The Doors' Robby Krieger Remembers the Band's First Gigs with Long Lost Early Tapes

Even legends have to start somewhere.

For the Doors—the psych rock pioneers who pushed the limits of minds and music with tracks like “Light My Fire,” “Love Me Two Times” and “L.A. Woman”—it can all be traced to the London Fog on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. Just months after forming, the nascent group was offered a residency at the down-at-the-heels club in early 1966. Having played little more than the odd college party for their UCLA film school friends, the London Fog became the Doors’ home base and testing ground. Six nights a week, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., singer/poet Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore honed their skills, both musical and theatrical.

An often absent crowd gave the quartet freedom to experiment, emboldening them to introduce daring original compositions alongside covers of early rock and R&B standards by Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Big Joe Williams. Unlike their bar band contemporaries, the Doors brought jazz sensibilities to their set, exploding each song and exploring individual sections with lengthy instrumental solos and improvisational lyrical passages. Though they would ultimately find fame and fortune a few doors down at the Whisky a Go Go, where they served as the house band later that summer, the Doors truly came of age at the London Fog.

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