The Doors Biography
"He's Young, He's Hot, He's Sexy and He's Dead". So read the caption beneath a picture of Jim Morrison that graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine on September 17, 1981. The blurb, of course, referred to the release of An American Prayer and the enduring popularity of Morrison and The Doors. And today, twenty years later, the phenomena continues as a new corps of young fans, excited by music that remains fresh and relevant, joins The Doors' ever widening fan base.
"I like any reaction I can get with my music. Just anything to get people to think. I mean if you can get a whole room full of drunk, stoned people to actually wake up and think, you're doing something." ~ Jim Morrison
The group destined to become The Doors was actually formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by UCLA film student Ray Manzarek and his two brothers. Their search for a vocalist brought fellow student Jim Morrison to their attention. Morrison auditioned with Moonlight Drive
, his own song. Keyboard player Manzarek was immediately impressed by Morrison's vocals and songwriting and invited him to join the band. Drummer John Densmore was recruited and the group went straight to work. Soon after, they recorded six Morrison songs. Manzarek's brothers, unhappy with the results, left the band. They were replaced by guitarist Robbie Krieger. The group never found a bass player, and the base lines were handled either by Krieger or Manzarek.
It was around this time that Morrison suggested they call themselves The Doors. He felt connected to the works of William Blake and Aldous Huxley both of whom had referred to "the doors of perception." His band mates agreed that the name symbolized the essence of the group and the matter was settled.
"Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free." ~ Jim Morrison
In 1966 the group was signed by Elektra Records. The following year they released their first album, The Doors
. It featured the smash hit Light My Fire
. Though their next albums did not have the earth shaking impact of The Doors
, they nonetheless contained a lot of good stuff. Then, with 1970's Morrison Hotel
and 1971's L.A. Woman
, The Doors returned to the top of their form.
Following the completion of L.A. Woman, Morrison left the group and fled to France. Drug and alcohol use, long a complicating factor in his life, as well as the group's, ultimately led to his demise. He died in his bath in Paris, apparently of an overdose. The official cause of death was listed as a heart attack. The three surviving Doors tried to carry on without him, but eventually disbanded.
"I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps "Oh look at that!" Then - whoosh, and I'm gone... and they'll never see anything like it ever again, and they won't be able to forget me - ever." ~ Jim Morrison
Succeeding generations have embraced the music of The Doors and idolized Jim Morrison. Testament to the group's lasting popularity is the continuing sales of their recordings, most recently on remastered cds. And Snoop Dogg's new version of Riders in the Storm speaks volumes on their continued relevance.
On May 20, 2013, Ray Manzarek died in Rosenheim, Germany, at the age of 74, due to complications related to bile duct cancer. Robby Kreiger and John Densmore, the remaining Doors members, came together February 12, 2016 to honor Manzarek. All proceeds from "A Celebration For Ray Manzarek" went to "Stand Up to Cancer."