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The Jim Morrison Project is an audio & visual anthology detailing the life of Jim Morrison through his poetry, film work, artwork, spoken word & music with The Doors.

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Check in to the ‘Morrison Hotel’ 40 Years Later

The Doors 1968

1970 was more than the dawn of a new decade. It was also the end of an era.

The year began with the breakup of the Beatles, wrapped up with the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and was also hallmarked by any number of other musical convolutions. The Rolling Stones did not release a new studio LP, The Who were still struggling to follow up "Tommy," and rock 'n' roll itself was on such shaky ground that, when the critics looked around and tried to prophesy what the "Next Big Thing" was going to be, most of them settled upon the crop of singer-songwriters who—let's be honest here—would barely have gotten a look in a year or two before.

The Doors - Morrison HotelAnd then The Doors released "Morrison Hotel," and, for 40 marvelous minutes or so, it was worth waking up in the morning again.

Dave Marsh at Creem called The Doors' fifth album "the most horrifying rock and roll I have ever heard," and that was a compliment. "When they're good, they're simply unbeatable." It was the best record he'd heard all year.

Rock Magazine and Circus unanimously agreed that it was The Doors' best record yet, and while it was maybe a little early to be making such pronouncements ('Morrison Hotel' was released in February 1970), Circus described it as "one of the best albums released this decade."

Which, coming hot on the heels of what had been the most tumultuous year in the band's career so far, must have been music to their ears. Jim Morrison was still reeling from the ugliness unleashed by the Miami bust for obscenity; the band as a whole was still shaken by the almost unanimously hostile reception that greeted their last album, "Soft Parade." Indeed, organist Ray Manzarek is still capable of summoning up a considerable quantity of bile when recalling the reaction which that record provoked.

"'How dare The Doors use horns and strings; who do they think we are? We want them to keep playing songs the way they are. How dare they add something to it because when they do that; they're not The Doors," Manzarek says.

He laughs.

"All right, all right, it's my fault; I take full responsibility. It was my idea to put on some horns and strings, get some jazz players," Manzarek says.

His voice oozing sarcasm, Manzarek remembers that album's planning stages. "We've done three albums and they're all exactly the same… there must be something we can do that's different."

There was, and they did it. And what happened? "A lot of people say, 'Oh, I don't like it, …'" he says

There was just one solution. "OK, we'll go back to the blues and do something down and dirty and funky. Here's 'Morrison Hotel.' The Doors back to the roots. And that's what we did. The Doors went back to the roots, the tight roots sound.

"The next leap would have been into synthesizers. We never quite got around to that, to the ARP, the Moog. We didn't quite get those in, but we definitely would have. And you can bet that had the synth been a little further along, or The Doors been a little further along, all those horns and strings on the 'Soft Parade would have been done by me. I would have found the horn sound or the string sound. …"

In the meantime, however, "Morrison Hotel" "was just back to basics." But not, Manzarek insists, as a reaction to the panning that "Soft Parade" received. "Not at all. It was our choice. Quite frankly, we didn't pay a lot of attention to the critics because, when it comes time for creation, you go into a different space where there's nothing but you and your music, and how can you make your music as good as it can possibly be at this moment in time?

"We live in our own room, all bands do. Imagine Jimi Hendrix doing anything that Jimi Hendrix didn't want to do. Whether its horns and strings or synths or back to basics, that's your decision, and that's what we did," Manzarek says. "We looked at one another and said 'OK, let's get funky. Let's get funky, let's do it'."

Just two external players were recruited—bassist Lonnie Mack and the mysterious G Puglese, a harmonica wizard who only later turned out to be John Sebastian. Compare that to the small army of auxiliaries who turned out for "Soft Parade;" and compare the relaxed, almost effortless feel of the music, again, with that which preceded it. If you want your Doors dangerous, there's no comparison.

"Morrison Hotel" is not the sole glimpse into this new-found funkiness around these days. Earlier this year, a staggering six CDs of live material culled from The Doors' four-show residency at the Felt Forum in New York provided us with the most complete examination yet of The Doors as a working band.

Dave Thompson (2010, August 10). Check in to the 'Morrison Hotel' 40 years later. Retrieved March 14, 2014, from www.goldminemag.com
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Guest Friday, 24 October 2014

The Doors Playlist

  • Jim Morrison The Doors ~Light My Fire
  • The Doors Live Footage at "Kongreßhalle" Frankfurt 1968
  • Feast Of Friends Trailer - Nov. 10th, 2014
  • Stories of my time with Jim Morrison
  • Jim Morrison "Tales Of The American Night" (The Lost Paris Tape) Poetry Recording 1969
  • L'Histoire de Jim Morrison (Documentaire français 1991 TVRip)
  • Three Hours For Magic  The Jim Morrison special
  • The Doors  "Miami - March 1, 1969"
  • The Doors - R-Evolution 2013 (Official DVD Release)
  • The Doors PBS Studio 1969 Full concert
  • The Doors Break On Through at "She-Bang" 1967 New Good Quality
  • The Doors Break On Through "Promotional & Publicity Film" 1966 HD New Footage
  • Jim Morrison - VH1 Confidential Segment
  • The Doors at '"Murray the K In New York" Full Outtakes 1967
  • The Doors - Light My Fire [HD]
  • Jim Morrison Backstage at "Bakersfield Civic Center " 1968 Footage
  • The Doors- Light My Fire Official Live
  • the doors - love me two times
  • Jim Morrison on Why Fat is Beautiful | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios
  • Before the End: Searching for Jim Morrison [OFFICIAL FILM PREVIEW]
  • Riders on the Storm - The Doors HD
  • The Doors, Mr. Mojo Risin The Story Of LA Woman
  • Jim Morrison: His Final Hours - "Final 24"
  • The Doors Aura Studio Demos (1965) [Early recordings of the Doors]
  • THE doors - Live at the Bowl `68
  • Doorstown: Jim Morrison and The Doors Documentary
  • Jim Morrison on the Future of Music (Electronic Music)
  • The Doors Live 1968
  • The Doors Are Open (Full Movie)
  • The Doors   Soundstage Performances 1969
  • The Doors: Mr. Mojo Risin - The Story of LA Woman extras
  • Harrison Ford touring with The Doors (1968)
  • The Doors - Bakersfield 1970 (Synced footage)
  • The Doors When the Music's Over Live at Matrix "San Francisco" 1967
  • Turn out the Lights - Jim Morrison's last night on stage
  • The Doors | People Are Strange (Official Video)
  • The Doors Break on Through Live at "Boston" 1970
  • Members of The Doors Discuss The Genesis of "Mr. Mojo Risin'"
  • Patricia Kennealy-Morrison on Jim Morrison
  • Jim Morrison & Women
  • 40 Second Wonder ;)
  • The Doors - Roadhouse Blues, BEST version (live in N.Y. 1970) [music video]
  • The Doors - rare - backstage before a concert
  • The Doors - L.A. Woman - HQ (official music video)
  • The Doors - Wishful Sinful
  • The Doors Build Me a Woman Live at Aquarius Theater "Private Rehearsal" 1969
  • The Doors Morrison Hotel Silent 8mm Film Footage 1969 The Changeling 12 11 70
  • The Doors Five to one / Spanish Caravan Live at "Philadelphia Arena" 1968
  • The Doors Five to One Live at Cleveland Public Auditorium August 3 1968
  • The Doors Back Door Man Live at Matrix "San Francisco" 1967
  • A Night With Jim Morrison at The Alta Cienega Motel
  • The Doors - Riders On The Storm (ORIGINAL!) - driving with Jim
  • The Doors - GLORIA - dirty version (music video, fantasy cut)
  • The Doors, Spanish Caravan Live, Madison Square Garden, New York Jan 24, 1969
  • Dawn's Highway Trailer Small.mov
  • The Doors - Ships With Sails (HQ Audio)
  • THE DOORS ROBBY KRIEGER TALKS JIM MORRISON PARDON
  • THE DOORS - Rare promo video of Light my fire
  • Rare Live Footage of The Doors and Jim Morrison
  • Rare Doors Footage; Those were the Days
  • The Doors - Let It Slide
  • The Doors - When The Music's Over
  • DOORS Lead-Singer Jim Morisson Visits French Movie Set DAYS Before His Death
  • The Doors- Five to One
  • The Doors - Love Street
  • The Doors - Roadhouse Blues (Live)
  • The Doors - Moonlight Drive [HD]
  • The Doors - When The Music's Over (LIVE IN EUROPE 1968)
  • Jim Morrison in "Florida State University: Toward a Greater University"
  • Jim Morrison Alta Cienega Motel Room 32
  • The Doors - Waiting for the sun
  • the doors live light my fire hollywood bowl 1968
  • The Doors - The Changeling Live RARE 8mm Home Movie
  • The Doors - Spanish Caravan (From "Live In Europe 1968" DVD)
  • Back Door Man- The Doors( Live in Seattle ) RARE
  • The Doors - Light My Fire (Live In Europe 1968)
  • The Doors - Frankfurt, Germany 1968
  • Jim Morrison in an Airplane
  • The Doors "People Are Strange"
  • Jim Morrison, The Weird Dawn of Dreams
  • The Doors - The Soft Parade
  • Adolf Hitler is still alive
  • The Doors (The Crystal Ship)
  • The Doors (Wild Child rare version)
  • The Doors - Touch Me

Featured Book

The Doors On The Road
by Greg Shaw provides a comprehensive timeline of live performances, reviews of the shows, stage antics of the performers, gossip related to the events, and recording sessions.

I was less theatrical, less artificial when I began, but now the audiences we play for are much larger and the rooms wider. It's necessary to project more. I think when you're a small dot at the end of a large arena, you have to make up for that lack of intimacy with expanded movements.

—Jim Morrison

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