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The Doors

If the "San Francisco Sound" bands that sprung up in the late '60s tended to focus on the uplifting, or at least upbeat, aspects of the psychedelic experience, L.A.'s The Doors lovingly explored the dark side. Founded in 1965 by UCLA students Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek, the group soon developed a distinctive style, driven by Morrison's often doom-ridden poetry, his deep, expressive vocals, and Manzarek's dynamic organ work. Their 1967 self-titled debut album was a huge hit, from the single "Break on Through" to the epic Oedipal rage-fest "The End." Morrison's erratic behavior, fueled by vigorous substance abuse, was a constant source of trouble for the band and often landed the frontman in legal difficulties; still, The Doors managed several more successful albums and tours before Morrison left for Paris to pursue his poetic muse in 1971. Morrison died there shortly thereafter, of an apparent drug overdose, and his grave remains a tourist attraction to this day. The surviving Doors had a brief revival in the late '70s, as "The End" reached a new audience in the soundtrack to "Apocalypse Now"; bandmembers have continued to record and tour periodically since then.

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

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