A look back at one of the finest debut albums courtesy of The Doors
At the tail end of the 60s, rock was producing some of the most innovative output of any genre. Obviously front and centre of this were the Britsh bands of the era, however an American group led by Jim Morrison known as the Doors would become synonymous with the psychedelic sound of the late 60s, tearing on to the scene like no other band the world had heard before.
In spite of Morrison’s passing aged 27 at the start of the 70s, The Doors left a legacy few bands can match. The group’s self -titled debut from 1967 instantly cemented them as one of the freshest sounding groups on the planet and in addition to being one of rocks great debuts is one of the greatest albums full stop, currently sitting at 42 on Rolling Stone magazines 500 greatest albums of all time.
The combination of Jim Morrison’s dark lyrics drenched in mysticism with the driving guitars of Robby Krieger and unique keyboard and piano sound of Ray Manzarek, gave the era a huge dose of psychedelic innovation. The innovative musicianship coupled with raw sound contributed to a truly unique soundscape.
Opener Break On Through To the Other Side is relentless and really sets the tone for what is to come, with Morrison’s vocals duelling with the keys and guitar throughout but no member stealing the others thunder, the keyboard intro is truly iconic. Far from this being an almost proto- punk record, it has its mellower moments as do all the Doors records, whether that is the Crystal Ship or End Of The Night.
In spite of this the real reason this record changed rock was its turbo charged energy and distinctive sound, it must have been truly mind boggling hearing tracks like Light My Fire with its almost demonic keyboard solo and Soul Kitchen for the first time. As far as album closers go few can match “The End” in its full near 12 minute glory, of course used to great effect in Apocalypse Now
In addition to the clear psychedelic sounds of the 60s there are attempts to paint broader strokes with blues cover Back Door Man showcasing an array of influences that the group would employ on later albums like LA Woman and Strange Days.
The debut from Morrison and co is at times both chaotic and inspired with the chaos threatening to derail the album at points but never doing so. its uniqueness and darkness and Morrison’s other-worldly vocals enticing the listener in and never letting them go. As far as debut albums go, there aren’t many that can match the influence of this classic and the group would go on to continue to innovate until Morrison’s death.
Words by Christopher Connor