From left: Behind the Candelabra; Liberace; Tina Turner; What’s Love Got to Do With It? Composite: Moviestore Collection; Alamy
THE GUARDIAN

From The Doors to Behind the Candelabra: which classic biopic is best?

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY JOEL GOLBY AND PUBLISHED BY THE GUARDIAN ON OCTOBER 26, 2018.

Regardless of genre or the individuals in question, music biopics generally follow the same narrative. There’s an early scene where the lead actor does something myth-making before they’re even out of school uniform. Then there’s their first nervous performance, eyes darting around the room as the crowd slowly erupt into an electric cheer; a scene where someone casually offers them their first line of cocaine; a “three years later” fast forward and a pulsating slow-zoom on Madison Square Garden, which is rocking; them, wearing sunglasses indoors, wild-haired and inhaling violently off a mirror.

Then it’s either redemption or death, and for some reason this film always takes 15 years to make, and always—despite a cosmic performance by the lead actor, who has normally gone so far into the character that they now embody them to an eerie degree that takes psychological assistance to get them out of it again—it’s always just a bit, well, crap.

With Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in cinemas, and Amy Winehouse’s family recently signing a deal to make a biopic of the late singer’s life, here are some of the good—and bad—films about musicians, ranked according to the metrics that matter…

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STEREOGUM

The Number Ones: The Doors’ “Light My Fire”

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY TOM BREIHAN AND PUBLISHED BY STEREOGUM ON OCTOBER 16, 2018.

In The Number Ones, I’m reviewing every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, starting with the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and working my way up into the present.

The Doors – “Light My Fire”

They’ve been a favorite critical target for generations, but the Doors were, at the very least, an important band. They taught people. Prog and metal learned from the band’s self-important sprawl. Goth learned from Jim Morrison’s romantic hedonism and theatrical darkness. Punk learned from his negate-everything nihilism. And the band’s dank dread helped usher out the era of flowery psychedelia—one that had just taken root when the band first found its way to #1 on July 29, 1967.

From a certain perspective, though, the Doors’ greatest feat wasn’t in all the people they influenced or in the tides they changed. It was in how they became pop stars in the first place. This was not a foregone conclusion. Consider, for example, the Stooges, another Elektra Records hard-rock band with an experimental bent, a guttural fuck-everything point of view, an apocalyptic sense of doom, and a photogenic desperado out front. Both bands were out there on the road, with their brains squirming like toads, around the same time. Both were hugely influential. But the Doors were almost instantly huge, and the Stooges couldn’t get arrested.

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The Doors appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show at the Ed Sullivan Theater at CBS Studios in New York City, NY on September 18, 1967.
BEAT

Light My Fire

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY RASMA RAISTERS AND PUBLISHED BY BEAT ON OCTOBER 11, 2018.

One of the most revolutionary bands of the 1960s was The Doors. Like other bands that skyrocketed to stardom and popularity, they had a vocalist that was dynamite – Jim Morrison. Like other such vocalists, unfortunately, in time Morrison discovered what it was like to climb to the top of the pedestal only to come tumbling down the hard way. He pushed himself to the limit mixing drugs with alcohol and hard living. Six years passed from the time of the formation of the band in 1966 to the death of Morrison in 1971. During that time they released six studio albums.

The Doors consisted of vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore.

Their debut album simply titled The Doors was released in 1967 and included one of their most popular hits “Light My Fire” and the single “Break On Through (To the Other side)”. The Doors quickly captured everyone’s attention. This album also included a song titled “The End” which ran for over 11 minutes and became one of rock’s first long-form compositions.

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American rock group The Doors posed for the album MORRISON HOTEL at Morrison Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. From Left: Ray Manzarek (1939-2013), Robby Krieger, Jim Morrison (1943-71), and John Densmore. Photo by Henry Diltz.
CHERRY STEREO

8-Trackin’: The Doors, ‘Morrison Hotel’ (1970)

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY ANDREW TONKIN AND PUBLISHED BY CHERRY STEREO ON OCTOBER 11, 2018.

Before Jim ascended to that great snakepit in the sky, the Doors put out six studio albums. Conventional wisdom holds that the first (The Doors) and the last (L.A. Woman) were strongest, with quality dipping a bit mid-career. There’s certainly some truth to this, with treacly pop #4 The Soft Parade easily the nadir. However, album five, Morrison Hotel, is actually pretty fantastic, with nary a bad song nor sour note. Since it didn’t have an actual hit single (radio favorite “Roadhouse Blues” was a B-side that only went to #50), it tends to be overlooked. If you haven’t visited the Hotel in a while (or ever), let’s “check in” and check it out.

No epics. Jim always had that mystical poet side, and some of the Doors’ best moments onstage were the long, experimental, partly spoken numbers such as “The End” and “When The Music’s Over.” Though these translated well into long album cuts, they could be a bit much if you weren’t in the mood for the “weird Jim.” Like Waiting for the Sun (album three), Morrison Hotel limits itself to relatively short pop songs, and is thus easier to enjoy any time of day, in any state of mind.

Mostly happy. Eh, is that a plus? Well, remember we’re talking about the Doors here, whose brightest moments were still pretty dark and glum. So they achieve a really nice tension giving a lyric like “The human race was dyin’ out / No one left to scream and shout” (“Ship of Fools”) a carefree, bubblegum feel — you’re forced to smile while singing along.

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Waiting For The Sun 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition LP (12" album, 33 rpm), 2CD
THE SECOND DISC

Review: The Doors, “Waiting for the Sun: 50th Anniversary Edition”

Upon its release in July 1968, some might have found the title of The Doors’ third album, Waiting for the Sun, to be ironic. After all, Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore, were hardly ever in pursuit of anything remotely sunny. But the album, with its rather bucolic cover shot, most certainly struck a chord with listeners in the year between The Summer of Love and Woodstock.

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.
BEST CLASSIC BANDS

The Doors ‘Waiting for the Sun’ Deluxe: Review

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.

Waiting For The Sun (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
TMR

Album and Book Reviews: The Doors - Waiting for the Sun, Plus More New Albums and a Springsteen Bio

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 reminds 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.

Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, onstage at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California on July 5,1968. Photo by Henry Diltz.
HISTORY 101

The mysterious death of Jim Morrison

The Lizard King is dead! Or is he? When Pamela Courson discovered her lover Jim Morrison lifeless body in their Parisian apartment bathroom on July 3, 1971, the whole world mourned for the rebel who defined counterculture. His funeral was kept quiet with few in attendance, and people wonder why his burial was so hush-hush. Is there more behind the death of the leather-clad god? Or is it all one big conspiracy? Ruled as a death caused by heart failure, the young musician died young, but he left behind a legacy that continues to live on fifty years later.

Photograph: Araldo Di Crollalanza/REX/Shutterstock
THE GUARDIAN

How we made the Doors' Hello, I Love You

John Densmore, drummer

Jim Morrison wrote the words for Hello, I Love You when we were still in a band called Rick & the Ravens. “Sidewalk crouches at her feet / Like a dog that begs for something sweet.” That’s a crazy great lyric! He couldn’t play an instrument but he’d come up with melodies in order to remember his incredible words. We’d been walking around the boardwalk of Venice, one of the few diverse areas in LA in the 60s, when Jim saw an African American girl. She was the “dusky jewel” who inspired the song.

Single - People Are Strange
PROFESSIONAL MORON

People Are Strange: Contemplating The Doors’ Classic (& Strangeness)

Bit of a curiosity from The Doors here as we end the week on a musical number. People Are Strange was released as a single in September of 1967 (the band’s first single after the famous Light My Fire), so that’s 51 years back, and found pride of place on the Strange Days album. There was a quirky little video to accompany the quirky psychedelic rock number, too – so why not have a gander, you weirdo?