auditorium in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, The Doors gave the most controversial performance of their career, one that nearly "derailed the band". The auditorium was a converted seaplane hangar that had no air conditioning on that hot night, and the seats had been removed by the promoter in order to boost ticket sales.

Morrison had been drinking all day and had missed connecting flights to Miami, and by the time he eventually arrived the concert was over an hour late in starting, and he was, according to Manzarek, "overly fortified with alcohol". The restless crowd of 12,000, packed into a facility designed to hold 7,000, was subjected to undue silences in Morrison's singing straining the music from the beginning of the performance. Morrison had recently attended a play by an experimental theater group, The Living Theatre, and was inspired by their "antagonistic" style of performance art. Morrison taunted the crowd with messages of both love and hate, saying, "Love me. I can't take it no more without no good love. I want some lovin'. Ain't nobody gonna love my ass?" and alternately, "You're all a bunch of fuckin' idiots!" and screaming "What are you gonna do about it?" over and over again. As the band began their second number, "Touch Me", Morrison started shouting in protest forcing the band to a halt. At one point, Morrison removed the hat of an onstage police officer and threw it into the crowd; the officer, in turn, removed Morrison's hat and threw it. Manager Bill Siddons recalled, "The gig was a bizarre, circus-like thing, there was this guy carrying a sheep and the wildest people that I'd ever seen". Equipment chief Vince Treanor said, "Somebody jumped up and poured champagne on Jim so he took his shirt off, he was soaking wet. 'Let's see a little skin, let's get naked,' he said, and the audience started taking their clothes off." Having removed his shirt, Morrison held it in front of his groin area and started to make hand movements behind it. Manzarek later described the incident as a mass "religious hallucination".

On March 5, the Dade County Sheriff's office issued a warrant for Morrison's arrest claiming Morrison deliberately exposed his penis while on stage, shouted obscenities to the crowd, simulated oral sex on guitarist Robby Krieger and was drunk at the time of his performance. Morrison turned down a plea bargain that required The Doors to perform a free Miami concert. He was later convicted, sentenced to six months in jail, with hard labor, and ordered to pay a $500 fine. Morrison remained free pending an appeal of his conviction, and would die before the matter was legally resolved. In 2007 Florida Governor Charlie Crist suggested the possibility of a posthumous pardon for Morrison, which was announced as successful on December 9, 2010. Densmore, Krieger and Manzarek have denied the allegation that Morrison exposed himself on stage that night.

More legal problems

During the recording of their next album in November 1969, Morrison once again found himself in trouble with the law after harassing airline staff during a flight to Phoenix, Arizona to see The Rolling Stones in concert. Both Morrison and his friend and traveling companion Tom Baker were charged with "interfering with the flight of an intercontinental aircraft and public drunkenness". If convicted of the most serious charge, Morrison could have faced a possible ten-year federal prison sentence for the incident. The charges were dropped in April 1970 after an airline stewardess reversed her testimony to say she mistakenly identified Morrison as Baker.

Aquarius Theatre performances

The Doors gave two concerts at the Aquarius Theatre on Sunset Blvd, Hollywood. The two shows were performed on July 21, 1969. A "backstage" performance, a so-called "private rehearsal" without an audience occurred on July 22, 1969. This was only a few months after the "Miami incident" in March of that year. Of the songs performed with an audience, "Universal Mind" and the "Celebration of the Lizard" suite were released on The Doors' 1970 Absolutely Live album, whereas "You Make Me Real" was released on Alive, She Cried in 1983. Further, the Van Morrison track, "Gloria", which was performed and recorded during the audience-less rehearsal, was also released on Alive, She Cried. Both the first and second shows along with the rehearsal the following day were released in 2001. It was at these shows that Morrison issued his poem, "Ode To L.A. While Thinking Of Brian Jones, Deceased", a poem for the recently deceased former Rolling Stones guitarist and founder, who was a friend of the band, Manzarek and Morrison in particular.

Morrison Hotel and Absolutely Live

The Doors staged a return to form with their 1970 LP Morrison Hotel, their fifth album. Featuring a consistent, hard rock sound, the album's opener was "Roadhouse Blues". The record reached US No. 4 and revived their status among their core fanbase and the rock press. Dave Marsh, the editor of Creem magazine, said of the album: "the most horrifying rock and roll I have ever heard. When they're good, they're simply unbeatable. I know this is the best record I've listened to ... so far". Rock Magazine called it "without any doubt their ballsiest (and best) album to date". Circus magazine praised it as "possibly the best album yet from the Doors" and "Good hard, evil rock, and one of the best albums released this decade". The album also saw Jim Morrison returning as main songwriter, writing or co-writing all of the album's tracks. The 40th Anniversary CD reissue of Morrison Hotel contains outtakes and alternate takes, including different versions of "The Spy" and "Roadhouse Blues" (with Lonnie Mack on bass guitar and The Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian on harmonica).

July 1970 saw the release of The Doors' first live album, Absolutely Live.

The band continued to perform at arenas throughout the summer. Morrison faced trial in Miami in August, but the group made it to the Isle of Wight Festival on August 29. They performed alongside Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Miles Davis, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Sly and the Family Stone. Two songs from the show were featured in the 1995 documentary Message to Love.

Last public performance

On December 8, 1970, his 27th birthday, Morrison recorded another poetry session. Part of this would end up on An American Prayer in 1978 with music, and is currently in the possession of the Courson family. The Doors' tour to promote their upcoming album L.A. Woman would comprise only two dates. The first was held in Dallas, Texas on December 11. During the Doors' last public performance with Morrison, at The Warehouse in New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 12, 1970, Morrison apparently had a breakdown on stage. Midway through the set he slammed the microphone numerous times into the stage floor until the platform beneath was destroyed, then sat down and refused to perform for the remainder of the show. Drummer John Densmore recalls the incident in his biography Riders On the Storm, where after the show he met with Ray and Robby; they decided to end their live act, citing their mutual agreement that Morrison was ready to retire from performing.

L.A. Woman

The Doors set to reclaim their status as a premier act with L.A. Woman in 1971. The session included guitar work by Marc Benno, and bass by Jerry Scheff. The album contained two Top 20 hits and went on to be their second best-selling studio album, surpassed in sales only by their debut. The album explored their R&B roots, although during rehearsals they had a falling-out with Paul Rothchild, who was dissatisfied with the band's effort. Denouncing "Love Her Madly" as "cocktail lounge music", he quit and handed the production to Bruce Botnick and the Doors. The singles "L.A. Woman", "Love Her Madly", and "Riders on the Storm" remain mainstays of rock radio programming, with the last of these being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its special significance to recorded music. In the song "L.A. Woman", Jim Morrison scrambles the letters of his own name to chant "Mr. Mojo Risin". During the sessions, a short clip of the band performing "Crawling King Snake" was filmed. So far as known, this is the last clip of the Doors performing with Morrison. On March 13, 1971, following the recording of L.A. Woman, Morrison took a leave of absence from the Doors and moved to Paris with Pamela Courson. He had visited the city the previous summer and was interested in moving there to become a writer in exile.

Morrison's death

Morrison died on July 3, 1971. In the official account of his death, he was found in a Paris apartment bathtub by his girlfriend Pamela Courson. Pursuant to French law, no autopsy was performed because the medical examiner claimed to have found no evidence of foul play. The absence of an official autopsy and the death certificate's having no reason of death besides heart failure, have left many questions regarding the cause of death. Morrison was buried in the "Poets Corner" of Père Lachaise Cemetery on July 7. The epitaph on his headstone bears the Greek inscription "ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ", literally meaning "According to his own daimōn" and usually interpreted as "True to his own spirit".

Morrison died at age 27, the same age as several other famous rock stars in the 27 Club. In 1974, Morrison's girlfriend Pamela Courson also died at the age of 27.

 

Attribution

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