Morrison Hotel by The Doors

American rock group The Doors, from left to right: Ray Manzarek (organist), Robby Krieger (guitarist), Jim Morrison (lead singer), and John Densmore (drummer), posed for the MORRISON HOTEL album cover at Morrison Hotel in Los Angeles, California on December 17, 1969. Photo by Henry Diltz.
American rock group The Doors, from left to right: Ray Manzarek (organist), Robby Krieger (guitarist), Jim Morrison (lead singer), and John Densmore (drummer), posed for the MORRISON HOTEL album cover at Morrison Hotel in Los Angeles, California on December 17, 1969. Photo by Henry Diltz.

Although its actual title has long been in dispute, Morrison Hotel turns out to be an aptly named album by The Doors. Lead vocalist Jim Morrison was involved in composing every song on the album and solely wrote more than half the tracks. Morrison’s lyrics portray a sense of maturity, while musically the group moved towards a more roots-focused rock sound, shedding any remnants of psychedlia from their first four albums. This change in sound was met with both critical and commercial success as this fifth album by the band reached the Top 5 on the US album charts and also became the band’s highest charting album in the UK.

Starting with the infamous incident in Miami, 1969 was a very tough year for The Doors as multiple promoters cancelled shows while Morrison stood trial for indecent exposure and public lewdness (he was later convicted and posthumously pardoned over four decades later). Musically, the group released The Soft Parade, an album greatly enhanced with brass and strings. That album was largely panned by critics (although has held up very well through time) and many were starting to predict the group’s demise. Still the group carried on with future plans, starting with the recording of two concerts and a live rehearsal at the Aquarius Theatre in Hollywood in July, 1969, the fruits of which would be used for several live releases through the decades.

Recording of new material for Morrison Hotel took place in November 1969 with producer Paul Rothchild, who produced all previous Doors’ albums. Guitarist Robbie Krieger co-wrote five of the tracks, while keyboardist Ray Manzarek migrated more towards using acoustic and electric pianos. The front cover photo was taken (without permission) at an actual establishment in Los Angeles called Morrison Hotel, while the back cover is a photograph of a bar called Hard Rock Café. While the album has always been commonly referred to as “Morrison Hotel” due to the front cover, the original LP labeled each side of the album separately, with side one as “Hard Rock Café” and side two as “Morrison Hotel”. This caused some to refer to the album with two titles, “Morrison Hotel/Hard Rock Café” or vice-versa.

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Retrieved on 14 December 2018 from http://www.classicrockreview.com/2015/05/1970-doors-morrison-hotel/

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