The Doors were one of the most controversial bands in the history of the last fifty years, that divided critics opinions and crowd! Their addicting sound, that mussed up a mixture of music genres, with poetic and provocative lyrics that made the critics and the world love them or hate them! But one thing is for sure, they changed the music industry and the way people understood music!
The members of the band were James Douglas Morrison( the mystical frontman ), Ray Manzarek( the virtuoso of keyboards ), Robby Krieger( the coarse guitarist ) and finally John Densmore( the charismatic drummer )!
Their journey began in 1965, when Morrison and Manzarek, that were acquaintances from UCLA’s film school, met again on the beach in Venice, CA. Morrison suggested the name from Aldous Huxley’s book on mescaline, “The Doors of Perception”, which was referred to a line in a poem by William Blake, “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to a man as it is, infinite”. Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore had classical music background combined with blues and were also improvising with jazz! It was the dark, unique voice and poetic lyrics of Morrison that made the band rise and sign with Elektra Records in 1966! Their first album (“The Doors” ) gave them their first hit, “Light my Fire”. They released 8 albums in five years, with great hits such as “People are Strange”, “Hello, I Love You”, “Queen of the Highway”, “Rider’s on the Storm” and “Love Her Madly”.
It was known that they were always pushing the boundaries, musically and lyrically, with an example of their hit song “The End”, an 11-minute drama with sexual lyrics, that made them one of the most questionable, influential and theatrical bands!
The group’s music included everything from blues to cabaret, but their pop hits created a bad opinion to some critics abating them, which bothered Morrison, who created an alter ego persona, the Lizard King. His unpredictable stage persona and his outrageous stunts conducted to his arrest in 1969, for exposing himself onstage in Miami! By then Morrison’s physical decay, because of his alcohol addiction, was noticeable!
The end was really close with the band’s tours becoming less frequent and after the release of “L.A. Girl” in 1971, Morrison went to Paris, where he left his last breathe because of heart failure at age 27! His headstone bears the Greek inscription “ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟ”, which means “According to his own demon”. The band had sold over 4 million records and over 7 million singles by the end of 1971!
Even though their journey was short lived, their star is still shining until this day, by being a strong influence over other amazing artists such as Iggy Pop, The Cult, Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder and many others! Their songs are used in TV shows, video games and in films, like Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola, in which the soundtrack of the bloody killing of Colonel Kurtz was “The End”! They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2007!