Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer of Love: The Doors

It has been suggested that Jim Morrison was Kurt Cobain before Kurt Cobain. Presuming this to be high praise, Morrison was probably the earliest-known quintessential tortured poet of the Rock Era. But when we saw him on The Ed Sullivan Show at our house in 1968, the Folks just couldn't get over the hair or the screaming.

And let's not forget them tight leather britches.

The name was inspired by Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception. Huxley was in turn inspired by a line from William Blake: "If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite." Singer-songwriter Morrison and bassist-keyboardist Ray Manzarek met while studying film at UCLA in 1965. They were eventually joined by drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger.

Manzarek was an innovator in that, rather than play bass guitar live, he would play the newly-invented Fender Rhodes bass keyboard with his left hand, and some other keyboard set with his right. Morrison was an innovator, not only for the hidden meanings in his lyrics, but for his very bad and sometimes lewd behavior, including on stage. One thing led to another, and Morrison eventually moved to Paris with his girlfriend. He was found dead in the bathtub in 1971, supposedly of a heart attack, even though no autopsy was ever performed. He was 27 years old.

Interest in the music and the legacy of The Doors remains to this day. Manzarek and Krieger still perform together, as the centerpiece of a reunion band (of sorts) known as "Riders on the Storm."

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