The DOORS – ” The Doors ” Released 4th January 1967 New 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Posted: January 4, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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It has been called one of the defining albums of a generation. It was released on January. 4th, 1967 that The Doors released their debut album, “The Doors.” The LP was recorded in August 1966 and it was originally released in different stereo and mono mixes. It features the breakthrough single “Light My Fire”, extended with an instrumental section mostly omitted on the single release, and the lengthy song featured the band with Jim Morrison, The Doors, John Densmore, Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger.

When the Doors’ debut album came out during the first week of 1967, it sounded little like the other pop music that was getting airplay alongside its breakthrough single, “Light My Fire.” No bassist, an organ player who pretty much dominated every song and a singer who often came off like he was a drunken poet in search of an open mic and a drink – who would have thought they’d become of rock’s most significant bands? Featuring a mix of blues, cabaret and originals that were a little bit of both plus a dash of the emerging psychedelic scene, ‘The Doors’ – one of the best debut albums ever made – still resonates as deftly played and arranged art-rock disguised as classic rock ‘n’ roll.

The Doors self-titled debut album, which was released 50 years ago today, will mark its golden anniversary with a three-disc deluxe edition.

The Doors: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition will be released by Rhino on March 31st and will include remastered stereo and mono mixes of the original album plus a disc of live recordings from a concert at San Francisco’s Matrix on March 7, 1967.

The package will also include an LP version of the original album in the newly remastered mono mix. You can see the full track listing for the set below. (The Doors: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition will also be available digitally.)

This will be the first time the album’s original mono mix appears on CD. The album’s original stereo mix also gets an upgrade for the first time in 30 years. The eight live tracks – all originally from the debut album – appear in new forms too. The songs were first released in 2008, but the new versions come from the original tapes, which were thought to be lost. The earlier tracks were taken from a third-generation tape.

The Doors: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition‘s announcement comes on the Day Of The Doors. Los Angeles will honor the band today with a public event at the intersection of Pacific and Windward avenues, the site of the “Venice” sign. Surviving Doors members John Densmore and Robbie Kreiger will be on hand at the event with members of the late Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison’s families.

The liner notes to the 40th Anniversary edition of The Doors’ debut has an introduction by Bruce Botnick, who engineered the original sessions back in 1966, where he states: “When the album was mixed at Elektra studios in New York, either the 4-track playback recorder was running slow, or the stereo 2-track was running fast. So now with the new mixes, you will hear the entire album at the correct speed and the correct pitch.

The newly released set is unquestionably the best sounding version I have ever heard.

Break On Through (To the Other Side)” is the intense first track, and after nearly fifty years the song has incredibly lost none of its edge. And in only two and a half minutes it packs a serious punch the likes of which many rock bands today can only dream of. Fresh and edgy, there is an almost controlled element of violence and danger contained within its grooves, as well as a certain degree of urgency in the band’s delivery. Forget about “Good Vibrations”, now there was a new, more malevolent force in town.

Next is “Soul Kitchen”, which was maybe an attempt by The Doors at writing a pop song. The 60’s were strange times, and when you had tunes such as Pink Floyd’s “See Emily Play” doing well in the charts a song like this doesn’t seem so weird after all. Manzarek’s keyboard introduction foreshadows “When the Music’s Over”, from their second album, while guitarist Robby Krieger weaves his spidery webs, as Morrison croons in his usual hazardous and foreboding manner.

“The Crystal Ship” would serve as a mature template for the sort of ballads Morrison was to compose in future. Although extremely short in length (by today’s standards), in those days less was more, and if you couldn’t say everything you wanted in under three minutes, then it probably wasn’t worth recording. “Twentieth Century Fox” is another fine tune and a worthy if somewhat cynical commentary by Morrison on the fashion scene back then, a time when people put a little more effort into how they looked. And just to spice things up, we have some German Cabaret, in the form of a cover of Brecht and Weill’s “Alabama Song”, here titled “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)”. It’s an unusual choice for a rock group, but then The Doors were certainly not your ordinary rock band.

Ending side one is the song everybody knows. “Light My Fire” was actually written by Robbie Krieger, although Morrison did also  contribute some of the lyrics, and Ray Manzarek certainly added a little magic of his own. When they released “Break On Through” as their first single it failed to find an audience. However all that would change with their next single, which proved to be a monumental hit, and would help to propel the album into the American charts.

“Light My Fire” was a grandiose statement, of The Doors at their very peak as a creative unit. Manzarek’s Baroque inspired keyboard solo is absolutely glorious, as is Krieger’s guitar playing. And form 1967, there was nothing else like it.

Side two kicks off with the Willie Dixon classic “Backdoor Man”, just to prove that the blues was just as integral to their sound as Bach. Morrison snarls his way through the lyrics, while the other members whack away on their instruments, as if to punish them for some alleged sin they may or may not have committed.

“I Looked at You” is your typical mid 60’s jangly pop song. The moody “End of the Night” is at least atmospheric, while “Take It as It Comes” reminds me of Jefferson Airplane for some reason, which means that it’s a decent album track, but not much more than that.

Finally we come to “The End”, what is undoubtedly the band’s magnum opus, and a grandiloquent musical statement if there ever was, at least from a rock band. Producer Paul A. Rothchild described the song’s recording as “the most awe-inspiring thing I’d ever witnessed in a studio”. And when one sees footage of them performing it live, much of the audience looked fairly ‘awe-inspired’ too. The track itself is part existential journey than anything else, something which can either hypnotize you, terrify you, or both simultaneously. With Manzarek’s spooky organ, Krieger’s woozy spaced out guitar and John Densmore’s sharp as knives drumming, all provide a thrilling, near cinematic backdrop for Morrison’s dystopian lyrics. Certainly nothing like this had ever before been attempted in popular music.

When released in January 1967, The Doors was a landmark LP , A band who were as innovative as they were dangerous.

‘The Doors: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition’ Track Listing
Disc One (Original Stereo Mix)
Disc Two (Original Mono Mix)
1. “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”
2. “Soul Kitchen”
3. “The Crystal Ship”
4. “Twentieth Century Fox”
5. “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)”
6. “Light My Fire”
7. “Back Door Man”
8. “I Looked At You”
9. “End Of The Night”
10. “Take It As It Comes”
11. “The End”

Disc Three: Live At The Matrix, March 7th, 1967
1. “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”
2. “Soul Kitchen”
3. “The Crystal Ship”
4. “Twentieth Century Fox”
5. “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)”
6. “Light My Fire”
7. “Back Door Man”
8. “The End”



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