The Doors - Waiting For The Sun: 50th Anniversary Edition

The Doors’ photo shoot for the album WAITING FOR THE SUN was shot in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Paul Ferrara.
The Doors’ photo shoot for the album WAITING FOR THE SUN was shot in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Paul Ferrara.

If, as social historians like to claim, the Summer of Love was 1967, then the following year was perhaps the other side of that coin of the realm for the peace, love, and togetherness movement. Assassinations, riots, and widespread unrest blanketed the year 1968, the same year The Doors’ third album Waiting for the Sun was released. Not blanketed in warmth and comfort, mind you, but rather draped over it, like the flag over the coffins of soldiers, or the last of the Baby Boomer generation’s heroes who met their end via assassination, or carpet-bombed in deadly poison across South Vietnam, or even smothered with water cannons used to wash away protesters on the streets of Chicago.

Odd then, that this release, the third re-issue of their catalog, coming at the 50th anniversary, starts off not in the heretofore typical dour and foreboding fashion in which their first two albums closed, but rather in lilting, precious, and pop-centric fashion with the twin delights of “Hello, I Love You” and “Love Street.” The first, bouncing along with keyboardist Ray Manzarek’s beefy chord riff, and the second guided by the interplay between his delicate work and guitarist Robbie Krieger’s fingerpicking brilliance (more on that), also feature some of Jim Morrison’s more straight-forward, dare I say romantic lyrics, homages to his girlfriend Pamela Courson.

Yet, the radio-friendly opening didn’t last long. The remaining nine songs are at times ominous and even threatening in their message of uncertainty and death. On the finale, Morrison urges his fans and peers to push back against the powers-that-be, citing size advantages (“They got the guns, but we got the numbers”) backed with death’s inevitability (“No one here gets out alive”) to convince the younger generation that their strength will change the world; “Gonna win, yeah, we’re takin’ over… come on!” It’s one of the band’s more confrontational social commentaries, eschewing the inner philosophical musings and pushing for outright populist revolution. If there is a rallying cry for the year 1968, “Five to One” may well be it.

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