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Music / The Doors (Album)

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"You know that it would be untrue/You know that I would be a liar/If I was to say to you, 'Girl, we couldn't get much higher'..."

The Doors is the debut studio album by The Doors, released in 1967. A landmark Psychedelic Rock album, it is also their most successful, influential and notable album. Hits include "Break On Through (To the Other Side)", "Soul Kitchen", "Light My Fire" and "The End". An episode about the creative process behind this album was featured in the documentary TV series Classic Albums. It was added to the National Recording Registry in 2014 for being "culturally, historically and aesthetically important".


Side One

  1. "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" (2:25)
  2. "Soul Kitchen" (3:30)
  3. "The Crystal Ship" (2:30)
  4. "Twentieth Century Fox" (2:30)
  5. "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)" (3:15)
  6. "Light My Fire" (6:50)

Side Two

  1. "Back Door Man" (3:30)
  2. "I Looked at You" (2:18)
  3. "End of the Night" (2:49)
  4. "Take It as It Comes" (2:13)
  5. "The End" (11:35)

Bonus Tracks (40th Anniversary Edition):

  1. "Moonlight Drive (Version 1)"
  2. "Moonlight Drive (Version 2)"
  3. "Indian Summer"

Principal Members:

  • John Densmore - drums, vocals, tambourine
  • Robby Krieger - guitar, vocals
  • Ray Manzarek - organ, piano, vocals, keyboard bass, marxophone
  • Jim Morrison - lead vocals, tambourine

The Crystal Tropes:

  • After the End: According to "The End" there is no after:
    The end of laughter and soft lies
    The end of nights we tried to die
    This is the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeend
  • Album Closure: The final track, appropriately called "The End," discusses endings of all sorts. They frequently used it to close their live concerts as well.
  • Bowdlerize:
    • The lyric "She gets high!" in "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" was clipped on the original vinyl release, and all subsequent releases until the CD remaster in 1999.
    • A notorious incident occurred when the band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1967. The Ed Sullivan people told the Doors to change the lyrics in "Light My Fire" from "Girl, we couldn't get much higher" to "Girl, you really light my fire" days before the show. Neither Morrison nor Krieger wanted to change it, partially because they didn't want to be censored and partially because they thought it'd be funny to annoy the Ed Sullivan people. After the show, Jim claimed he'd forgotten to change the lyrics because he was nervous.
    • The infamous moment where the protagonist in "The End" tells his father he wants to "kill" him and his mother he wants to rape her was made incomprehensible on both the album and the single by Jim's screaming. Even if you try to make out the word "rape" in his singing, it still sounds more like "murder you". Jim's chants of "fuck, fuck, fuck, c'mon and fuck me, baby" were also omitted from the album's original mix, but were later restored on the 1999 remaster of the album.
    • Difficult as it is to believe, the Doors themselves did this with their cover of "Back Door Man". The original has significantly darker lyrics, with lines about murder that are not present in the Doors' version.
  • Call to Adventure: "Break On Through (To the Other Side)", a message to break out of your shell and change your life to a more exciting one.
  • Careful with That Axe:
    • "Light My Fire"
    • "The End"
    Mother... I want to...[ incomprehensible] ALL NIGHT LONG! COME ON, YEAH!...
  • Cluster F-Bomb: During "The End". This was heavily buried in the original mix, but when Francis Ford Coppola was making Apocalypse Now, he requested the use of the song, and the studio accidentally sent his sound designer Walter Murch the original masters, which enabled him to hear the unmixed version of the song. Murch subsequently created a very trippy new mix for the film that brought the Cluster F-Bomb to the forefront. Some subsequent mixes of the original album now have the Cluster F-Bomb uncensored as well.
    Fuck fuck fuck, c'mon and fuck me baby!
  • Consummate Professional: The subject of "20th Century Fox":
    She'll never wreck a scene
    She'll never break a date
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)" was sung by female sex workers in the original version by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, and they sung "the next little boy". The Doors' studio version changes this to "the next little girl", though Morrison occasionally left the line intact in live performances.
  • Cover Version: "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)", lifted from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, and the Howlin' Wolf cover "Back Door Man".
  • Descent into Darkness Song: "The End" famously starts off as a ponderous musing about the nature of finality. However, eventually the imagery shifts into describing a masked killer grappling with the desire to kill, and then killing, his parents. Afterwards, the tempo builds to create a mesmerizing climax; that makes it the perfect song to be used to bookend Apocalypse Now — a descent into the evil lurking in the human heart.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: "Break On Through (to the Other Side)", which is about trying to break out of your monotone life to a more exciting one.
  • Drunken Song: "Alabama Song".
    Well, show me the way to the next whiskey bar
    Oh, don't ask why / oh, don't ask why
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "The End", in which the band sings about the end of everything.
  • Epic Rocking: "Light My Fire" and especially "The End".
  • Face on the Cover: Morrison's face, pictured in close-up, while Densmore, Manzarek and Krieger are shown in the distance.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "I Looked at You" seems to come to a close, but then goes a bit longer.
  • Heavy Metal: Usually not cited as an influence, but "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" was probably the darkest, heaviest song in 1960s pop music; its climax includes an almost subliminal "doomy thunder" sound that Black Sabbath and Judas Priest would make famous. And with "TRY TO SET THE NIGHT ON... FIRRRRE!" at the end of "Light My Fire", Jim may have birthed the Metal Scream.
  • Last Note Nightmare: That haunting moan that ends "The End"
    This is the... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeend.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: The album closes with "The End" (11:41).
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: The subject of “Twentieth Century Fox” is implied to be this.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "The Crystal Ship" does this; Jim sings the first two words by himself before everyone else enters.
  • Murder Ballad: "The killer awoke before dawn" section of "The End".
  • Intercourse with You: "Back Door Man" has been interpreted as being about someone who likes to take (or be taken?) from behind. It's certainly had those implications in the earliest blues songs that inspired the song.
    • Of course, it is a cover of the song by Willie Dixon and Howlin' Wolf. In that version "back door man" meant an illicit relationship, such as with a married woman - he would sneak out through the back door when the husband came home through the front door.
  • Ode to Sobriety: "Alabama Song", see Drunken Song.
  • One-Man Song: "Back Door Man".
  • Parental Incest: The protagonist in "The End" wants to rape his mother.
  • The Power of Love: "The Crystal Ship", "Light My Fire", "I Looked at You" are all love songs.
  • Precision F-Strike: In addition to the Cluster F-Bomb above, some live performances of "The End" feature one earlier in the song. The album version replaces it with an unintelligible scream, but given the Freudian imagery throughout the song, the expletive is about as heavily implied as it could be without being spoken outright.
    The killer awoke before dawn
    He put his boots on
    He took a face from the ancient gallery
    And he walked on down the hall
    He went into the room where his sister lived, and then he
    Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
    He walked on down the hall, and
    And he came to a door
    And he looked inside
    "Father?" "Yes, son?" "I want to kill you"
    "Mother? I want to... FUCK YOU!"
  • Pun-Based Title: "20th Century Fox", where a girl is described as being one, namely that she is a sexy girl living in the 20th century. Consequently, the song is a very obvious pun on 20th Century Fox, and now rather outdated, considering we are no longer in the 20th century and the aforementioned company was renamed as 20th Century Studios in 2020.
  • Record Producer: Paul Rothchild.
  • Remaster: The 2006 40th anniversary edition was not only remastered, but featured "Light My Fire" at its correct speed for the first time since its original 45 RPM single release. The speed discrepancy (being about 3.5% slow) was brought to Bruce Botnick's attention by BYU music professor Michael Hicks, who noted that all video and audio live performances of the Doors performing the song, the sheet music, and statements of band members show that the song is in a key almost a half step higher (A) than the stereo LP release (A♭/G♯). One result of the speed adjustment is the song's running time changing from 7:06 to 6:51.
  • Self-Titled Album: Duh.
  • Shout-Out: Tons, discounting The Doors film, of course.
    • "The End" was used prominently in the film Apocalypse Now, as well as several episodes of The Simpsons. Frank Zappa had a concert parody of the song in which the protagonist tells his father he wants to kill him, but his dad happens to be masturbating on the toilet with a magazine on his knees and tells him: "Err, no not now son!" It never got an official release due to copyright reasons, but one instrumental track by Zappa was indeed released as "No Not Now".
    • "The Crystal Ship" was the name of a band that DJ Tommy 'Nightmare' Smith (Voiced by Axl Rose) was formerly in; from the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
    • "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" appears on The Simpsons episode I Love Lisa.
    • "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" and "Soul Kitchen" appears in Forrest Gump. "People Are Strange", "Hello, I Love You" and "Love Her Madly" are all also used in the film.
    • "Light My Fire" was covered in the most bizarre way possible on The Third Reich 'n Roll by The Residents.
    • "Light My Fire" was also sampled in "Superstar" from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill.
    • Flemish cult poet Jotie T' Hooft committed suicide in 1976 by overdosing on heroin. When people found him, he had already died and had put the groove of his record player needle on repeat so that The Doors' "The End" played in a continuous loop.
  • The Something Song: "Alabama Song".
  • Time Marches On: Back in 1967, it must have been rather complimentary to be called a "20th Century Fox". Nowadays, in a different century, it almost sounds like an insult.
  • The Unintelligible: Jim's screaming during the line "mother... I want to... rape you!" in "The End" is so garbled that it is impossible to make out what he is shouting, therefore it sounds more like "mother... I want to... murder you!".