Friday, April 19, 2024

The Doors step into a recording studio for the first time

On September 2nd 1965

The Doors step into a recording studio for the first time

The Doors were formed in 1965 by Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison. Both attended together UCLA Film School, Manzarek however had though a musical background and was actually a trained musician who had played in Jazz bands and at the time in Rick and The Ravens with his brothers Jim and Rick. Morrison, who never intended to become a musician sparkled an interest in Manzarek when during the Summer of 1965 in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, sung him one of his poems, “Moonlight Drive” that he had turned into a melody. Impressed by what he heard, after Morrison told him that had much more poems, lyrics and songs in his head (though he couldn’t really play any instrument), Ray invited Jim to start a band, the name The Doors was picked by Morrison after the Aldous Huxley book “The Doors Of Perception”. Despite warnings from some people for him not to start a band with Morrison, viewed as an unstable and “crazy” person, Ray was fascinated by the lyrics, poems and artistic potential of his friend. Shortly after,  John Densmore who knew Ray from Meditation classes joined as drummer and later brought along guitarist Robby Krieger that played with him in their previous band The Psychedelic Rangers. The band was missing another member though, a bass player. They tried several bass players including female musicians at the insistence of Morrison, but none could fit into what was already becoming The Doors unique sound,  Ray Manzarek took then the simultaneous role of keyboardist and bass player, he was able to secure that through his Fender Rhodes Piano Bass, by playing the keyboard/organ with one hand and the bass lines with his other, that, together with the fusion of Jazz, Classical, Flamenco, Blues and Spoken Word along with high dosages of improvisation created The Doors signature sound. Not featuring officially a bass player in the band and before Robbie Krieger joined, together with bassist Patty Sullivan, Manzarek’s brothers Rick and Jim, on September the 2nd 1965 the band entered the World Pacific Jazz Studios in Los Angeles to cut their first demo.

They recorded 6 Jim Morrison songs: “Hello, I Love You”, “Summer’s Almost Gone”, “End Of The Night”, “Moonlight Drive”, “My Eyes Have Seen You” and “Go Insane”. Most of these songs would end up in their first 3 albums (undergoing a big transformation), except for “Go Insane” that was usually played live as part of “The Celebration Of The Lizard” under the title “A Little Game”. Soon after this Patty and Manzarek’s brothers departed from the band and Robby Krieger joined in. The demo didn’t do much for them as all the labels (Columbia included) rejected it, most thought their sound had no commercial potential and it was too “weird”. Later in 1966, the band had became known in the local Sunset Strip, Los Angeles circuit, at the suggestion of Love’s Arthur Lee, Jac Holtzman from Elektra Records went to see them performing in the Whiskey A-Go-Go, that same night he showed interest in signing them to Elektra. The Doors were the second Rock band to be assigned to that label, the first were Love another Los Angeles based band. Just 2 years after they recorded their first demo at World Pacific Jazz Studios, in the Summer of 1967 The Doors hit number 1 on the top of the charts with “Light My Fire”, they gained worldwide notoriety and became one of Rock’s most important bands. In 1971 after Morrison’s death they continued as a band until 1973 when they officially decided to call it quit to The Doors. They are one of the few bands that are still able to easily renew their generations of fans, some of the reasons are the lyrics, that talk about universal timeless subjects, the original signature sound that always distinguished them from other bands and the obvious Jim Morrison’s iconic cult figure. The complete songs of the World Pacific Jazz Studios were never released officially but have been circulating for some years now through bootlegs Listen to the full demo on the video bellow.

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