Thursday, January 10, 2013

Top 5 Songs: The Doors


And you know what that means; yes folks, it's that time again for the weekly edition of the Top 5 Songs taken from any album of my choosing. Today's pick is from the debut album from The Doors, titled simply, "The Doors."

Ah yes, and what a debut album it was.

This during the flower power and hippy movement, going strong and continually growing across the nation as a huge pop cultural phenomenon.

Everything was going along all smooth and calm until a certain band erupted on to the music scene like a cold, sobering breeze from the beaches of California. And that band called themselves The Doors.

Led by the ever charismatic poetry-spouting Jim Morrison, who would go on to become the the poster boy and stereotypical rock and roll front-man for new audiences to follow, The Doors quickly established themselves as a music force to be reckoned with.

Released in January of 1967, the self-titled debut album from The Doors rocketed up the charts, eventually settling at #2, going multi-platinum in no time at all.

And really if you look at the list of popular songs by the Doors, it's amazing to consider just how many of them came from their debut album alone.

Here's the complete song-list:

Side one

  1. "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" – 2:29
  2. "Soul Kitchen" – 3:35
  3. "The Crystal Ship" – 2:34
  4. "Twentieth Century Fox" – 2:33
  5. "Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)" (Bertolt BrechtKurt Weill) – 3:20
  6. "Light My Fire" – 7:06

Side two

  1. "Back Door Man" (Willie Dixon) – 3:34
  2. "I Looked at You" – 2:22
  3. "End of the Night" – 2:52
  4. "Take It as It Comes" – 2:23
  5. "The End" – 11:41

Incredible huh?

So, I've taken it upon my self to try and pick my top 5 songs of this album, and yes it wouldn't be easy.

5).  "Soul Kitchen"/ "Twentieth Century Fox"
                                Soul Kitchen

I had to use a tie here, and these two were my choices for that tie. I really feel both songs fit this spot, meriting the position they earn on my list.

                          20th Century Fox

Soul Kitchen's seems to be just as catchy as 20th Century Fox, and both songs kind of have the same tune and musical style. Well at least to me they sound similar.

4). "The Crystal Ship"

Much like the top song on my list, "End of the night", this song is wildly hypnotic and thoroughly engaging. It's a perfect song to smoke weed or trip to, because, well hell, just listen to it and tell me I'm wrong. The whole production, from the instruments to the vocals makes this a solid hit and damn fine song for me.

And if you'd like, you can imagine the crystal ship being a ghostly ship that carries off the souls of the dead to their final resting places, much like the the Ferryman does along the mythic River Styx.

3). "Alabama Song(Whiskey Bar)"

If this song wasn't meant for drunken karaoke singers across the world, I don't know what is.
It's perfectly ideal for drunken or fun-loving idiots to sing along and belt out this famous tune. You don't have to know all the words, and after more than a few drinks, you probably won't. But you'll at least be able to shout out "Must have whiskey all of the time!"

Admit it; you've even probably been guilty of it at least once yourself;)

2). "Back Door Man"
If you're at all familiar with this song, then it's not that hard to imagine how this song got on the list. Trust me, it's just that damn good. It reeks of  a new age-type of Blues, the type that only a band like the Doors and a singer like Jim Morrison can deliver.

I love the lyrics to this song:

"Wha, yeah! 
C'mon, yeah 
Yeah, c'mon, yeah 
Yeah, c'mon 
Oh, yeah, ma 

Yeah, I'm a back door man 
I'm a back door man 
The men don't know 
But the little girl understand 

Hey, all you people that tryin' to sleep 
I'm out to make it with my midnight dream, yeah 
'Cause I'm a back door man 
The men don't know 
But the little girls understand 
All right, yeah 

You men eat your dinner 
Eat your pork and beans 
I eat more chicken 
Than any man ever seen, yeah, yeah 

I'm a back door man, wha 
The men don't know 
But the little girl understand 

Well, I'm a back door man 
I'm a back door man 
Whoa, baby, I'm a back door man 
The men don't know 
But the little girls understand"


Now of course you can get two or more meanings from the lyrics. The original songwriter and legendary blues singer Willie Dixon probably meant the term Back Door Man, as being he's the type of guy that creeps into the backdoor, while the husband/boyfriend leaves out the front.

Of course with Jim Morrison, it might be the other meaning; meaning he likes to hit it in the boo-hole if you know what I mean;) Either one works here, but knowing Morrison, it's probably the last one.

1). "End of the Night"

Surprised by what song ended up as my top pick? Not me.
I'm probably one of a very select few that like, but don't love the classic hit singles from this album, like "Light my Fire" and "Break on Through". Like I said I like 'em, but due to their being overplayed and other factors, they just don't make my own top 5 list. No doubt they will for you, and that's cool.

I love End of the Night because it's such a beautifully, hypnotic tune. It's like being at a warped carnival on acid, but with that one certain tune that seems to draw you in and doesn't let you go. It's haunting, but in a beautiful way.

Ray Manzarek's haunting keyboards sets the mood, while Robby Krieger's guitar punctuates and helps color the mood. John Dinsmore keeps the steady beat, and Morrison kills with his lyrics that seem to echo and rattle around in your brain long after he's done singing.  And that's why this song is #1 in my book.

And that's my top 5 picks from this album. I'd be more than happy to hear yours.

Have a good weekend people and take care.........


Dan said...

Nice post! Me I was late getting onto the doors. I really only paid attention after the Lost Boys soundtrack sadly enough.

Still Light my Fire is a good song round the BBQ table, but yeah my money has to go with Break on Through simply because I really like it on an albulm where the first track heralds a good listen is ahead and starts with a great intro. Albums that miss this factor just stink. Simple I know - but that's me.

Dale Bagwell said...

Yeah, again really good songs, instant classics for sure. I've just heard them waaaaay too many times since most classic rock/rock stations usually only play the hits, and not enough B- or C-sides. It's a problem I wish would change, so other good and classic songs could get their moment to shine.

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