The Doors – Transforming Genres

The Doors – Transforming Genres

The Doors had a transforming impact not only on popular music but also on popular culture. They took rock and manipulated it into other genres. Let’s face it, this band was different and a lot of people embraced their kind of crazy. Their style of aggressive blues rock and poetry left the underground and took command of mainstream America. So, the revolution begins.

Arriving into the music scene in the mid 60s, with an uncompromising attitude that flowed over into their music. You just knew there was going to be trouble and excitement down the road. Their vibe and sound was extremely intoxicating and full of angst mainly because they wrote songs that reflect the times. Add Jim Morrison and his charismatic poetry to the mix and the youth of America and beyond were hooked on this band. 

Music Without Outside Labels

The Doors’ arrival on the rock scene in 1967 marked not only the start of a string of hit singles and albums that become stone classics, but also of something much bigger – a new and deeper relationship between creators and audience. Like Jimi Hendrix, the Doors were ahead of their time. 

Fans felt that the band was totally original in style and their music to some was the height of creativity. Not settling for being just performers, they challenged and inspired their audiences. Still today, after their debut album, The Doors’ music and legacy are more influential than ever before. 

The Band As A Whole

Sure, Jim Morrison is the commanding front-man but credit also needs to be given to the extraordinary power trio of Ray Manzarek,  a musical maniac on the keyboards, Robby Krieger, the talented guitarist that could easily step in and improvise grooves when needed and the dynamic grooves of drummer John Densmore. Easily, these guys could switch things up with a flick of a switch. Along with their songwriting skills, one can truly depend on these guys to get things done. 

Morrison is a film student at UCLA when he meets keyboardist Ray Manzarek  in 1965. Upon hearing Morrison’s poetry, Manzarek immediately suggests they form a band. Meanwhile, Krieger and Densmore, play together in the band “Psychedelic Rangers”, and join the band Morrison and Manzarek. After a  legendary performance at the Whisky-a-Go-Go on the Sunset Strip. They are signed to Elektra Records. The wild road trip begins. 

Their Legacy of Music 

Their first album, released in January 1967, kicking off with “Break on Through (to the Other Side)” and features the chart smash “Light My Fire”, “Back Door Man” and the masterpiece “The End”.  Next came 1968s Waiting for the Sun, boasting “Hello, I Love You”, “Love Street” and “Five to One”. Over the next few years they venture into new territory on the albums such as 1969s The Soft Parade, 1970s Morrison Hotel and 1971s L.A. Woman.

They release six studio albums in all, as well as a live album and a compilation, before Morrison’s death on July 3, 1971. Their  achievements in the studio and onstage are unmatched in the annals of rock. Morrison’s death meant the end of an era.

Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore collaborate on two more original “Doors” albums, Other Voices and Full Circle, and a set of tracks they composed to accompany Morrison’s 1969 recording of his poetry, released in 1978 as An American Prayer. They also pursued individual music projects, books, theatrical productions and other enterprises.  

The Legacy Going Forward

In the decades since the Doors’ heyday, the foursome has loomed ever larger in the pantheon of rock. To this day, they remain an inspiration for writers, activists, visual artists and other creative communities. Their songs, featured in an ever-increasing number of films, TV shows, video games and remixes, always sound uncannily contemporary. 

No matter how the musical and cultural tides turn, The Doors will always be ready to help a new wave of listeners break on through to the other side. The Doors were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993. Ray Manzarek passes in 2013 leaving Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore to carry on the legacy of the band and work on their own projects. Plus, their social media sites give a great insight into what they’re working on and the music of The Doors.


Starting out in the music industry at 18 and to this day still working in the music industry.  In the early 90s, I receive an invitation to a label-retail event. Kind of like NAMM. While hanging out in the bar area with label reps and retailers they’re talking about how great the Doors are. Someone asks for my opinion. I said that at times, they had their great moments and other times I feel they were just OK. There’s a long moment of silence…I said what? You asked for my opinion?

Well, finally someone breaks the silence and responds to me. Turns out Ray Manzarek is one of the people hanging out with us. Yes, the keyboardist of the Doors, promoting a solo project at the time! He leans forward laughing and said “Yeah, we all had our moments and I agree with you!” Well, as it turns out, he’s a really nice guy and took the time to chat with everyone. Furthermore, he was a music geek Just like the rest of us. It was an awesome moment in my musical journey.

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