The Doors Play Blues In Psychedelic Way


After the era of Elvis come to an end, between 1964-65, four boys from Liverpool, England, who sang rock and roll songs with rags lyrics that time, steal America’s attention. America became a place for the biggest concert of the Beatles, which attract 55,600 people to watch them at Shea Stadium, New York City on August 15, 1965. However in 1967, there was something different. Something deeper and darker than ever.

The Doors consist of Jim Morrison (vocals), Ray Manzarek (keyboards), Robby Krieger (guitar), and John Densmore (drums) formed in 1965 in Los Angeles. Although their first single, Break On Through (To the Other Side) was not attract public attention when it released in January 1967, the second single, Light My Fire which written by Krieger was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in September 1967 for one million units shipped. As of December 1971 it was the band’s best-selling single, with over 927,000 copies sold.


The Doors’ music is a blend of blues, jazz, and psychedelic rock. Besides their dark charisma, Morrison’s baritone voice who sings poetic lyrics, accompanied by Manzarek’s aggresive tunes, Krieger’s seductive rhythm, and Densmore’s jazzy beat are the Doors absolute appeal. 

Some of the Doors characteristics are songs which adhere to America’s condition at that time. Transitional time from the optimism to the cynicism. Meanwhile, the Door’s sex appeal is so striking in it’s seductive lyrics and engaging melody, such as Moonlight Drive, The Crystal Ship, Hello I Love You, and Touch Me.


Krieger’s technique in playing bottleneck guitar and his fingerstyle approach to the electric guitar, produce excellent psychedelic sound. He used 1964 Gibson SG Special, 1958 National ‘Town & Country’ (Model 1104), 1967 Gibson SG Special, 1968 Gibson SG Standard, 1954 Gibson Les Paul Custom (‘Black Beauty’), and Black Gibson SG Standard during his time with the Doors.

The Doors lacked a bass guitarist (except during recording sessions), so at live performances Manzarek played the bass parts on a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass. His signature sound was that of the Vox Continental combo organ, an instrument used by many other psychedelic rock bands of the era. He later used a Gibson G-101 Kalamazoocombo organ (which looks like a Farfisa). Densmore said: 
“There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words.”


If most of the Beatles audience were the teenagers who scream hysterically while watching their performance on stage, the Doors audience were some girls, boys, women, and men, who want to meet Morrison and enjoy the Doors music and performance. Manzarek said:
“Morrison’s lyrics are psychologically deep. So for people to understand Doors music is certainly a testament to their intellects.”