The Day The Doors’ Fire Was Lit

After Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman saw The Doors at the Whisky in May 1966, it took until July before he was able to sign the group that would change the course of Elektra. Within a month, they were in Sunset Sound recording one of the great debut albums of all time.

But first, Jac Holzman had to convince Paul Rothchild to produce the band. Rothchild was enamored with The Paupers, a Canadian group who would eventually sign to Verve/Forecast. Despite the backing of impresario Albert Grossman, they flopped miserably. Rothchild was still on parole, and it took some convincing to get permission for him to leave the New Jersey area to work in sinful California. Holzman had to guarantee Rothchild’s good behavior to his parole officer before he could leave for California.

“Rothchild rehearsed The Doors for two solid weeks,” recalls Holzman, “running the material so as to make it second nature when the band got into the studio. They could lay down just a few takes and not drain their enthusiasm or energy. You take the song to 80 percent of where it has to be, and the extra 20 percent comes from the excitement and pressure of recording. When the album was completed, I took the tapes home and listened to them through headphones. I grinned the whole way through. Neither I nor anyone else had heard its like before.”

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