Why not, this theme is all fantasy anyway?! The Doors had already released three albums before I was even born so the chance of ever seeing the band live was 100% nil. I will be honest, I had no use for this band growing up. Not punk enough, not new wave enough, too “hippie-ish”. Then I saw the movie “Apocalypse Now”.
The opening sequence of the flick leading up to Martin Sheen’s line of “I’m still only in Saigon” featured “The End” from The Doors. The song was the end track on the band’s self-titled debut album. Growing up this was one of the artists (along with Santana and Neil Diamond) that I can remember my dad playing on the reel to reel Saturday mornings when doing yard work. Yeah I grew up not liking these guys. Hearing that song used in the movie changed my mind and I immediately went out and bought The Doors on cassette. I was hooked! Keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore delivered music that was so tranquil yet so powerful at the same time. Add in the haunting vocals of Jim Morrison and those stirring lyrics and the formula was in place for, in my mind, some truly amazing music. I say that because The Doors seem to be one of those bands that people either love or say were overrated.
Do I get all their songs? Nope. Sometimes the theme was just so “out there”, so complex that I got lost trying to comprehend what Morrison was saying to his audience. I believe his band mates occasionally had the same issue. But when I could get on the same page I was truly locked in to the music and loved it. Songs like “Break On Through (To the Other Side)”, “Roadhouse Blues”, “Love Me Two Times” and “People Are Strange” possessed a myriad of pop hooks. Tracks such as the album version of “Light My Fire”, “The Unknown Soldier” and “When the Music’s Over” showcased the meditational, obscure, provocative side of the band. Then “The End” simply catapulted The Doors into a level that most bands can only hope to reach.
There are a lot of great live recordings from the band out there and when reading some of the literature detailing the energy the band displayed onstage … I really wish I had the opportunity to see and hear all that for myself. The best I can do is read “No One Gets Out of Here Alive” and listen to the great music they created. Here is a 20 song playlist to ponder: