Poet William Blake once said 'If The Doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite' (Gilmore 34). From this quote arose a band that even over 20 years after its disbanding still is played and remembered. The Doors started as a little garage band in California back in the early sixties. They were extremely popular due to their lead singer, Jim Morrison. Morrison himself was a real character. Morrison is considered by many critics a modern day poet.
Others view him in a different light, George Will wrote 'Morrison resembled Byron in one aspect, they both were mad, bad, and dangerous to know' (Will 64). Still others view him as a hero of the 'counterculture'. He was a sort of 'Peter Pan', one of those boys who never grew up. Morrison basically was The Doors. His blatant disregard for law and order made him a very well known figure. He was arrested on a few occasions for charges ranging from inciting riots to indecent exposure.
He was also notorious for his drug use and alcohol abuse. His poetry though, justified his lifestyle. There were also three other members of the band: Ray Manzarak (keyboards), John Densmore (drummer), and Robby Krieger (guitarist). They all made up The Doors, but after the death of the lead singer Jim Morrison, the band's popularity dropped significantly. They did though produce three albums after Morrison's untimely demise (all of which were not very popular).
Jim Morrison died on July 4 th, 1971, in Paris, France. He was 27 years old at the time of death (the same age Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died at also). He was found in his bathtub with a cute smirk on his face. He had finally 'broke through to the other side' (Gilmore 35). The Doors were known for their style of rebellious, psychedelic rock. Their music is poetry (written by Jim Morrison) set to music.
Morrison also had many books published just of his poetry. Although not all of The Doors music was written by Morrison, ninety percent of it was. The band was considered a guru by the youngsters of the sixties, and a scourge by the public. The band seemed to fuse music, drugs, and idealism as a way to reform and even redeem a troubled society (Gilmore 34).
They were much like the other bands that were emerging in the sixties, but different in one major way. They looked at prospects of hedonism and violence, revolt and chaos, and seemed to embrace these feelings without shame (Gilmore 35). The band confronted the truth about the troubled youth of the day, and knew that they were living in dangerous times. The Doors used their music to convey a sense of peacefulness while at the same time would bring about a chaotic feeling against the norm of society. The music itself it astounding. Morrison uses symbolism and abstract lyrics to create mental pictures in the listener's imagination.
Jim Morrison led The Doors to break all established boundaries of music in that era, boundaries that society of that day had set. He used his lyrics to talk about death, drugs, homicide, suicide, and even incest, subjects that went against everything that era stood for. While other singers of the time were preparing the people for a world of hope and peace, The Doors were making music for a ravenous and murderous time through sound (Gilmore 33). Morrison quite often opened his shows with the line 'I don't know about you, but I intend to get my kicks before this whole fucking shit house explodes' (Gilmore 35). This total disregard for authority and psychedelic structure led The Doors to be known as what they are today. Morrison had a way of conveying mental pictures to the listener even if the pictures had nothing to do with each other.
Unlike most songs, Morrison didn't need a major theme or some type of main idea to center his lyrics around. This way each listener gets a different picture of the same song in his or her head. This idea to many is confusing but if you have ever heard the song The Soft Parade by The Doors you will understand the concept completely. The Soft Parade has as much to do with parades as it does with doing your taxes.
In one sense though, it is like a 'parade' of images through your mind. The song starts out with the line 'When I was back in seminary school, there was a man there who put forth the proposition that you could petition the Lord with prayer, petition the Lord with prayer'. From there Morrison works his magical lyrics in to a slow, acoustical guitar background. He then asks the listener if 'you could give him sanctuary...
a place to hide'. Then after a few more questions the beat totally changes and so does the tone of Morrison's voice. He is no longer worried for his safety but is singing about '... peppermint mini skirts... and a girl named Sandy... .' .
Then, just as before the beat totally changes and Morrison's attitude does just as before. This time though he really goes into some heavy lyrics. I personally like this part of the song best, due to his abstractness of reality and his vague lyrics with great resolution. 'Catacombs, Nursery bones, Winter women- growing stones, carrying babies to the river, streets and shoes, avenues, letter writers selling news, the monk bought lunch'. As you can see here these are astounding lyrics. They have nothing in common but they do sound great together.
After this verse is when the real heavy keyboards, drums and guitars kick in. 'This is the best part of the trip... this is the trip, the best part... yeah... .' Morrison says in such a way you have to believe him. '...
Welcome to the Soft Parade... all are lives we sweat and save, build in' for a shallow grave, must be somethin' else we say, somehow to defend this pace, everything must be this way... .' . This is an actual theme that just kind of 'pops' out of nowhere.
Even though it has nothing to do with anything else Morrison has been sing, it goes with the song perfectly. After this line he goes back to his original style of abstract lyrics. 'The Soft Parade has now begun, listen to the engines hum, people out to have some fun, cobra on my left- leopard on my right... .' .
This is another great line by Morrison. It gives us great.