The Doors

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The Doors
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Doors’ gestation goes all the way back to a chance meeting between two students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) film school. Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek knew each other from college and became reacquainted one day on LA’s Venice Beach in July 1965, when Morrison, a poetry fan, told Manzarek he had been writing songs and, at Manzarek’s encouragement, sang Moonlight Drive. Manzarek later said: ‘When he sang those first lines – ‘Let’s swim to the moon / Let’s climb through the tide / Penetrate the evening / That city sleeps to hide’ – I said ‘That’s it’. I’d never heard lyrics to a rock song like that before. We talked a while before we decided to get a group together and make a million dollars.’

Ray Manczarek (he changed the spelling to ‘Manzarek’ when The Doors officially started) had moved to LA from Chicago in 1962, singing and playing occasional piano with the group formed by his brothers Rick and Jim, Rick & The Ravens. The Ravens played their own originals plus some cover songs, so it was fitting that when Jim Morrison sat in with the band on impulse he performed Louie Louie as his first public performance, losing his voice in the process. Soon after, Morrison accepted Ray Manczarek’s offer to join the band, which by then included drummer John Densmore of The Psychedelic Rangers, who had met Manczarek in meditation classes, joining The Ravens in August.

On September 2, 1965 The Ravens laid down six songs at World Pacific Jazz Studios, all of which would become future Doors numbers, with lyrics by Jim Morrison: Moonlight Drive, My Eyes Have Seen You, Hello, I Love You, Go Insane, End Of The Night and Summer’s Almost Gone. The three hour session featured Morrison on vocals, Ray Manczarek on piano / backing vocals, John Densmore on drums, Rick Manczarek on guitar, Jim Manczarek on harmonica and bass player Pat Sullivan, moonlighting from her band Patty & The Esquires. Recorded as a demo, the band had no success with it, and Rick and Jim Manczarek quit the group, who added guitar player Robbie Krieger, another former member of The Psychedelic Rangers. Krieger brought with him a knowledge of a wide range of guitar styles, including bottleneck guitar, which Jim Morrison apparently loved. The band’s first rehearsal with Krieger was at a garage belonging to a friend of theirs, Hank Olguin, situated behind a Santa Monica Greyhound bus depot in Venice, CA. The first song the four-piece performed was Moonlight Drive, according to Krieger.

Light My Fire

In October 1965, the band changed its name to The Doors at Jim Morrison’s suggestion. A fan of both Aldous Huxley and William Blake, Morrison took the name from a line in Huxley’s book The Doors Of Perception: ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.’ Huxley himself was referencing William Blake’s The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, so The Doors had two literary references in one, including a psychedelic connection.

In the short term, the Ravens’ demo disc paid off, because in October 1965 The Doors managed to line up a meeting with Columbia Records talent executive Billy James, who notified the band two days later that he wanted to sign the band to a five and a half year contract. The band began auditioning for club owners in order to start playing residencies in the LA area but were consistently turned down for not having a bass player, the players they had tried out never seeming to fit. The problem was solved when, in December 1965, Ray Manzarek, now using the new spelling, decided to play bass lines on the little-known Fender Rhodes PianoBass, a small 32-note keyboard playing in the lower range of a piano, eliminating the need for a bass player. He even got Columbia Records to pay for it. However, by late April 1966, having heard nothing further from Columbia, the band asked to be released from their contract, which apparently Columbia was happy to do, perceiving no major action on the horizon.

From early 1966 onwards The Doors started playing regularly in LA, initially scoring a residency at the London Fog club before graduating to the prestigious Whisky a Go-Go in May. Ray Manzarek said in 1972: ‘Ronnie Haran, the booking agent for the Whisky a Go-Go, came down to hear us, immediately fell in love with Jim, [and] loved the music.’ ‘We went from making $5 a night to union scale, $135 a week each – we felt like we were in heaven! We played with Them, Love, The Seeds, The Turtles, The Byrds. We were the openers.’

Quite soon after The Doors started performing at the Whiskey, Arthur Lee from Love badgered Elektra Records owner Jac Holzman to come and see the band. Love were signed to Elektra, and were performing at the Whisky too, not unnaturally expecting Holzman to attend. Holzman did turn up and was persuaded to stay on to see The Doors, although his first viewing left him unconvinced. Arthur Lee’s approval meant a lot, though, so Holzman persisted, eventually seeing the band four times, after which he decided ‘this was no ordinary rock ‘n’ roll band’.

An interesting combination occurred when The Doors opened for Them, featuring a young Van Morrison, on June 18th. The Doors jammed with Them at the end of the last show of Them’s booking, playing a 25-minute version of Wilson Pickett’s In The Midnight Hour followed by a further 20 minutes of Van Morrison’s Gloria. Van Morrison later commented that this performance with The Doors was one of the highlights of his career with Them. ‘It’s funny because we never knew Van Morrison or what he was like until he came to the Whisky, and there he was stomping around, throwing the mike just like Jim would, you know – oh no, my God, another Morrison!’ said Robby Krieger. Future Doors producer Paul Rothchild was to say ‘The thing that was so interesting to me was to learn how much chaos there was inside Them. It’s almost as if Jim studied their chaos and brought it into The Doors.’

On August 15th, Jac Holzman returned to the Whisky, bring in with him prospective producer Paul A. Rothchild. Rothchild didn’t rate the band’s first set, but stayed to hear the later show and was impressed enough for Holzman to offer to sign the band, who hired an attorney, taking till November to settle the terms.

Notwithstanding, arrangements were made to go into the studio to record, with Rothchild behind the desk. Just after The Doors played their final performance at the Whisky, fired by the venue management over the ‘obscenity’ in the lyrics to The End, the band recorded their debut album, from August 24 to 31, 1966 at Sunset Sound Recording Studios. Supervised by Paul Rothchild, the sessions were engineered by Bruce Botnick, who ended up producing LA Woman, with an uncredited Larry Knechtel playing bass guitar on Soul Kitchen, Twentieth Century Fox, Back Door Man, I Looked At You and Take It As It Comes. Knechtel, subsequently well-known for playing the piano on Bridge Over Troubled Water and the guitar solos on Guitar Man by Bread, of whom he was a later member, was a well-respected LA player and a veteran of many Phil Spector sessions as a member of his Wrecking Crew.

According to Rothchild, he and the group went for feel rather than perfection: ‘We didn’t stop at a perfect take, we stopped at one we felt had the muse in it. That was the most important thing, for the take to have the feel, even if there were musical errors.’

The Doors

A couple of songs were recorded that didn’t make it on to the album, including the recurring Moonlight Drive, which did eventually make it on to the second album Strange Days. The album was recorded only on 4 tracks of audio tape, so most of the performances were ‘live’ in the studio, with one track left spare for overdubs, but the band had played so many live dates that year that they were able to nail convincing performances of all the songs, all of which they knew inside out.

Jim Morrison, however, had already indulged in every substance he could, and had no fixed home, wandering all over LA and in the process ingesting quantities of drugs and alcohol. This meant that the band had to catch the muse where they could, the recordings reflecting the communal state of the four musicians.

Strong as the band’s original material was, the album also contained two covers: the Howlin’ Wolf blues classic Back Door Man, written by Willie Dixon, and Alabama Song (Whisky Bar). Alabama Song was originally published in Bertolt Brecht’s Hauspostille in 1927, and was set to music by Kurt Weill for the ‘Songspiel’ Mahagonny in the same year.

Most of the album features songs of around two or three minutes, in keeping with most songs created in 1966, but with two songs at least, The Doors approached their recording with the same improvisatory zeal as their gigs. Light My Fire ended the first side of the original vinyl LP, and came in at 7 minutes and 6 seconds, including long solos by Ray Manzarek on Vox Continental organ and Robby Krieger on guitar. Krieger recalled an instruction from Jim Morrison to the band to write more songs, and duly went home to work on one. Krieger said: ‘I knew it had to be pretty heavy, because Jim’s songs were very heavy. So I knew it had to be about earth, air, fire or water. I tried so many combinations: ‘Come on baby, breathe my air…come on, baby, share my earth’ It was pretty embarrassing until I finally got it to ‘Come on, baby, light my fire.’ That knocked Jim out.’

Ray Manzarek said: ‘Robby came in with the song and then we all went to work on it. The Doors’ communal mind took over. John Densmore put the Latin beats on it; Jim put the second verse in it. I put the solos and the introduction to it and Robby was the original song writer. And that’s how it all came about. So we all did it together.’ The final piece was the classical-sounding baroque keyboard introduction, which Manzarek provided: ‘We were at the beach house in Venice and I told John, Robby and Jim ‘Hey, go out to the beach and let me think about this for a second. You guys just go.’ And they walked out to the beach… and it just sort of fell into place as the introduction, the last thing needed for Light My Fire.

The other track that defined The Doors on the album was the much-remarked about The End. In the spirit of live performance, only two takes were done of the song, on successive days. Morrison was apparently high on acid to really capture the song on the first night, but totally took control on the next, capturing a piece of musical history. Ray Manzarek: ‘When it came time to do The End, a very different mood took Jim over. He became shamanistic and led the small group on a shamanistic voyage. He put himself into a trance and, through that, put us all into a trance.’

Producer Paul Rothchild described it as ‘the most awe-inspiring thing I’d ever witnessed in a studio…. The studio was completely dark except for a candle in Jim’s booth and the VU meters on the mixing board; all the other lights were off. It was a magic moment, and it was almost a shock when the song was over.’

For the final album version, Paul Rothchild used both takes, editing the song just before Morrison sings ‘The killer awoke before dawn…’ , at around 6:24. Morrison himself said: ‘We didn’t start out with such big ideas. We thought we were going to be just another pop group, but then something happened when we recorded The End. We saw that what we were doing was more important than just a hit song. We were writing serious music and performing it in a very dramatic way. The End is like going to see a movie when you already know the plot. It’s a timeless piece of material… It was then that we realized we were different from other groups. We were playing music that would last for years, not weeks.’

In November The Doors officially signed with Elektra for seven albums, in return for $5,000 (around $75,000 in 2010 dollars), with a further $5,000 paid for the band’s publishing rights, although years later the band were able to buy them back. Elektra boss Jac Holzman decided to hold back the release of the album until the beginning of 1967 to give The Doors more attention, and booked a billboard on LA’s Sunset Strip to advertise the album, the first ever for a rock album.

The band also reluctantly agreed to release Break On Through as their first single, although the lyric ‘She gets high / she gets high / she gets high’ was changed to She gets / she gets / she gets’ to appease censorious radio stations.

Break On Through failed to break through at radio and peaked at #126 on the chart, so attention switched to Light My Fire. Actually Elektra had planned to release Twentieth Century Fox, but LA DJ Jim Ladd reported that he was getting requests for Light My Fire which he couldn’t play because the song’s length. After an attempt to re-record the song proved unsatisfactory, the band agreed to let Paul Rothchild edit the album version down to less than 3 minutes, excising the long solos in the middle of the track.

Even then it wasn’t an instant smash, but finally airplay built up, helped by the ‘counter-culture’ explosion in the US during 1967, and eventually Light My Fire became the first single from Elektra Records to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, selling over a million copies.

The Doors made a steady climb up the Billboard 200, ultimately becoming a huge success in the US once Light My Fire scaled the charts, with the album peaking at #2 on the chart in September 1967 and going on to achieve multi-platinum status.

In Europe, the band would have to wait slightly longer for similar recognition, with Light My Fire originally stalling at #49 in the UK singles chart and the album failing to chart at all. However, in 1991, buoyed by the high profile of Oliver Stone’s film The Doors, a re-issue of Light My Fire made #7 in the singles chart and the album made #43. It eventually spent more time on the UK chart than any other Doors studio album.

The album is #42 on Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’ and is also in ‘The Rolling Stone Hall Of Fame’.

Important Dates In The Life Of The Doors:

On this day in music
18 Jan 2015
American session drummer Dallas Taylor died of complications from viral pneumonia and kidney disease, aged 66. He is best known as the drummer on Crosby, Stills and Nash's debut album, Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969) and their follow-up with Neil Young, Déjà Vu (1970) as well as appearing on Stephen Stills' eponymous first solo album in 1970. Taylor was the drummer for Stills' group Manassas in 1972 and 1973. In 1970, Dallas sat in with The Doors accompanying John Densmore on drums. Jim Morrison acknowledges him on The Doors Live in New York album.
20 May 2013
Ray Manzarek, keyboard player and founder member of the The Doors died aged 74. Manzarek, who had suffered from bile duct cancer for many years, died in a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, with his wife and brothers at his bedside. He formed The Doors with lead singer Jim Morrison in 1965 after a chance meeting in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.
20 Aug 2009
American keyboard player and bassist Larry Knechtel died at the age of 69 of an apparent heart attack. He is best known as a member of the Wrecking Crew who worked with such artists as Simon And Garfunkel, Duane Eddy, The Beach Boys, (The Doors, Jerry Garcia, Elvis Presley, and as a member of the 1970s band Bread.
14 Jul 2009
Michael Jackson fans from all over the world congregated at London's O2 arena, where the star had been due to begin his run of 50 concerts. Fans who left messages to a wall of tributes and conducted Jackson sing-a-longs, held a minute's silence at 1830 BST to mark the time when the doors to the concert would have opened.
1 Nov 2008
US drummer and singer Jimmy Carl Black died. He was a member of The Keys, The Soul Giants, The Mothers Of Invention and Jimmy Carl Black And The Mannish Boys. Also worked with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, Joe Cocker, Grateful Dead and The Turtles.
31 Jan 2007
Jim Morrison was enlisted to help fight global warming more than 35 years after his death. 'Woman in the Window', a previously unreleased poem written and recorded by The Doors frontman shortly before he died in 1971 was being set to music and used to publicise the Global Cool campaign.
1 Nov 2004
A man who allegedly stalked Australian pop star Natalie Imbruglia, was deemed too mentally ill to be interviewed by police. The 44-year-old fan was arrested after turning up on the doorstep of the singer's £2m home in Berkshire after flying to London from Australia.
12 Feb 2003
Former Doors drummer John Densmore took out legal action against The Doors keyboard player Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger for breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition. The band had reformed with Ex- Cult singer Ian Astbury and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. Densmore said "It shouldn't be called The Doors if it's someone other than Jim Morrison singing."
22 Nov 2002
The surviving members of The Doors Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, announced they would record and tour again with a new line up including ex- Cult singer Ian Astbury and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. Original drummer John Densmore was not able to take part because he was suffering from severe tinnitus.
21 Jun 2001
John Lee Hooker, American blues singer and guitarist died in his sleep aged 83. Had hits with 'Boom Boom', 'Dimples' and 'I'm In The Mood'. His songs have been covered by many artists including Cream, AC/DC, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, The Yardbirds, The Doors and The White Stripes. He appeared and sang in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers.
29 Jan 2001
A New York based data company issued a chart listing sales of posthumous albums. The idea came about after radio stations wanted to distinguish between proper recordings when the artists were alive and CD's released after they died. Mike Shalett founder of SoundScan said there was only one problem. What to call the chart. The Top 5 chart had The Doors at No.5, Eva Cassidy at 4, Jimi Hendrix at 3, Bob Marley at 2 and 2Pac at No.1.
12 Feb 1977
Blondie, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and the Ramones all appeared at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, California. The Whisky played an important role in many musical careers. During the 60s The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and Love were regulars and The Doors were the house band for a while.
25 Apr 1974
Pamela Courson the long-term companion of the late Jim Morrison died of a drugs overdose. It was Courson who found The Doors singer dead on July 3, 1971 in the bathtub of their apartment in Paris, France.
3 Jul 1973
Laurens Hammond the inventor of the Hammond organ died aged 73. Many rock artists including Procol Harum, Keith Emerson, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Allman Brothers Band and the Faces featured the sound of the Hammond. He also invented a silent spring-driven clock and during the second world war he helped design guided missile systems.
13 Jul 1972
During a North American tour The Rolling Stones played the first of two nights at the Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan. The Doors, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Kiss have all appeared here.
21 May 1972
The Doors, Pink Floyd, the Faces, Family, Curved Air, Atomic Rooster, The Kinks, Rory Gallagher, Uriah Heep, Country Joe McDonald, Buddy Miles, Status Quo, Brinsley Schwarz, Spencer Davis, The Strawbs and Humble Pie all appeared at the 2nd British Rock Meeting, Insel Grun, Germersheim, West Germany. The festival was due to take place in Mannheim, West Germany, but after protests from the locals, the concert actually took place in nearby Germersheim.
3 Jul 1971
American singer, songwriter and poet, Jim Morrison of The Doors was found dead in a bathtub in Paris, France, the cause of death was given as a heart attack. He co-wrote some of the group's biggest hits, including ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Love Me Two Times’, and ‘Love Her Madly.’ On the 25th anniversary of his death an estimated 15,000 fans gathered at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France to pay their respects.
11 Mar 1971
Jim Morrison of The Doors arrived in Paris booking into The Hotel George's. The following week he moved into an apartment at 17 Rue Beautreillis in Paris. Morrison lived in Paris until his death on July 3rd 1971, (two years to the day after the death of the Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, and approximately nine months after the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin).
12 Dec 1970
The Doors played what would be their last ever live show with Jim Morrison when they played at the Warehouse in New Orleans.
30 Oct 1970
Jim Morrison of The Doors was fined and sentenced to six months in jail after being found guilty of exposing himself during a gig in Miami.
20 Sep 1970
Jim Morrison of The Doors was acquitted on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior, but was found guilty of exposing himself during a concert at The Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove a year and a half earlier. At his trial at the Dade County Courthouse in Miami, Judge Goodman sentenced Morrison to six months hard labor and a $500 (£270), fine for public exposure and sixty days hard labor for profanity. The sentence was appealed, but Morrison was never brought to trial, as he would die in Paris France on July 3, 1971.
26 Aug 1970
Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, (his last ever UK appearance), Donovan, Jethro Tull, Miles Davis, Arrival, Cactus, Family, Taste, Mungo Jerry, ELP, The Doors, The Who, Spirit, The Moody Blues, Chicago, Procol Harum, Sly and the Family Stone and Free all appeared over three days at the third  Isle Of Wight Festival. Weekend tickets, £3.
17 Jan 1970
The Doors played the first of four shows at the Felt Forum in New York City. The shows were recorded for the band's forthcoming Absolutely Live album. The Doors' producer Paul A. Rothchild claimed to have painstakingly edited the album from many different shows to create one cohesive concert. According to Rothchild, the best part of a song from one performance may have been spliced together with another part of the same song from another performance, in an attempt to create "the ultimate concert". He stated that there must be 2,000 edits on the album.
11 Nov 1969
The FBI in Phoenix, Arizona arrested Jim Morrison for drunk and disorderly conduct aboard a plane. The Doors singer who was on his way to a Rolling Stones concert with actor Tom Baker had been drinking and annoying the stewardesses. The pair spent the night in jail and were released on $2,500 bail.
13 Sep 1969
John Lennon & Yoko Ono flew to Canada to perform at the Rock & Roll Revival Show in Toronto, Canada. The band members Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann and drummer Alan White were put together so late that they had to rehearse on the plane from England. Also making an appearance at the concert were Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Bo Diddley, The Doors and Alice Cooper. Lennon later released his performance as the Live Peace in Toronto 1969 album.
25 Jul 1969
The Seattle Pop Festival took place at the Gold Creek Park, Woodinville, Washington. Acts who appeared over three days included, Chuck Berry, Tim Buckley, The Byrds, Chicago Transit Authority, Albert Collins, Bo Diddley, The Doors, The Flock, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Guess Who, It's A Beautiful Day, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Spirit, Ten Years After, Ike and Tina Turner, Vanilla Fudge, Alice Cooper and The Youngbloods.
3 Apr 1969
The Doors' Jim Morrison turned himself in to the FBI in Los Angeles. He was charged on six charges of lewd behavior and public exposure at a concert in Miami on March 2nd, 1969. He was later released on $2000 bail.
1 Mar 1969
Jim Morrison of The Doors was charged with lewd and lascivious behaviour after showing his penis to the audience during a show in Miami. He was found guilty and sentenced to eight months hard labour. Morrison died in Paris while the sentence was on appeal.
24 Jan 1969
The Doors appeared at Madison Square Garden, New York City, They were paid over $50,000 for the gig making them one of the highest paid acts this year.
23 Sep 1968
Working on new songs for their forthcoming 'White Album' The Doors came to visit The Beatles in the studio and watched them recording.
15 Sep 1968
The Doors were forced to perform as a trio at a concert in Amsterdam after singer Jim Morrison collapsed while dancing during the Jefferson Airplane's performance.
7 Sep 1968
The Doors played the first of two nights at The Roundhouse, London, playing 2 shows a night on their first UK visit. Granada TV filmed the sold out gigs (later shown as "The Doors Are Open"), which were attended by members of The Rolling Stones and Traffic.
5 Sep 1968
On their first ever visit to the UK The Doors appeared on Top Of The Pops performing 'Hello I Love You' live on the TV show.
17 Aug 1968
The Doors started a four-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with Waiting For The Sun. The group's third album spawned their second US No.1 single, 'Hello, I Love You'.
3 Aug 1968
The Doors started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Hello I Love You', the group's second US No.1. 'Hello I Love You', was also in the Top 5 at the same time as Jose Feliciano's version of 'Light My Fire', giving The Doors two songs, written by the group, simultaneously in the Top 5.
2 Aug 1968
The Doors started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Hello I Love You', the group's second US No.1. The Doors scored 8 top 40 US hits from 67-71.
8 Jul 1968
Pink Floyd kicked off their first 20-date North American tour at the Kinetic Playground in Chicago. The club became a driving force in the music business, hosting famous rock acts such as The Doors, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Byrds, Janis Joplin, The Mothers of Invention, Grateful Dead, MC5, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Fleetwood Mac, Vanilla Fudge, Muddy Waters and Jefferson Airplane.
29 Jan 1968
The Doors appeared at The Pussy Cat A Go Go, Las Vegas. After the show singer Jim Morrison taunts a security guard in the parking lot by pretending to smoke a joint, resulting in a fight. The police arrive who arrest Morrison and charge him with vagrancy, public drunkenness, and failure to possess sufficient identification.
28 Jan 1968
Jim Morrison of The Doors was arrested and charged with public drunkenness after harassing a security guard at a Las Vegas adult movie theatre.
27 Dec 1967
The Doors appeared on the Jonathon Winters Show CBS TV show from Los Angeles, California.
9 Dec 1967
The Doors appeared at the New Haven Arena, New Haven, Connecticut. Before the show a policeman found singer Jim Morrison making out with an 18 year-old girl in a backstage shower and after an argument the policeman sprays mace in Morrison’s face. Once on stage Morrison tells the story of the backstage episode and starts taunting the police who drag him off the stage and arrest him. The crowd riots leaving the venue in disarray and many are arrested. Later over 100 protestors gathered at the police station in demonstration and more arrests were made.
11 Oct 1967
The Doors appeared at Danbury High School, Danbury, Connecticut. Before the group came on stage an announcer told the audience not to leave their seats during the performance or they would be escorted out of the venue. There was also a beauty pageant just prior to The Doors coming on stage.
6 Oct 1967
The Doors appeared at the Cal State Gymnasium, Los Angeles, California. With The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and The Sunshine Company.
5 Oct 1967
The Doors played the final night of a five night run at Steve Paul's Scene in New York City.
22 Sep 1967
The Doors appeared on the Murray the K show on WPIX-TV in New York City performing 'People Are Strange' and 'Light My Fire.'
17 Sep 1967
The Doors were banned from The Ed Sullivan Show after Jim Morrison broke his agreement with the show’s producers. Morrison said before the performance that he wouldn’t sing the words, ‘Girl, we couldn’t get much higher,’ from 'Light My Fire' but did anyway. The Doors also performed their new single 'People Are Strange.'
21 Aug 1967
The Doors started recording their second album at Sunset Sound Studios, Hollywood, California.
29 Jul 1967
The Doors started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with an edited version of 'Light My Fire'. The group's first US No.1, it only reached No.49 on the UK chart. Eventually, many radio stations in the US would start playing the full six minute and fifty second album cut, which features a longer instrumental break.
15 Jul 1967
The Doors and The Jefferson Airplane both played an afternoon and evening show to over 8,000 fans at Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California.
14 Jun 1967
The Doors appeared at Steve Paul's Scene, New York City, Jimi Hendrix was in the audience to see the show.
3 Jun 1967
The Doors 'Light My Fire' was released in the US, where it went on to be No.1 on the singles chart two months later. When The Doors were booked to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show they were asked to change the line "girl, we couldn't get much higher", as the sponsors were uncomfortable with the possible reference to drug-taking. The band agreed to do so, and did a rehearsal using the amended lyrics; however, during the live performance, lead singer Jim Morrison sang the original lyric, after which they were informed they would never appear on the Ed Sullivan show again.
9 Apr 1967
The Doors and The Jefferson Airplane appeared at Cheetah, Santa Monica Pier, Venice, California. This was the largest show The Doors had played to date with a crowd of over 3,000
4 Jan 1967
The Doors released their self-titled debut album The Doors. The album features their breakthrough single 'Light My Fire' and the lengthy song 'The End' with its Oedipal spoken word section. The album was recorded at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, California over six days and unique packaging of the album included each band members bio.
1 Jan 1967
The Doors made their first live television appearance lip-synching their first single 'Break on Through' on Shebang, KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles. The single peaked No. 126 on the US chart mainly due to lack of airplay after censors objected to the drug use implied by the line "she gets high", which is repeated in the middle section of the song.
1 Nov 1966
The Doors played the first night of a month long residency at the Ondine Discotheque, Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
24 Aug 1966
The Doors started recording their first album at Sunset Sound Recording Studios, West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.
18 Aug 1966
The Doors officially signed with Elektra Records in a deal for the band to produce seven albums. The band also reluctantly agreed to release ‘Break On Through’ as their first single. The lyric "She gets high/she gets high/she gets high" was changed to ‘She gets/she gets/she gets" in order to secure radio play.
24 May 1966
Captain Beefheart appeared at the Whisky a Go Go. West Hollywood, California. Supported by Buffalo Springfield and The Doors.
9 May 1966
The Doors played at the Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood, California auditioning for the position of the venue's house band.
2 Sep 1965
The Doors recorded their first demos at World Pacific Jazz Studios in Los Angeles, California, where they cut six Jim Morrison songs.
5 Aug 1957
American Bandstand first aired on US TV. Dick Clark had replaced Bob Horn the previous year when the show was still called Bandstand, Clark went on to host the show until 1989. Countless acts appeared on the show over the years, including ABBA, The Doors, Talking Heads, Madonna, Otis Redding, R.E.M. and Pink Floyd.
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. J

    January 6, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    My first date with my first “boyfriend” was to see The Doors at the Annapolis Armory in the summer of 1967! What am amazing night seeing, hearing and dancing the night away!

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