Posts Tagged ‘John Densmore’

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The premiere of “Break On Thru: A Celebration of Ray Manzarek and The Doors,” at Asbury Park Music And Film Festival is now sold out!.

Break On Thru: A Celebration of Ray Manzarek and The Doors is a concert documentary from a 2016 all-star performance in Los Angeles that John Densmore and Robby Krieger, the two surviving members of The Doors, developed to celebrate what would have been Manzarek’s 70th birthday. As well as the all star concert there’s never before seen footage from The Doors archives and new Interviews from Densmore and Krieger. It’s a one of a kind documentary about a very special person and a legendary rock band.

VIDEO: The Doors at the Asbury Park Convention Hall in New Jersey in ’68. See more footage in the film, “Break On Thru: A Celebration of Ray Manzarek and The Doors”!

Find out more about the festival here:


In the late 1960s, the Doors, and particularly their frontman Jim Morrison, were one of the most unpredictable live acts on the planet. You simply didn’t know what they were going to do or how long they were going to do it for. Just two weeks after the Fillmore East opened, Bill Graham booked the Southern California psych rockers to play four sets of music spread across two nights. The final set on the second evening was the one to catch.

Doors Jim Morrison Performing Fillmore East

That night, the Doors played their regular collection of material but apparently enjoyed themselves so much that they came back after most of the crowd had thinned out and played again for nearly an hour. It was an incredible showing, and left a tremendous impression on one audience member in particular: future punk poetess Patti Smith. Her boyfriend, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, was working as an usher at the venue and managed to get her a free pass to the show. It was a galvanizing experience, as she explained in her autobiography Just Kids. “I felt, watching Jim Morrison, that I could do that,” Smith wrote.





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We’ve got an exclusive premiere of a live version of “Twentieth Century Fox” from the upcoming 50th-anniversary edition of the Doors‘ celebrated self-titled debut album. This sparkling update, taken from recently rediscovered original master tapes, was recorded on March 7th, 1967, at the Matrix in San Francisco. Only third-generation versions of this show were previously available.

“Twentieth Century Fox” is one of eight live tracks that appear on the forthcoming three-disc The Doors: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. Due on March 31st, the set includes remastered stereo and mono mixes of the original album, along with a third disc of songs from the Doors’ performance at the Matrix. Also included is an LP version of the original album with a newly remastered mono mix.

This new box follows the limited-edition archival London Fog 1966 set, which was released late last year. Surviving Doors members John Densmore and Robby Krieger have promised that more anniversary-related items are on the way.

“London Fog is the first limited-edition release, but it’s jump-starting the whole thing,” Densmore . “There will be more stuff, including a couple of films – including one you haven’t seen before. I’m very excited about that.”

The Doors rose to No. 2 after its January. 4th, 1967, release, and produced the No. 1 smash “Light My Fire” on the way to four-times platinum sales. “Break on Through (To the Other Side),” this album’s lead single, somehow failed to break into the Top 100, but later became a signature song for the group.

Live at The Isle Of Wight Festival – the last concert ever filmed of The Doors will be issued for the first time next month.

The concert footage has been restored and colour-corrected and the entire show has been mixed into 5.1 surround sound from the original multi-tracks by Bruce Botnick.

The performance was filmed in August 1970, in front of 600,000 people. Ray Manzarek described the performance as “subdued but very intense” adding, “we played with a controlled fury and Jim was in fine vocal form. He sang for all he was worth, but moved nary a muscle. Dionysus had been shackled.” This is a reference to Jim Morrison’s Miami obscenity trial which was at the time ongoing and weighing heavily on the band.

The fairly short but historic set includes such staples as Roadhouse Blues, Break On Through (To The Other Side), and Light My Fire.

This release is available as both blu-ray+CD and DVD+CD combo packs, although annoyingly, it looks like the former is exclusive to North America/Canada. Standalone Blu-ray and DVD are also available and all the DVD and Blu-ray elements contain a bonus feature This Is The End, with interviews conducted by the film’s original director Murray Lerner with Krieger, Densmore, original Doors manager Bill Siddons and archival interview footage of Manzarek from 2002.

New York, NY (December 14, 2017) — The historic last concert ever filmed of The Doors is now available for the first time. Eagle Rock Entertainment proudly presents The Doors: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 on DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD and Digital Video on February 23, 2018.

This is the last known unseen performance of The Doors in existence, The Doors: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 has been completely recut and remixed, from the original film footage. Fully approved by The Doors, this previously unreleased concert was meticulously restored via the latest 21st century technology, color correcting and visually upgrading the original footage. The entire concert, which is now presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, was mixed from the original multi-track audio by longtime Doors engineer / mixer / co-producer Bruce Botnick. Fans may have caught a glimpse of this performance in the 1997 Isle of Wight film Message To Love, however this DVD presents The Doors’ set with the full-length songs in maximum visual and sound quality.

The scene is August 1970… Frontman Jim Morrison’s ongoing obscenity trial, from an incident a year prior in Miami, weighs heavily on the band. “The Last Great Festival” is taking place in England, which boasted a venerable who’s who of 1970’s top acts: Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and more… The band touches down on the Isle of Wight. The show must go on.

The Doors: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 captures and showcases the essence of this poignant performance, as well as offering a snapshot of the era, with footage of fans (over 600,000 in attendance) tearing down barriers and crashing the gates to gain access to the event.

The Doors hit the stage at 2:00AM on August 30, 1970, delivering a set that further proved the musical power that marked them as a beacon of the Summer of Love. In this 84-minute DVD, Morrison, organist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore traverse such staples as “Roadhouse Blues”, “Break On Through (To The Other Side)”, and “Light My Fire”. Illuminated by a mere red spotlight (the band wasn’t informed that they needed to bring their own lighting equipment) gave the show an eerie crimson hue, almost echoing the figurative weight of the trial.

“Our set was subdued but very intense”, Manzarek later stated. “We played with a controlled fury and Jim was in fine vocal form. He sang for all he was worth, but moved nary a muscle.

The DVD is completed with bonus featurette “This Is The End” – 17 minutes of interviews conducted by the film’s original director, Academy Award-winning Murray Lerner with KriegerDensmore, and original Doors manager Bill Siddons. Additional archival interview footage with Manzarek from 2002 is also included in the featurette.

The Doors made an enormous impact on the music world in their few years of existence before Jim Morrison’s passing in 1971. The Doors: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970, which joins Eagle Rock Entertainment’s rich canon of The Doors’ films (Classic Albums: The Doors; When You’re Strange; Live At The Bowl ’68 ; Feast Of Friends ; R-Evolution ; Live In Europe 1968 ; Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story Of L.A. Woman , No One Here Gets Out Alive – The Doors’ Tribute To Jim Morrison ; and Soundstage Performances ), captures a pivotal moment in their history.

On the inside of the original gatefold is the following statement: “This album was compiled from live performances recorded in cities throughout the United States between August 1969 and June 1970. Aside from the editing necessary to assemble the music into album form, the recording is an organic documentary and absolutely live!”

However according to Paul Rothchild, the band’s long time producer, the album had to be virtually stitched together from numerous performances, simply because he couldn’t get complete takes of any of the songs, and therefore had to do a lot of splicing and editing to create a necessary master. Yet when the surviving band members eventually began opening the vaults, releasing these shows in far more complete form, they would prove to utterly contradict Rothchild’s claim that “There must have been 2000 edits on that album”. In fact it turns out that not only was each performance left relatively intact, but that the majority of songs selected were recorded over two nights at The Felt Forum, in January 1970.

We begin with the emcee imploring the crowd, who are chanting “we want The Doors”, to “sit down and go back to your seats”, lest the local fire authorities decide to cancel the show. It’s a terrific way to draw the listener in, creating a sense of actually being in the audience, capturing that sense of excitement and anticipation which must have been rippling through those in attendance.

Instead of “Roadhouse Blues” or some other popular number, they choose to open the set with a powerful and particularly psychedelic cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love”, thanks mainly to Robby Krieger’s hallucinatory slide guitar and Manzarek’s acid-Baroque keyboards. Next is a tune that I’m sure was close to Jim Morrison’s heart, “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)”, before seamlessly segueing into a raw and dirty “Back Door Man”, during which Morrison slips in a few verses of “Love Hides”, a song the band never recorded much less attempted to complete based on what we have here. The medley concludes with an urgent, almost primordial reading of “Five to One”, a call to arms if there ever was, although something tells me that by 1970 Jim had become weary of the whole ‘rock prophet’ phenomenon.

The bluesy “Build Me A Woman” portends the sort of style of song writing the band would go on to explore further with L.A. Woman, the band’s final LP with Morrison. Now if you need to go to the toilet, I recommend that the listener do so immediately before the epic, majestically dark and twisted “When the Music’s Over” kicks off. Through headphones one can discern the odd subtle edit here and there, no doubt due to the limits of vinyl. Well, either that or Rothchild made an executive decision in cutting out a minute or two of music he felt was superfluous to a piece that already runs for nearly fifteen minutes.

The band perform a rather perfunctory rendition of Willie Dixon’s “Close to You”, with Ray Manzarek on lead vocals (for better or worse), followed by “Universal Mind”, a sort of pop-jazz number, on which Morrison expresses the lyrics in seemingly half-interested fashion. Jim manages to offend half the Catholic diocese with his introduction to “Break On Through (to the Other Side)”, and while the band are playing at full tilt, apart from the poetry and theatrics, I somehow get the feeling Jim just wasn’t into it anywhere near as much as he was a couple years earlier. Still, it remains an exciting example of rock at its atavistic best.

Whether the listener can sit through the entirety of “Celebration of the Lizard” obviously depends on the extent of one’s devotion to all things Doors, not to mention level of tolerance, because at more than fourteen minutes in length, you’re going to need a lot of it (either that or a lot of drugs). A studio version was attempted though discarded during the making of Waiting For The Sun, and probably for good reason. Most of it is little more than poetry as performance art, and the sort of ‘poetry-meets-music’ experimentation that would ultimately inspire Patti Smith, another rebel poet of rock. Manzarek himself put it rather pointedly in his autobiography: “(Jim) loved his confrontational theatre. And then the idea struck him. He was going to confront his audiences with these cries for freedom.”

Morrison’s vocals are a touch shaky (disinterested?) on “Soul Kitchen”, the album’s final song, although no less engaging for it. Obviously the scotch and ciggies had by then begun to take their toll, or maybe it was a symptom of Jim’s very soul, or overall state of mind.

Apart from the odd dodgy bootleg, until the 1990’s live albums by the Doors were something of a rarity. There was The Hollywood Bowl (all fifteen minutes of it), and the excellent Alive She Cried, released in 1983, but that was about it – meaning that Absolutely Live was for many years the most authoritative document of what it was like to be at one of their concerts, and about the closest someone of my generation was ever going to get.

Released in 1983 on Elektra/Asylum Records Produced by Paul Rothchild
Recorded 1968-1969-1970, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Boston and Copenhagen.

Now one of the first things that impressed me about this record was how clean and modern it sounded, because music recorded in 1960’s/early ‘70s had never sounded so good. Initially I put this down to mastering. It wasn’t until many years later I learnt that the band had re-recorded their instruments on several songs, in order to give them a clearer and crisper edge. Mind you, the LP was released in 1983, a time when sanitised production was the norm, and where every instrument was practically dripping with disinfectant. Not so this album, despite the overdubs.

Opening with a cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria”, a song the band had been performing since their days at the Whiskey A Go Go, before they were famous. This recording was captured at a rehearsal made in July 1969 at the Aquarius Theatre in Los Angeles, Its an absolute revelation. Here we have Jim Morrison at some of his sensual best, hamming it up mid-stream with a sleazy intensity. “Light My Fire” is a composite of different performances preserved over several nights, not that anyone would notice, thanks to the masterful editing of Paul A. Rothchild, who was obviously wanting to create an ‘ultimate’ experience for the listener, even inserting Morrison’s “Graveyard Poem”, a performance which had nothing to do with the tune at all.

Side one ends with an exciting as well as vigorous “You Make Me Real”, again from the Aquarius Theatre, only with new guitar overdubs by Robby Krieger.

Turn the record over and we have a rare rendition of “Texas Radio and the Big Beat”, along with “Love Me Two Times”, both of which originate from a T.V. show the band performed for in Copenhagen Denmark in late 1968. Apparently it was the discovery of these tapes in a Los Angeles warehouse that prompted the group to initiate a search to see if there might be other live tapes in existence which had gone missing during the Seventies, hence the release of this LP, on which can also be heard a particularly convincing rendition of Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster”, replete with John Sebastian (who had to re-record his harmonica due to a faulty microphone) and some great slide guitar by Krieger. “Moonlight Drive” is another notable highlight (even if the band did record a new instrumental track), where Morrison’s recitation of “Horse Latitudes” is especially haunting.

Alive She Cried was no doubt a quality release, even if the title was in itself a tad misleading and not quite genuine. Krieger himself admitted at the time that they had made a few “improvements”, as he put them, to the original, tapes and corrected the odd minor mistake as required. Yet if the listener is prepared to overlook such musical misdemeanours, Alive was in its day an important and vital reminder of The Doors potency as a living entity in a world that was becoming increasingly synthetic. The Doors who were kicking into the establishment, challenging the status quo, and who would prove to make a far more profound and everlasting impact. Not to mention the romantic allure of the band’s mysterious front man, Jim Morrison, who seems just as much alive in death as he was when he walked the earth.

“Alive She Cried” was the first official live release since 1970’s “Absolutely Live”. With the 1980 release of the Morrison bio “No One Here Get’s Out Alive” along with a new “Greatest Hits”, the fans were hungry for new material. This was it. Although this is all live material, each song was heavily edited by Paul Rothchild, with new overdubs added to some of the songs. The source material comes from the Aquarius Theater, Felt Forum, Detroit and Boston shows. Fans would later get to hear the original source material when Bright Midnight Records (and later Bright Midnight Archives) released all of the original concerts unedited. They would also discover that although the version of “Little Red Rooster” on ‘Alive She Cried’ was credited to being from the Detroit show, it was actually from one of the New York Felt Forum shows.


Earlier this year, the self-titled 1967 debut album by The Doors arrived in a 50th anniversary box set presenting the original album on CD in both mono and stereo plus the mono version on vinyl.  Much as The Doors followed that debut months later with Strange Days, Rhino is following up the reissue of The Doors with a 50th anniversary presentation of that sophomore album, due on November 17th.  Strange Days: 50th Anniversary Edition will be released in two configurations: a 2-CD set with the mono and stereo versions of the album, each on its own CD; and a 1-LP vinyl reissue of the original mono album only.  Digital streaming and download versions will also be released.

Strange Days, originally issued on Elektra in September 1967, reached No. 3 on the American  chart, and yielded two hit singles with “People Are Strange”  and “Love Me Two Times” . Strange Days arrived in stores a little more than eight months after the Doors’ self-titled debut in January 1967, and was a more experimental record – due in part to a bigger budget allotted to the band for its second record.
Recorded like The Doors debut album at Hollywood’s Sunset Sound, the LP was the band’s first to be recorded on eight tracks, allowing for a more expansive and experimental sound than its predecessor.  Its songs were a mix of both current tunes and older ones tested onstage; the band performed “Strange Days” during its 1966 residency at the London Fog in L.A., and “My Eyes Have Seen You” dates back to 1965.  “Moonlight Drive” was a similarly early composition, and one of the first songs Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore ever rehearsed together.

The Strange Days: 50th Anniversary Edition has been produced by the album’s original engineer Bruce Botnick and restores the original stereo mix to CD for the first time in over a decade, fully remastering it for the first time in 30 years.   The second disc features the album’s original mono mix, which has been remastered for this set and is making its CD debut. No additional audio material has been included.  Liner notes have been provided by David Fricke, and his notes are accompanied in the booklet by rare and previously unseen photographs.

Strange Days: 50th Anniversary Edition will be available from Rhino Records on November 17th

<em>Strange Days</em> (1967)

On the 21st August in 1967: The Doors began recording their second album, ‘Strange Days’, at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, California; its commercial success was middling, along with a series of under performing singles the album contains some of the group’s most psychedelic songs – “Strange Days,” “People Are Strange,” “Love Me Two Times” and “When the Music’s Over” are now all considered classics within The Doors‘ canon; the chorus from single “People Are Strange” inspired the name of the 2010 Doors documentary, ‘When You’re Strange’…

The Doors started their career with an overabundance of riches. Strange Days followed their self-titled debut later in 1967, and was made up of a bunch of stuff that hadn’t made it onto its predecessor. While “Love Me Two Times” and “People Are Strange” are two of the lesser tracks you’d find on any Doors compilation.

Strange Days is packed with album cuts that are stunning. This is where they committed to a more psychedelic sound in a more thorough and sustained way than at any other point. Tracks like “Strange Days,” “Unhappy Girl,” and “Moonlight Drive” are lush, but that lushness — like the synthesizers in the title track or Krieger’s slide work on “Moonlight Drive” is ever so off-kilter, a little sea-sick. It sounds like some kind of underwater nightclub. But even as Strange Days is loaded with great textures, it’s also a punchy and efficient album; aside from the titan closer “When The Music’s Over,” no song on the album reached the three and a half minute mark. Overall, it’s also their least bluesy album (though it may be equal with Waiting For The Sun in that regard).

The Doors perfect their brand of psychedelic pop, a brand that has their trademark muscularity but trades in relentless hooks rather than the blues sprawl of some of their later work. That’s the case for “Moonlight Drive,” but also for a hidden gem like “My Eyes Have Seen You,” where Morrison delivers the infectious chorus in that awesomely ragged yell he could just leap right into. The Doors came out swinging with the self-titled and Strange Days back to back, and while this wound up being a semi-outlier in their catalogue, it deserves its reputation as one of the finest documents of ’60s rock.

Light My Fire

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Doors releasing their iconic single, “Light My Fire,” which put them on the map in a big, big way. Like, we’re talking seriously big. We’re talking about a level of awareness that ultimately involved the song being covered by people like Johnny Mathis and Boots Randolph. That’s right: the guy who played “Yakety Sax,” a.k.a. the theme to The Benny Hill Show, covered “Light My Fire.” While that would be plenty enough proof for most people as to how big a deal the song and, in turn, the band had become,It was recorded in August 1966 and then released in January 1967 on their self titled debut album . Released as an edited single on April 24th, 1967. A live version was released in 1983 on their album Alive She Cried, the first of several live albums released in subsequent decades to include the song. “Light My Fire” . Ray Manzarek played the song’s bass line with his left hand on a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass, while performing the other keyboard parts on a Vox Continental using his right hand. For the recording session, producer Paul A. Rothchild brought in session musician Larry Knechtel to play a Fender Bass guitar to double the keyboard bass line.

“The jam in the middle was too much for the radio edit, but each solo’s a note-for-note classic Ray Manzarek’s fierce and melodic organ improvisation, followed by Robby Krieger’s smoking, macho-in-his-own-mind fretwork, build the song to a back-clawing climax before Morrison waltzes in for the close.”on “Light My Fire”,

This became The Doors‘ signature song. Released on their first album, it was a huge hit and launched them to stardom. Before this was released, The Doors were an underground band popular in the Los Angeles area, but this got the attention of a mass audience. Most of the lyrics were written by Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. He wanted to write about one of the elements: fire, air, earth, and water. Jim Morrison wrote some of the second verse, and Ray Manzarek came up with the organ intro.

 “Light My Fire” was performed live by the Doors on The Ed Sullivan Show broadcast on September 17th, 1967. The Doors were asked by producer Bob Precht, Sullivan’s son-in-law, to change the line “girl, we couldn’t get much higher”, as the sponsors were uncomfortable with the possible reference to drugs. The band agreed to do so, and did a rehearsal using the amended lyrics, “girl, we couldn’t get much better”; however, during the live performance, the band’s lead singer Jim Morrison sang the original, unaltered lyrics. Ed Sullivan did not shake Jim Morrison’s hand as he left the stage. The band had been negotiating a multi-episode deal with the producers; however, after violating the agreement not to perform the offending line, they were informed they would never do the Sullivan show again. Morrison’s response was “We just ‘did’ Sullivan.”

<em>An American Prayer</em> (1978)

An American Prayer isn’t exactly a Doors record. It’s an album of Morrison reading his poetry, recorded in 1969 and 1970. The remaining Doors reunited in 1978 to record a bunch of music behind the left-behind recordings. For the most part, it’s a totally different listening experience than the other Doors releases, though there are Doors songs, and musical references to Doors songs, throughout. Even though Morrison occasionally delivered lyrics like this amongst Doors music, a sustained album of poetry is kind of its own thing. As an entity in the Doors‘ overall narrative, An American Prayer was controversial. Some argued that Morrison’s work should have been left untouched, and that the remaining trio didn’t represent the material in the way Morrison had intended. This might be a cynical interpretation, but: Over the decades, it was easy to be suspicious of Manzarek, who had a tendency to rely on every last strain of Morrison’s work and legacy to, I don’t know, give himself something to do? You could look at this as the Doors milking Morrison’s work after his death. But whatever the intentions or circumstances were behind An American Prayer, it gave diehard fans another document of Morrison’s work. It’s more related to the essence of the Doors than either Other Voices or Full Circle, making it a more worthwhile thing to explore beyond the original six albums.

Jim Morrison’s girlfriend, Pamela Courson, was found dead of a heroin overdose in her West Hollywood home on April 25th, 1974. Her years without Jim Morrison had not been easy. She tried to establish that she was actually Jim’s widow, but the two had never been legally married. Jim Morrison had named her his soul heir in his will, which resulted in an endless series of legal difficulties for her due to the complexities of his estate. She was forced to close her boutique, Themis; on its closing, she angrily drove her car through the shop’s front window. She lived in the Bay Area for a while, then returned to L.A. To survive, and feed her continuing drug habit, she sold many of her possessions, including also items of Jim’s.

All outstanding suits with the estate were settled by 1974. Pamela received an initial disbursement of $20,000, and at the time of her death was going to receive an additional half million, as well as inheriting a quarter of the Doors’ future earnings. Instead, she was interred at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, California, the marker identifying her as “Pamela Susan Morrison.” A memorial service was held at Forest Lawn’s Hollywood Hill cemetery; Ray Manzarek played “When the Music’s Over,” “Love Street,” and “Crystal Ship” on the church organ. Pamela’s family inherited her estate, and the Morrison family later filed suit for a share of the Doors’ earnings. Jim’s share was ultimately split between the two families.

Three month’s after Pamela’s death, a “Jim Morrison Memorial Disappearance Party” was held on July 3rd at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. Ray, who was fast becoming the dominant keeper of the Doors’ flame, hosted, and Iggy Pop, who’d been working with Ray, performed a few Doors songs. Whether deliberate or not, the use of the word “disappearance” in the event’s title alluded to a growing perception about Jim Morrison’s ultimate fate; that he hadn’t died, but had simply taken on a new identity to avoid the pressures of being a rock star. The same year of the “Disappearance Party,” Capitol released the album “Phantom’s Divine Comedy Part 1,” with a lead singer who sounded uncannily like Morrison . The record had been recorded by a Detroit group called Walpurgis, who adopted pseudonyms for the album; the singer, Tom Carson, was called “Arthur Pendragon” (Carson was also said to have attended the “Disappearance Party”). In 1975, the book, “The Bank of America of Louisiana,” credited to a “Jim Morrison,” was published, purporting to tell the true story of a rock star who fled the public to start a new life as a banker in Louisiana. It was the beginning of what would become a cottage industry around the possibility that Jim Morrison still walked among us.

The real Jim did return — on record — with the release of “An American Prayer” in 1978. In 1976, Robby Krieger started wondering what happened to the tapes of Jim’s poetry sessions and contacted producer John Haeny. Haeny still had the master tapes, and on listening to them, “I knew that we could do something great with it,” Robby said. The other Doors were quick to agree, and they began working on the album the following year. It was like old times, working with Jim again; Ray recalled that hearing his old bandmate’s voice through his headphones in the recording studio made him look over at the vocal booth, expecting Jim to be there. The album’s five sections — “Awake,” “To Come of Age,” “The Poets Dreams,” “World On Fire,” and “An American Prayer” — traced Jim’s life journey, making the album something of an autobiography. The album also featured a rousing live version of “Roadhouse Blues.”

The album, credited to “Jim Morrison” with “Music by The Doors,” reached No. 54, and sold a quarter of a million on its initial release, respectable figures for a spoken word album; it also received a Grammy nomination. “An American Prayer” even led to a Doors reunion; while promoting the album overseas, the remaining band members gave a brief performance in Paris on what would have been Jim’s 35th birthday, December 8th, 1978.

Not everyone was pleased with the album’s appearance. Doors producer Paul Rothchild indignantly referred to “An American Prayer” as “a rape of Jim Morrison — the same as taking a Picasso and cutting it into postage stamp-sized pieces to spread across a supermarket wall.” His main objection was that Jim wouldn’t have had the other Doors provide the backing music, but with his death there was no way to resolve that issue.

But the album’s greater importance is that it was the first in a series of events that led to full-fledge Doors revival. A big factor in the revival was Ray’s feeling that the Doors’, and particularly Jim’s, contributions to rock were being overlooked. He recalled listening to a DJ on an L.A. radio station talking about rock legends who had died and being surprised that Jim wasn’t mentioned at all: “Where’s Jim? Do the Doors even exist? What about ‘Light My Fire’ and all the rest?” He became determined “to make sure that the world knows Jim Morrison. You can like him or dislike him, but you’re going to know who he is.”

He wouldn’t have long to wait. Frances Ford Coppola’s Vietnam-era war film “Apocalypse Now” featured the Doors’ “The End” in key sequences, reminding people of the nightmarish power of the band (the closing credits even feature a new mix of the track, with Jim’s percussive use of the word “f—k” finally loud enough to hear). The following year, the first major biography of Jim, “No One Here Gets Out Alive” (a line taken from the song “Five to One”), was published and became a worldwide blockbuster. The original manuscript, written by Jerry Hopkins, had been rejected by over thirty publishers. It was then taken up by Danny Sugerman, who had been hanging out at the Doors’ offices since he was a teenager. Jim hired him to answer his fan mail, and Danny then made it his life’s work to promote the band at every opportunity; he would eventually become the band’s manager.

Image result for danny sugerman the doors book

Danny sent the manuscript to Warner Books, who had already twice rejected it. But this time, a sympathetic editor convinced the company to publish it. Danny, with input from Ray, oversaw an edit of the manuscript. The book was published in June 1980, its release celebrated with a party at the Whisky on June 16, with the remaining Doors playing a short set — the last time they would play together for over a decade. The book, featuring one of Joel Brodsky’s “young lion” pictures of Jim on the cover, topped the “New York Times” bestsellers list and became a huge international bestseller. New releases were quickly put out to take advantage of the Doors’ resurging popularity. The band released their first-ever long form video, “No One Here Gets Out Alive: A Tribute to Jim Morrison,” featuring interviews with the remaining band members and rare footage. A new “best of” collection, simply entitled, “Greatest Hits,” was released in 1980 and hit the Top 20; it would go on to sell over five million copies. In a canny marketing decision, Elektra dropped the list price of “The Doors,” “Waiting for the Sun,” and “The Soft Parade” by three dollars; soon, every Doors album doubled its sales over the previous years. “We’ve sold more Doors records this year [1981] than in any year since they were first released,” Elektra publicist Bryn Bridenthal told “Rolling Stone,” which capitalized on interest in the band with a provocative headline on the cover of its September 17th, 1981 issue: “Jim Morrison: He’s hot, he’s sexy and he’s dead,” featuring a picture taken in 1967 by “16” magazine editor Gloria Stavers.

At least “Rolling Stone” forthrightly stated that Jim was deceased. For others, that remained an open question. The Hopkins/Sugerman book fanned that particular flame with its ambiguous ending. Hopkins had originally intended for the book to be published with two different endings; one edition would have Jim dying in Paris, the other suggesting that he faked his death. The publisher vetoed that conceit, so the final chapter discussed both theories, planting the idea that Jim could’ve faked his death at the very end, where it would have more of a dramatic impact. And the book’s final line, “Going on a decade now, there’s still no word from Mr. Mojo Risin’,” implied it was possible the world might one day hear from Jim again.

The genie was out of the bottle; subsequent writings about Jim would nearly all mention the rumor that he might have faked his death. And the Doors now became an on going concern; whatever projects Ray, Robby, and John became involved in, their one-time identity as members of the Doors was never far in the background.

In the 21st century, the remaining Doors managed to come together one more time. The location was the picturesquely named Hen House Studios in, appropriately enough, Venice, California, where the Doors’ story had begun all those years ago. Ray, Robby, and John Densmore provided the musical backing on the album “Look Each Other in the Ears,” by their old friend, Michael C. Ford. Michael had attended UCLA with Jim and Ray, and had also known Robby and John before they’d joined the Doors; Michael had even been considered as a possible bass player for the group. In 1969, Jim invited Michael to read at the Norman Mailer benefit, his first public reading. Now, as they had on “American Prayer,” the three former Doors provided a bed for Michael’s readings — light and upbeat, in contrast to the more mysterious sound of “American Prayer.”

The album, released in 2014, was dedicated to Ray, who died on May 20th, 2013, of bile duct cancer; he died at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany, where he’d gone to seek treatment. Both Robby and John issued statements about his death. “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” said Robby. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.” “There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words,” said John, who was on a tour promoting his book, “The Doors Unhinged,” at the time of Ray’s death. “Ray, I felt totally in sync with you musically. It was like we were of one mind, holding down the foundation for Robby and Jim to float on top of. I will miss my musical brother.”

In his memoir, “Light My Fire,” Ray had written about the four Doors being like four points of a diamond, a diamond within “the magic circle of the Doors.” The first time the four had played together, Ray wrote, “The diamond was formed and it was clear and hard and luminous.” Now two of the points were gone, and the circle became smaller. But the loss also helped sweep aside any lingering resentments between the two Doors who remained. On December 5th, 2013, Robby and John appeared together on stage for the first time since the 2000 “VH1 Storytellers” show at “An Evening with The Doors.” held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The night included a screening of the documentary, “Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Making of L.A. Woman,” a Q&A, and a surprise set, with the two performing “People Are Strange,” “Love Me Two Times,” “Spanish Caravan” and “Riders on the Storm.” Robby provided lead vocals, inviting the audience to sing along, because “We’re not great vocalists or anything,” a gentle acknowledgement of who was missing.

And there would be other projects to come. As long as people are drawn to the power of the band’s music, interest in the Doors will live on.

Thanks to Goldmine