Think of one of the most influential yet controversial rock bands of the 1960s and The Doors are arguably one of the first names that will spring to mind.
This American group formed in 1965, with Jim Morrison on vocals, Ray Manzarek on keyboards, Robby Krieger on guitar and drummer, John Densmore.The band signed to Elektra Records a year later. The name of the group was inspired by a book written by Aldous Huxley, ‘The Doors of Perception’.
It quickly became apparent that The Doors offered something very different to the music industry. Morrison proved to be a hugely unique and charismatic figure, with a rich tone to his voice, spilling out deeply profound and poetic lyrics, but also often displaying unpredictable behaviour during live performances. With no bass player in the group, Morrison’s voice and Manzarek’s keyboards became the focal sounds that gave the band its distinctive edge.
During a period of five years, The Doors released eight hit albums, of which all but one reached the top ten in the music charts.
Many fans regard their debut self-titled album from 1967 as the best, as it includes the band’s first major hit, ‘Light My Fire’. The album ‘Strange Days’ followed the same year, with album ‘Waiting For The Sun’ released just a year later. In 1969, the album ‘The Soft Parade’ was released, followed by ‘Morrison Hotel’ in 1970 and ‘LA Woman’ in 1971. The band went on to sell three million records with singles ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Hello, I Love You’, and ‘Touch Me’, as well as winning 20 Gold, 14 Platinum, five Multi-Platinum and one Diamond album awards in America.
Despite the band’s huge success, they courted controversy, with Morrison’s erratic behaviour making headlines. In 1969, Morrison was arrested for indecent behaviour at a concert, and just a couple of years later he died of a drugs overdose in Paris.
Although the remaining band members carried on performing together after Morrison’s death, the group split up in 1973. The band members were involved with various musical collaborations over the coming years, but they never matched the same level of success as The Doors. Manzarek and Krieger reunited in the early 2000s, forming a band entitled Doors of the 21st Century, although original remaining band member Densmore won a legal battle over the inclusion of the word Doors in the title.
Although The Doors had a relatively short career, they’ve left a huge mark on the music industry and are still as popular today as ever before. With 100 million records sold worldwide, they’re ranked as one of the best-selling bands ever. In 1993, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A film about the group was released in 1991, with Val Kilmer starring as Morrison.
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