The Doors’ 20 greatest songs, from Love Her Madly to Light My Fire
FFifty years after the death of their singer Jim Morrison in a Parisian bathtub on July 3, 1971, the Doors continue to divide opinions. Their fans will not tolerate any arguments as to the band’s place in history as one of the most imaginative, inspiring and influential bands of the rock age. To their detractors, they are a sham of self-indulgence. Whatever your perspective, however, there’s no denying the power and lasting impact of many of their songs.
As the frontman and main songwriter, Morrison – the prototype of the self-destructing rocker – was the focal point of The Doors, but he was by no means the whole show. Ray Manzarek’s signature keyboards provided the hypnotic groove that fueled much of the band’s material, and stable rock drummer John Densmore and the less demonstrative Robbie Krieger – a versatile and tasteful guitarist who also wrote most of Doors’ songs, including almost all of the signature “Light My Fire” tunes – were essential to the band’s sound.
Krieger said a few years ago that one of the reasons The Doors was still so viable was that they didn’t have bad songs. Well, that statement is open to scrutiny, but over six studio albums they’ve certainly produced a remarkable number of intriguing songs and more than a few classics.
Here are the 20 best songs from The Doors:
20) Moonlight Drive (Strange Days, 1967)
The song Jim Morrison sang to Ray Manzarek on Venice Beach in Los Angeles on a balmy night in 1965 – prompting the keyboardist to suggest they form a band and “make a million dollars” – was held up until second Doors album. With a striking slide guitar by Robbie Krieger, what starts off as a warm love song takes on a typically Morrison cryptic side as the song progresses.
19) Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) (The Doors, 1967)
A bold and unusual move to cover Bertolt Brecht / Kurt Weill’s drinking song which sounds like it was made for the band. This could be because Doors producer Paul Rothschild viewed Morrison and Brecht as soul mates who defied the conventions of their different eras. But in fact, it was Ray Manzarek who suggested The Doors to record the song.
18) Waiting for the Sun (Morrison Hotel, 1970)
“Waiting for the Sun” should have been the title track from The Doors third album but it wasn’t ready so it looks a bit out of place on Morrison Hotel, on which the group triumphantly revisits its blues roots. However, the combination of Krieger’s alternately melodic and fuzz guitars and Manzarek’s sinister keyboards, as well as some classic Morrison myths (“This is the strangest life I’ve ever known”), sums up the supernatural mystique of the group.
17) Hello, I love you (Waiting for the sun, 1968)
The Doors in their most commercial version, an American No. 1 and the band’s only British hit during Morrison’s lifetime, with lyrics written by the frontman after seeing a girl walking along Venice Beach. Robby Krieger then added the music and refutes the main riff’s accusations of similarity to Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night”. However, he claims to have picked up the rhythm of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Life”.
16) Strange Days (1967). (Strange Days, 1967)
With their second album, The Doors realized the possibilities offered by the new innovations of the studios; the title song features one of the earliest uses of the moog synthesizer. It gave Morrison’s double-track vocals a fitting psychedelic vibe, on this timely talk about the state of the nation from the perspective of a puzzled older generation of Americans.
15) The Unknown Soldier (Waiting for the Sun, 1968)
The son of an admiral who served in the Vietnam War expresses Morrison’s unease with the way the conflict was portrayed in the media. Released as a single just as these horrors were airing in the homes of a nation, “The Unknown Soldier” spoke out against the futility of war and was graphically illustrated by a promotional film showing Morrison being executed by a squad of warriors. ‘execution.
14) When the music is over (1967). (Strange Days, 1967)
Lasting 11 minutes, this attempt to replicate the impact and power of the closest epic debut album “The End” is almost overwhelmed by its own pretension, only saved by superb musicality and Morrison’s signature theatrical voice. . Robby Krieger’s acid-rock solo is a highlight and amidst the apocalyptic imagery is one of those lines from Morrison’s canon that are firmly anchored in memory: “Cancel my resurrection subscription. ”
13) Love Me Twice (Strange Days, 1967)
A favorite of soldiers serving in Vietnam, who identified with lyrics such as “Love me two times / I’m goin ‘away”, this bouncy blues rocker sounded perfect for radio. His suggestive words worked against him, however, and he received limited circulation. Now the real highlight of “Love Me Two Times” is without a doubt the magic of Manzarek on the harpsichord.
12) The Changeling (LA Woman, 1971)
The peerless blues-rock kicked off The Doors’ latest album with the now ravaged voice of Morrison, adding the requisite gravity and arrogance to “The Changeling”. “Let loose,” he growls, amid the funniest groove of all The Doors tracks and the perfect example of how tight a band has become. Lyrics about leaving town would prove prophetic, as Morrison would decamp to Paris shortly after recording Wife.
11) Love her madly (LA Woman, 1971)
Written by Robbie Krieger, this hit single from Wife prompted longtime Doors producer Paul Rothchild to throw in the towel and hand the reins over to Bruce Botnick. “Cocktail music,” according to Rothchild, while “Love Her Madly” is almost sunny Californian pop, but with the usual Doors kick: “Don’t you love her as she walks through the door? “
10) The Crystal Ship (The Doors, 1967)
The title of this haunting psychedelic ballad, a song by Morrison’s farewell to a former lover, may refer to the band themselves and the “thousand thrills” of being a part of The Doors. It’s certainly The Doors in its most enigmatic form – and Morrison in its most poetic form. If Manzarek’s classically-inspired keyboards don’t grab you, then Morrison’s opening verse (“Before You Slip Into Consciousness / I Wish I Had Another Kiss”), surely will.
9) People are Strange (Strange Days, 1967)
A Morrison / Krieger co-writing with Morrison’s lyrics inspired by a walk around the booming Laurel Canyon scene, “People are Strange” has an “Alabama Song” twist to it, thanks to its influences original German theatrical shows. The group performed a memorable version of it on the Ed Sullivan Show, in which the excitement and anticipation of the audience is palpable.
8) Fog of Peace (Morrison Hotel, 1970)
The lyrics of this thrilling rocker merge harrowing memories of Morrison’s childhood, observations of contemporary civil unrest in America, and Morrison’s impending trials following incidents at concerts in New Haven and Miami. However, “Peace Frog” is best known for Robby Krieger’s funky guitar masterclass, before it beautifully morphs into a wonderfully romantic “Blue Sunday”. Morrison’s growl becomes a song of honey again.
7) Touch Me (The Soft Parade, 1969)
Demonstrating why he was known as “The Psychedelic Sinatra,” Morrison applied his sweetest vocals to this playful and brilliant American top three singles written by Robby Krieger. To prove how awesome a singer Morrison could be, watch The Doors performing “Touch Me” on the Brothers suffocate on YouTube, for one of the greatest live vocal performances you can experience.
6) Break on Through (The Doors, 1967)
The Doors debut single opened their debut album and immediately established their taboo-defying manifesto. The lyrics, to an irresistible bossa nova beat, epitomize their determination to break down barriers (or gates of perception if you prefer). The single innovates indeed, with one of the first promotional films of rock.
5) Roadhouse Blues (Morrison Hotel, 1970)
The biggest compliment I can give “Roadhouse Blues” is that on first listen I assumed it was a traditional blues song that had been updated. It’s not, it’s a band co-written with lyrics by Morrison, and it’s so authentic with the wasted voice of Morrison growling the lyrics, and John Sebastian of Lovin ‘Spoonful blowing up a storm on the harmonica, which it quickly became a standard on its own.
4) Riders on the Storm (LA Woman, 1971)
With its grim near-death mood, “Riders on the Storm” may have become the Doors’ best-known song. The striking sound effects of distant thunder and falling rain, along with Morrison’s layered whispered vocals, create the eerie atmosphere, while Ray Manzarek’s ethereal rain-mimicking piano adds a jazzy quality. WifeMorrison’s last track – Morrison’s last recording with The Doors – was the singer’s long farewell and continues to cast his ghostly shadow 50 years later.
3) The End (The Doors, 1967)
Perhaps the most controversial song of its time, Morrison’s magnum opus proved to be a key part of The Doors legend, especially after its use in Apocalypse Now. A catastrophic eleven minute epic based on the Greek tragedy of edipus who killed his father and made love to his mother, “The End”, proved a fitting climax for a groundbreaking debut album.
2) THE WOMAN (THE WOMAN, 1971)
Hollywood bungalows, cops in cars and topless bars come to life on Wife’magnificent title song, an unofficial anthem for Los Angeles. A punchy bassline courtesy of Jerry Scheff, Elvis’ bassist, opens the proceedings, while the catchy drums of John Densmore and the defining musicality of Manzarek and Krieger set the stage for Morrison’s final trip through the “City” of Night “.
1) Light my fire (The Doors, 1967)
A celebration of erotic ecstasy containing all of their sex and death motifs, which has long since become a standard. This is the song that introduced The Doors to the world at large when the truncated single hit the top of the US charts in the summer of 1967. For the ultimate listening experience, the seven-minute album track remains essential. . It captures individual members at their best, with Manzarek’s swirling and spiraling organ, Krieger’s memorable solo, Densmore’s constant power and Morrison’s iconic voice intertwine to create The Doors signature song.