The Doors- Waiting For The Sun (1968)

OriginalFrontCover1Waiting for the Sun is the third studio album by the American rock band the Doors, recorded from February to May 1968 and released in July 1968. It became the band’s first and only No. 1 album, spawning their second US number one single, “Hello, I Love You”. It also became the band’s first hit album in the UK, where it peaked at No. 16 on the chart.

The recording of Waiting for the Sun was, by all accounts, troubled. For one, the band had plundered Morrison’s original songbook, a collection of lyrics and ideas, for their first two albums. Consequently, after months of touring, interviews, and television appearances, they had little new material. To compensate, the band struggled mightily to record a longer piece called “The Celebration of the Lizard,” a collection of song fragments stitched together by Morrison’s often surreal poetry. Frustrated by their lack of progress, the band and producer Paul A. Rothchild abandoned the recording. The group would revisit it later in its full-length form on their 1970 album Absolutely Live. Rothchild’s growing perfectionism was also becoming an issue for the band; each song on the album required at least twenty takes and “The Unknown Soldier”, recorded in two parts, took 130 takes. Most troubling of all, however, was Morrison’s drinking, which was nearing epic proportions. In a 1994 interview with Guitar World, guitarist Robby Krieger was asked what memories he had of making the album and he replied:

“A lot of horrible ones. Jim was being taken advantage of by all these various hangers-on. He would bring them into the studio and Rothchild would go crazy – all these drunken assholes…Jim would drink with anybody because we wouldn’t drink with him…I never drank with him because I don’t like to drink to excess and he loved to go until he couldn’t see. I knew what was coming and hated to see it, so I would usually be gone by that point. John and Ray felt the same way.”

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In the June 1999 issue of Guitar World, keyboardist Ray Manzarek expressed a similar view of Morrison: “Not that he hadn’t been drinking before, but it was now taken to a whole new level. This was no longer a young man’s drinking; it was a full-grown man’s drinking.” The album marked Manzarek’s transition from a Vox Continental to Gibson G-101, the organ he is best known for playing live. The brighter sound of the Vox does appear on a few songs, most notably “We Could Be So Good Together.”

Waiting for the Sun includes the band’s second chart topper, “Hello, I Love You.” One of the last remaining songs from Morrison’s 1965 batch of tunes, it had been demoed by the group for Aura Records in 1965 before Krieger had been a member, as had “Summer’s Almost Gone.” In the liner notes to the Doors Box Set, Robby Krieger denied the allegations that the song’s musical structure was stolen from Ray Davies, where a riff similar to it is featured in The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night”. Instead, he said the song’s vibe was taken from Cream’s song “Sunshine of Your Love”. According to the Doors biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, courts in the UK determined in favor of Davies and any royalties for the song are paid to him.

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Waiting for the Sun contains two songs with militant themes: “Five to One” and “The Unknown Soldier”. In his 1980 Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, Jerry Hopkins speculates the song seems to be a parody of all the naive revolutionary rhetoric heard on the streets spouted by the “hippie/flower child” hordes he saw in growing numbers panhandling outside concert halls, an interpretation strongly supported by the final verse’s lines “Your ballroom days are over, baby” and “Trade in your flowers for a handful of dimes.” The former line (“Your ballroom days are over baby/Night is drawing near/Shadows of the evening/crawl across the years”) may have been lifted by Morrison from the 19th-century hymnal and bedtime rhyme “Now the Day is Over” (“Now the day is over/Night is drawing nigh/Shadows of the evening/Steal across the sky”). “The Unknown Soldier” is less obtuse but no less compelling and is a good example of the group’s cinematic approach to their music. In the beginning, as well as after the middle of the song, the mysterious sounds of the organ is heard, depicting the mystery of the “Unknown Soldier”. In the middle of the song, the Doors produce the sounds of what appears to be a marching cadence. It begins with military drums, plus the sound of the Sergeant counting off in 4s, (HUP, HUP, HUP 2 3 4), until he says “COMPANY! HALT! PRESENT! ARMS!” being followed by the sounds of loading rifles, and a long military drum roll, a pause, and then the rifle shots; in live performances Krieger would point his guitar towards Morrison like a rifle, drummer John Densmore would emulate a gunshot by producing a loud rimshot by hitting the edge of the snare drum, and breaking the drum sticks, Manzarek would raise his hand and drop it as if to release the signal, and Morrison would fall screaming to the ground. After this middle section, the verses return, with Morrison, first singing in a sadder tone, to “Make a grave for the Unknown Soldier”, with the mysterious organ being heard. The song ends with Morrison’s ecstatic celebration of a war being over, with sounds of crowds cheering and bells tolling. Ironically, as pointed out in the 2010 film When You’re Strange, at the height of Morrison’s success, his father, an Admiral, was commanding a division of aircraft carriers off the coast of Vietnam. The song was Morrison’s reaction to the Vietnam War and the way that conflict was portrayed in American media at the time. With lines such as “Breakfast where the news is read/ Television children fed/ Unborn living, living dead/ Bullets strike the helmet’s head” concerning how news of the war was being presented in the living rooms of ordinary people. The band also shot a film for the song, which was released as a single and became the group’s fourth consecutive Top 40 hit.

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The Doors performing for Danish televison in 1968

The centerpiece of this album was supposed to be the lengthy theatrical piece “Celebration of the Lizard”, but in the end only the “Not to Touch the Earth” section was used. (In a 1969 interview with Jerry Hopkins for Rolling Stone, Morrison said of the epic, “It was pieced together on different occasions out

of already existing elements rather than having any generative core from which it grew. I still think there’s hope for it.”) At the conclusion of “Not to Touch the Earth,” Morrison utters his iconic personal maxim, “I am the Lizard King/I can do anything.” The opening lines of the song, “Not to touch the earth/not to see the sun” were taken from the table of contents of The Golden Bough. Krieger’s skills with the flamenco guitar can be found on “Spanish Caravan”, with Granainas intro and a reworking of the melody from the classical piece Asturias (Leyenda) composed by Isaac Albéniz. The optimistic “We Could Be So Good Together” had been recorded during the sessions for Strange Days, even appearing on an early track listing for the album. A review in Slant Magazine[4] described the song as “categorically pre-fame Morrison,” pointing out that the line “The time you wait subtracts from joy” is the kind of hippie idealism the singer had long given up on. “Wintertime Love” (the closest the band ever came to a Christmas song) and the mournful “Summer’s Almost Gone” address seasonal themes, while the gentle “Yes, the River Knows” was written by Robby Krieger. In the liner notes to the 1997 Doors retrospective Box Set, Manzarek praises the song: “The piano and guitar interplay is absolutely beautiful. I don’t think Robby and I ever played so sensitively together. It was the closest we ever came to be being Bill Evans and Jim Hall.” In the same essay, Mazarek calls “Summer’s Almost Gone” “a cool Latino-Bolero kind of thing with a Bach-like bridge. It’s about the ephemeral nature of life. A season of joy and light and laughter is coming to an end.” While recording “My Wild Love,” the band eventually gave up on the music and turned it into work song by getting everyone in the studio to clap their hands, stamp their feet, and chant in unison.[1][full citation needed] Morrison wrote “Love Street” for his girlfriend Pamela Courson, and like all of his other songs about or dedicated to her, there was a hesitancy or biting refusal at the end (“I guess I like it fine, so far”). The title track “Waiting for the Sun” was left off this album, but would be included on the 1970 album Morrison Hotel. Waiting for the Sun ended up being the shortest studio album by the band.

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Rare alternate front+back cover (from Germany)

On the cover of the album, Morrison is seen wearing Glen Buxton’s black sweater. Having been intoxicated the night before the shooting of the cover photo, the next morning Jim “started freaking out because the band wanted a picture of them at dawn, and he didn’t have enough time to go home and get his clothes.”[this quote needs a citation]
Release

Waiting for the Sun was released on July 3, 1968. The album has sold over 9 million copies. The US monophonic pressing, though only a fold down of the stereo mix to mono, is one of the rarest pop/rock LPs and has been sought after by collectors for years. A studio run-through of “Celebration of the Lizard” (subtitled “An Experiment/Work in Progress”) and two early takes of “Not to Touch the Earth” were included as bonus tracks on the 40th anniversary expanded edition release of this album. (by wikipedia)

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The Doors’ 1967 albums had raised expectations so high that their third effort was greeted as a major disappointment. With a few exceptions, the material was much mellower, and while this yielded some fine melodic ballad rock in “Love Street,” “Wintertime Love,” “Summer’s Almost Gone,” and “Yes, the River Knows,” there was no denying that the songwriting was not as impressive as it had been on the first two records. On the other hand, there were first-rate tunes such as the spooky “The Unknown Soldier,” with antiwar lyrics as uncompromisingly forceful as anything the band did, and the compulsively riff-driven “Hello, I Love You,” which nonetheless bore an uncomfortably close resemblance to the Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night.” The flamenco guitar of “Spanish Caravan,” the all-out weirdness of “Not to Touch the Earth” (which was a snippet of a legendary abandoned opus, “The Celebration of the Lizard”), and the menacing closer “Five to One” were also interesting. In fact, time’s been fairly kind to the record, which is quite enjoyable and diverse, just not as powerful a full-length statement as the group’s best albums. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
John Densmore (drums, perucussion, background vocals)
Robby Krieger (guitar, percussion, background vocals)
Ray Manzarek (keyboards, percussion, background vocals)
Jim Morrison (vocals, percussion)
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Douglas Lubahn (bass)
Kerry Magness (bass on 06.)
Leroy Vinnegar (bass on 07.)

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Tracklist:
01. Hello, I Love You (Jim Morrison) 2.39 (1)
02. Love Street (written by Morrison) 2.53
03. Not To Touch The Earth (Morrison) 3.56
04.Summer’s Almost Gone (Morrison) 3.22
05. Wintertime Love (Morrison/Manzarek/Krieger/Densmore) 1.54
06. The Unknown Soldier (Morrison/Manzarek/Krieger/Densmore)  3.23
07. Spanish Caravan (Morrison/Manzarek/Krieger/Densmore) 3.03 (2)
08. My Wild Love (Morrison/Manzarek/Krieger/Densmore) 3.01
o9. We Could Be So Good Together (Morrison/Manzarek/Krieger/Densmore) 2.26
10. Yes, The River Knows (Krieger) 2.36
11. Five To One (Morrison) 4.26
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12. Albinoni’s Adagio In G minor (Giazotto) 4.32
13. Not To Touch The Earth (Dialogue) (Morrison/Manzarek/Krieger/Densmore) 0.38
14. Not To Touch The Earth (take 1) (Morrison/Manzarek/Krieger/Densmore) 4.05
15. Not To Touch The Earth (take 2) (Morrison/Manzarek/Krieger/Densmore) 4.18
16. Celebration Of The Lizard (An Experiment/Work in Progress) (Morrison) 17.10

(1) the 40th Anniversary Mix includes a longer fade-out
(2) Thanks to Mister Ärmel for the hint

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The Doors – Alive, She Cried (1983)

FrontCover1Alive, She Cried is a live album by the American rock band The Doors; the title of the album is taken from a line in the song “When the Music’s Over”. Following the resurgence in popularity for the band due to the 1979 film, Apocalypse Now, and the release of the first Doors compilation album in seven years, Greatest Hits, released in 1980, the push was on to release more Doors music.

The recordings are from various concerts during the period 1968–1970; they include “Gloria”, originally a hit for Them, and an extended version of The Doors’ best known song “Light My Fire”. John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful joined the band on stage to play harmonica on Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster”. The album was discontinued as 1991 saw the release of In Concert, a double-album which included all of the songs from Alive, She Cried and Absolutely Live, as well as a few other live tracks. The version of “Light My Fire” from this album is actually from a variety of sources. “The Graveyard Poem” is actually a recited poetry piece from Boston in April 1970. It was inserted into the break of “Light My Fire” for this album. “Gloria” was also edited to exclude some risque verses. Later releases of “Gloria” on the Bright Midnight label restored the edited verses.

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In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau wrote that the tapes are “of some quality” and Morrison is effective when he focuses on singing, but the album is marred by moments “when he emits his poetry” and “narcissistic” come-ons. Rolling Stone’s Parke Puterbaugh rated it four out of five stars, explaining that it “brings […] the Doors’ impossibly strange and wonderful music, Morrison’s drunken loutishness and his stabbingly sober poetics, and the brilliant, vivid sparking of a machine too mercurial to last.” He concluded by stating that “”Light My Fire” […] flares upward into an intensifying bolt of passion that crescendos with […] a scream signifying the communal orgasm of a generation and a decade and a band that would flame out and fall silent all too quickly.” In a retrospective review, AllMusic’s Bruce Eder said that Alive, She Cried “helped solve [Absolutely Live’s] problem” of “[leaving] more casual fans rather cold, owing to the absence of any of their biggest hits”. However, he pointed out that “it also revealed the reason why ‘Light My Fire’ had not made it onto the prior live album”. (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
John Densmore (drums)
Robby Krieger (guitar)
Ray Manzarek (organ, keyboard bass)
Jim Morrison (vocals)
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John Sebastian (harmonica on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Gloria (Morrison) 6.17
02. Light My Fire (Krieger) 9.51
03. You Make Me Real (Morrison) 3.06
04. The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat) (Morrison) 1.52
05. Love Me Two Times (Krieger) 3.17
06. Little Red Rooster (Dixon) 7.05
07. Moonlight Drive (incl. Horse Latitudes) (Morrison) 5.34
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08. The End (Morrison) 11.41

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