This 1966 debut album by The Doors is ranked #42 in Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 greatest albums of all time and seen as a landmark in rock history. The charismatic front-man and poetic songwriter Jim Morrison was backed by three first class creative musicians and this debut announced that something special had arrived on the rock music scene. Right from the get-go, The Doors demonstrated they were not limited to a single musical style but wove together rock, blues, psychedelia, poetic ballads and longer experimental elegiac pieces like `The End' to build something unique and different. That you can crank up the volume on `Light My Fire' after almost 50 years and still be captured by the visceral get-up-and-dance excitement just says it all; it never seems to age.
The band took its name from Aldous Huxley's work `The Doors of Perception' wherein the author referenced a quote attributed to William Blake "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite".
As with The Rolling Stones' `Beggars Banquet', a playback error in the analog master tapes meant this album had for decades been heard at a 3.5% slower speed than it was actually recorded in the studio, making every song sound one semitone flat. Surprisingly until 2006 nobody noticed: this 2007 `40th Anniversary' re-mix finally rectifies the recording speed issue, and the transformation is astounding. The sound quality of this re-mix is superb, especially clear and sharp for a 1966 recording and unconditionally recommended to all Doors fans. To those of a younger generation who may be curious to discover what all the fuss was about, this is where you should start.
First I must say that I'm not a die hard Doors-fan, but nevertheless I greatly enjoy their first and by far their, in my opinion, best album. I have not listened closely to the other editions of this album so I cannot say that this or that is really different. But what I can say is that there is nothing here that sounds unnatural, like, for instance, the first ZZ Top remixes of their 70's albums. And also, I think it makes sense to let people hear the original lyrics to some of the songs, as in "Break on through", where there is a line of the lyrics where Jimbo on the original releases has been edited to sing "she gets" three times, which doesn't make any sense. Now you can hear the whole phrase as it is supposed to be ("she gets high", makes more sense), whithout being artistically limited by the morals of the day. A small detail one might think but still a great improvement in my opinion. There are a few other similar improvements, as you might hear. Other is that the instrumentation is much clearer of course, and if there has been changes to include alternate solos instead of the originals, for instance, I would also as a hardcore fan be pissed of, and if that is so I can't tell since I've never owned any of the first editions. All I can say is that this edition sounds as clear and crystal an album recorded in the sixties may sound. Oh yes, another change to be done is the speed correction of the music, which to me is not super obvious (so now you can acctually play along without detuning your guitar), but might sound weird to someone who has been listening to the original outputs of this album for forty years. I will nevertheless think of the speed correction as an improvement since it originally was a default caused by the limitations of the technique available back in the mid 60's.
Doors were always aeons ahead of their time. That this album still sounds great, some 45 years after the vinyl version, is testament to the music, lyrics, sound engineers and, of course, the band.
There isn't a bum track on this album and for a debut, it's mind blowing. There's poetry in many of the lyrics and drug induced or not, their language is powerful and relevant. I love the album and can't believe it was only £1.99.
Although I am amazed at my own propensity to shell out my hard-earned on records that I have already got, I don't care, when the albums are as good as this. This nicely-packaged set contains a wonderful mono vinyl copy of The Doors' first album, as well as mono and stereo CD versions, and a good early club performance of the band from The Matrix back in the day.
'The Doors' is simply one of the finest debut albums of all time. Half a century on, the band's ethereal, genuinely spooky music still shimmers and surprises. One of the big revelations to me (and why this should be so, when I have been listening to them over forty years), is just how superbly good a drummer John Densmore is. His contributions are as vital as guitarist Robbie Kreiger and keyboard player Ray Manzarek - as essential, in fact, as Jim Morrison himself. In fact, The Doors were as much the ultimate Rock Band Ensemble as The Band. The mono version is bright, full-sounding and really immersive. Densmore's snare drum cracks, Kreiger's guitar stings, floats and stuns, and Manzarek's keyboards are sinuous and deeply groovy. The packaging - with a fine essay by Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke - is informative and engaging, and although this set ain't cheap, it is stunning, and I shall be returning to it many times over. Priceless music from a stellar band.