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The Doors Biography

Home > Music > D > Doors, The > Biography

Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, United States
Years Active: 1965–1973 , (Partial reunions: 1978, 1993, 2000)
Genres: Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Acid Rock, Blues-rock, Hard Rock

The Doors was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. The band took its name from Aldous Huxley's book “The Doors of Perception,” the title of which was a reference to a William Blake quotation: “When the doors of perception are cleansed, things will appear to man as they truly are...infinite.” They were among the most controversial rock acts of the 1960s, due mostly to Morrison's wild, poetic lyrics and charismatic but unpredictable stage persona. After Morrison's death in 1971, the remaining members continued as a trio until finally disbanding in 1973.

The Doors’ self-titled debut LP was released in 1967. It featured the breakthrough single “Light My Fire,” extended with a substantial instrumental section mostly omitted on the single release, and the lengthy song “The End” with its Oedipal spoken-word section.

The Doors spent several weeks in Los Angeles' Sunset Studios recording their second album, 1967’s “Strange Days,” experimenting with the new technology they now had available. The commercial success of “Strange Days” was middling, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart but quickly dropping, along with a series of underperforming singles. The album managed two Top 30 hits, a Top 3 placing on the U.S. charts, and a platinum certification. It includes songs such as “Strange Days,” “People Are Strange,” “Love Me Two Times” and “When the Music's Over.”

1968’s “Waiting for the Sun” became their first #1 LP, and the single “Hello, I Love You” was their second and last U.S. #1 single. They ended the year with a successful new single, “Touch Me,” which went to #3. The Doors' fourth album, “The Soft Parade,” released in July 1969, contained pop-oriented arrangements and horn sections. The lead single “Touch Me” featured saxophonist Curtis Amy.

The Doors' fifth album, “Morrison Hotel” was released in 1970 peaking at #4 on the Billboard 200. Featuring a consistent, hard rock sound, the album's opener was “Roadhouse Blues.”

The Doors set to reclaim their status as a premier act with “L.A. Woman” in 1971. The singles “L.A. Woman,” “Love Her Madly” (the Doors' last Top 10 hit) and “Riders On The Storm,” remain mainstays of rock radio programming, and the latter was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its special significance to recorded music.

Morrison died on July 3, 1971. In the official account of his death, he was found in a Paris apartment bathtub by girlfriend Pamela Courson.

The surviving Doors continued for some time, initially considering replacing Morrison with a new singer. Instead, Krieger and Manzarek took over on vocals and The Doors released two more albums before disbanding. “Other Voices” was released in 1971. The LP featured the single “Tightrope Ride,” which received some airplay. “Full Circle” was released in 1972. The Doors went on tour after the releases in support of the albums. The last album expanded into jazz territory. In 1973 the group disbanded. Krieger, Manzarek and Densmore reunited in 1978, 1993 and 2000.

The third post-Morrison album, “An American Prayer,” was released in 1978. It consisted of the band adding musical tracks to spoken-word recordings of Morrison reciting his poetry. The record was a commercial success, acquiring a platinum certificate.

In 1993, The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were the first American band to accumulate eight consecutive gold and platinum LPs. In 1998, “Light My Fire” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame under the Rock category. In 2002, The Doors was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame under the Rock Album category. In 2007, The Doors received a lifetime achievement award at the 2007 Grammy Awards. In 2009, “Riders On The Storm” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.