Deep Album Cuts Vol. 7: The Doors

This series is primarily intended for looking at artists who aren't in the critical canon, who aren't considered to have 'classic' albums. But when certain acts are in the news, or, sadly, when someone passes away, like The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek did this week, I do think about whether there's potential there. And in the case of The Doors, there absolutely is: the two-disc The Best of The Doors was a staple of my mother's house when I was growing up, but it has pretty much every Doors song I know and love (barring "Peace Frog" and a couple songs used in the Oliver Stone movie and other soundtracks). And at a time when Manzarek is being memorialized around the world for the same handful of songs, it feels good to look beyond that and dig deeper into the catalog. Or at least, into the six albums made while Jim Morrison was alive.

I was also compelled to look at Doors deep cuts, because of the immortal Kids In The Hall sketch about Doors fans. The whole thing is both a celebration and satire of certain classic rock mentalities, including most famously the rockist and misogynist mantra, "Greatest hits albums are for housewives and little girls," which I especially enjoy since I was once a little boy listening to a housewife's copy of a Doors greatest hits album. The version of "The Doors" that Bruce McCulloch re-recorded for his awesome 1995 album Shame-Based Man features my favorite line not in the original KITH sketch: "You've gotta buy Waiting For The Sun. It's their third album, but really? It's their first." (Another great Bruce sketch, "The Bass Player," seems directly influenced by The Doors' "The Wasp.") I've never followed Bruce's protocol for becoming a Doors fan, but in a way I've always wanted to. Here's the Spotify playlist:

Deep Album Cuts Vol. 7: The Doors

1. Not To Touch The Earth
2. Moonlight Drive
3. Yes, The River Knows
4. Take It As It Comes
5. The Changeling
6. My Wild Love
7. Do it
8. Hyacinth House
9. Indian Summer
10. Summer's Almost Gone
11. Wintertime Love
12. The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)
13. Easy Ride
14. Land Ho!
15. L'America
16. Horse Latitudes
17. The Spy
18. Blue Sunday
19. I Can't See Your Face In My Mind
20. The Soft Parade
21. End Of The Night

Tracks 4 and 21 from The Doors (1967)
Tracks 2, 16 and 19 from Strange Days (1967)
Tracks 1, 3, 6, 10 and 11 from Waiting For The Sun (1968)
Tracks 7, 13 and 20 from The Soft Parade (1969)
Tracks 9, 14, 17 and 18 from Morrison Hotel (1970)
Tracks 5, 8, 12 and 15 from L.A. Woman (1971)

Poring over these songs really helped underline for me what an incredible catalog these built up in under 5 years as recording artists before flaming out. I think my favorite discovery was The Soft Parade's title track, an 8-minute epic that's far less famous than their only two songs that are even longer, "The End" and "When The Music's Over," and is a bit more gonzo and structurally unpredictable than those other album closers. "My Wild Love" is also one of their coolest-sounding songs, something that you almost can't imagine someone coming up with in 1968. "Moonlight Drive" is important to Doors lore are the first song Jim sang to Ray (even though it wasn't released until their second album). And "Land Ho!" and "Do It" and "The Changeling" are as catchy as anything on all those greatest hits albums. I wish Ray Manzarek did more with his last 4 decades then keep finding new ways to relive The Doors, but if there's a band you're going to spend your whole life dwelling on, you could do far worse.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
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