The Public Records 11/19/19
It is hot. Hot and humid. Here in the Susquehanna Valley we’re deep into the summer and we can feel it. However, down underground in An Sibin it is cool and cavernous. It’s a great place to beat the heat, and heck, we can even raise the temperature a few degrees.
In fact, it is this week’s album of the week that will turn up the heat. We are still in the middle of our Summer 2019 Rock Block and are featuring one of classic rock and roll’s definitive groups. Hailing from Los Angeles, this group was the first American band to score eight consecutive gold records, and their volatile stage presence and abstruse music helped them lead the charge of the counter culture movement.
The Doors, formed in 1965, is the group and the album ‘L.A. Woman’ (Elektra, 1971) is the album. The Doors was made up of Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger. Morrison and Manzarek met in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. The keyboardist, Manzarek knew Densmore, drums, from meditation classes and recruited him. Initially, Manzarek’s brothers were also in the group, but they split and were replaced by Krieger on guitar. They took their name from Aldous Huxley’s book, The Doors Of Perception and by 1965 the band had been finalized.
From February to May of 1966, The Doors were the ‘artists’ in residence at the notorious Los Angeles dive club, London Fog, where they were able to coalesce into the solid group that they were. Having a rough crowd to perform in front of consistently helped them overcome stage fright and tighten up their work to be able to appeal to massive and diverse audiences.
From London Fog, they graduated to the Whiskey A Go Go where they became the house band. They were then spotted by an agent of Elektra Records and were signed almost immediately. This decision was a godsend for the label, for The Doors released eight records, all which went at least gold, in five years and had sold 4 million albums and 8 million singles domestically by 1972. Unfortunately, Morrison died mysteriously in 1971 ending their staggering winning streak.
‘L.A. Woman’ was The Door’s sixth studio album. It was also their last album that Jim Morrison sang on as he died three months after its release, April 19th, 1971. Unlike their previous releases, ‘L.A. Woman’ was a much more stripped down blues rock work compared to their earlier psychedelic catalog. In fact, the band hired Jerry Scheff, Elvis Pressley’s bassist, and the rhythm guitarist Marc Benno, to achieve the sound they wanted. These additions seemed to have done the trick – for the single, Love Her Madly, hit the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album itself peaked at 9 on the Billboard 200 in the USA and 28 UK Albums Chart.
Morrison had been toying with leaving the group for some time and after exposing himself at a Miami concert in 1969, the band became blacklisted from more and more radio stations and venues, ‘L.A. Woman’ seemed to be the light at the end of the tunnel to the group’s ills. Unfortunately, Morrison died in Paris July 3rd, 1971 and any chance of ‘The Doors making a massive comeback ended with his death.
This doesn’t mean that The Doors died with Jim. The remaining members kept performing and many unreleased tracks were put out over the years. In fact, next Thursday, July 25th , here at Tellus360, we have our own The Doors show with local hero Corty Byron as Jim Morrison, with Matthew Thomas as Ray Manzarek, Chad Kinsey as Rob Krieger, and Ffej Herb as John Densmore – they’ll be joined by Scott Frenchek on bass. Let’s start the party early in Sibin with Mr. Morrison’s favorite whiskey, Jack Daniels.