The Doors ‘Waiting for the Sun’ Deluxe: Review

The Doors—from left to right: John Densmore (drummer), Ray Manzarek (keyboardist), Jim Morrison (singer), and Robby Krieger (guitarist)—posed for publicity photos for the album WAITING FOR THE SUN in the Santa Monica Mountains in Santa Monica, California in spring 1968. Photo by Paul Ferrara.
The Doors—from left to right: John Densmore (drummer), Ray Manzarek (keyboardist), Jim Morrison (singer), and Robby Krieger (guitarist)—posed for publicity photos for the album WAITING FOR THE SUN in the Santa Monica Mountains in Santa Monica, California in spring 1968. Photo by Paul Ferrara.
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY JEFF BURGER AND PUBLISHED BY BEST CLASSIC BANDS ON OCTOBER 2, 2018.

The original Doors released six studio LPs and one concert album during their brief existence, and all of them reached the Top 10 in Billboard. As the liner notes on this 50th anniversary deluxe edition of Waiting for the Sun remind us, however, it is the only one of their albums that made it all the way to the top of the charts. That doesn’t make it their best release—some of Jim Morrison’s vocals are actually below par here, as are a few of the compositions. Still, there’s a lot to like on this third Doors LP, and it’s not difficult to see why it did so well commercially.

It opens with the infectious—and licentious—“Hello, I Love You,” which as a single also topped the charts, and it includes two memorable apparent responses to the Vietnam War: “The Unknown Soldier,” where Morrison sings, “Bullet strikes the helmet’s head, and it’s all over for the unknown soldier”; and “Five to One,” where he proclaims that “they got the guns but we got the numbers!” Also here are “We Could Be So Good Together,” a holdover from sessions for Strange Days, the previous album; “Not to Touch the Earth,” which sounds as if it could also have appeared on that LP; and the atypical, a cappella “My Wild Love.” Perhaps most notably, the record features an unusually large number of songs that lean more toward gentle folk than hard rock: “Spanish Caravan,” which spotlights Robbie Krieger’s flamenco guitar; the melancholy “Summer’s Almost Gone,” “Wintertime Love” and “Yes, the River Knows”; and the bouncy, piano-flavored “Love Street.”

This 50th anniversary edition offers an excellent remaster of the original stereo mix on both vinyl and CD by original studio engineer Bruce Botnick; a second CD with rough mixes of nine of the album’s 11 songs as well as five live tracks, all of which have not been previously available; and an oversized booklet with extensive liner notes by both Botnick and Rolling Stone’s David Fricke plus the text of Morrison’s “Celebration of the Lizard,” which was originally supposed to fill a side of the album but wound up being omitted.

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