The Soft Parade

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The Soft Parade
Studio album by The Doors
Released July 18, 1969 (1969-07-18)[1]
Recorded July 1968 – May 1969 at Elektra Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, CA
Genre Psychedelic rock, symphonic rock, blues rock
Length 34:19
Label Elektra
Producer Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors chronology
Waiting for the Sun
(1968)
The Soft Parade
(1969)
Morrison Hotel
(1970)
Singles from The Soft Parade
  1. "Touch Me"/"Wild Child"
    Released: December 1968
  2. "Wishful Sinful"/"Who Scared You"
    Released: March 1969
  3. "Tell All the People"/"Easy Ride"
    Released: June 1969
  4. "Runnin' Blue"/"Do It"
    Released: 25 November 1969

The Soft Parade is the fourth studio album by the American rock band, The Doors, and was released on July 18, 1969 on Elektra Records (see 1969 in music).[2] It saw the group totally departing from the material that encompassed their past three albums. The Doors incorporated brass and string arrangements into their compositions at a point in which the group was experiencing personal issues, particularly related to Jim Morrison. In addition, the album fulfilled the band's desire to feature jazz and blues influences into their work.[3]

Upon release, the album peaked at number six on Billboard Top LPs chart. It was preceded by "Touch Me" in December 1968, which awarded the Doors an unexpected top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and several other accolades including a number one listing in the Cashbox Charts. Three additional singles, "Wishful Sinful", "Tell All the People", and "Runnin' Blue", also became moderate hits on the Billboard singles charts.[4]

Background[edit]

The Doors, on the tail-end of their lengthy recording period, initiated a national tour that abruptly ended in disaster. On March 2, 1969, Morrison allegedly performed while intoxicated, and exposed himself in front of a crowd of nearly 12,000 in Miami, Florida, which Morrison's bandmates deny actually occurring.[5] A month later, on April 4, Morrison was charged with indecent exposure, and paid a $5,000 bail, after Morrison had turned himself in to the authorities. The incident negatively reflected on the band's publicity, sparking a "March for Decency" at the Orange Bowl. Consequently, 25 dates on the Doors next tour were cancelled, and their records were blacklisted from radio airplay, resulting in the band abandoning the rest of their potential tour.[6]

Shortly after the release of Waiting for the Sun, Morrison became disinterested in studio recordings and concert performances, a result of his interest in poetry and worsening alcoholism. As a result, Robby Krieger wrote about half of the tracks on the album. Morrison became increasingly uncooperative, and disruptive when recording for the album commenced as he regularly missed sessions or was intoxicated when he managed to be present. As the Doors' record producer Paul Rothchild explained, "Jim was not really interested after about the third album. It became very difficult to get him involved in the records. When we made The Soft Parade, it was like pulling teeth to get Jim into it". The alcoholic dependencies caused Morrison to act estranged from his bandmates, prompting Ray Manzarek to name Morrison's, sometimes aggressive, alcoholic state, "Jimbo". Aside from the troubles originating from Morrison, the album marked the one and only time in which each songwriter was credited under his own name, instead of the band name.[7] This stemmed from Morrison not wanting to be associated with the lyrics of "Tell All the People" as one line urges listeners to "grab your guns".[8]

Following rehearsals in June 1968, the Doors commenced a grueling nine month recording period which concluded in May 1969 at Elektra Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, California, in contrast to the six days their debut album required. Morrison later reflected on the drawn-out sessions, saying in 1970, "It kinda got out of control, and took too long in the making. It spread over nine months. An album should be like a book of stories strung together, some kind of unified feeling and style about it, and that's what The Soft Parade lacks". The album differed from past efforts for its addition of brass and string arrangements.[7][9] For the first time, the band were required to write their compositions in the studio, while past albums featured material derived from experiments in their live performances. Rothfield brought in Paul Harris to handle the arrangements and horn overdubs, while session musicians Doug Lubahn and Harvey Brooks were hired to play bass guitar. A staggering amount of $80,000 was required to pay for the creation of the album. The complexity and difficulty of the developments prompted George Harrison, who appeared at the sessions in November 1968, to be reported as stating it resembled "the complexity required for the Sergeant Pepper recordings".[7]

Release[edit]

The Soft Parade was released on July 18, 1969 on the Elektra label. Despite a lukewarm critical reception, the album became the band's fourth top-ten hit album in a row, and the single "Touch Me" was hugely successful. However, despite making number six in the US, the album did not chart in the UK, perhaps due to the band's lack of a supporting hit single. ("Touch Me" did not chart in the UK.)

Whereas the first three Doors albums had two singles pulled from each of them, The Soft Parade had a grand total of four, though some of them had initially been released as non-album singles significantly prior to the album's release. The only two songs on the LP that weren't released as either the A or B-side of a single were the title cut and "Shaman's Blues". (Only one single would be pulled from the next album, Morrison Hotel.) All four single A-sides were written by Robby Krieger, the only four solo compositions that Krieger contributed to the album, and none by Jim Morrison.

The album was completely remixed and remastered for its 40th anniversary reissue. This practice extended to incorporating vocal and instrumental components which were not part of the original album. According to Ray Manzarek, "There are background vocals by Jim Morrison, piano parts of mine that weren't used and guitar stingers and solos by Robby Krieger that never made the original recordings, that can now be heard for the first time."[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[10]
Robert Christgau B−[11]
Rolling Stone unfavorable[12]
Slant 2.5/5 stars[13]

The Soft Parade has been panned by critics. Alec Dubro, of Rolling Stone, was highly negative, regarding the band's writing abilities as he wrote, "The Soft Parade is worse than infuriating, it's sad. It's sad because one of the most potentially moving forces in rock has allowed itself to degenerate", writing that it "represents a clear and present decline in musicianship" and that it is "not vital, not very listenable and is certainly not interesting. It sounds for all the world like the stuff they had the good sense to leave off their first albums."[12] Jazz and Pop magazine analyst Patricia Keneally-Morrison, on the other hand, praised the band's attempt as experimentation, writing, "most of it is very superior music and some is absolutely glorious".[7]

In his retrospective review, Richie Unterberger of AllMusic called it "The weakest studio album recorded with Jim Morrison in the group".[10]

Track listing[edit]

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Tell All the People"   Robby Krieger 3:21
2. "Touch Me"   Krieger 3:12
3. "Shaman's Blues"   Jim Morrison 4:49
4. "Do It"   Morrison, Krieger 3:08
5. "Easy Ride"   Morrison 2:43
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Wild Child"   Morrison 2:36
7. "Runnin' Blue"   Krieger 2:27
8. "Wishful Sinful"   Krieger 2:58
9. "The Soft Parade"   Morrison 8:36

Personnel[edit]

The Doors
Additional musicians
  • Curtis Amy – saxophone solo on "Touch Me"
  • Reinol Andino – conga
  • George Bohanan – trombone
  • Harvey Brooks – bass guitar (tracks 1 to 4, 7 and 9)
  • Jimmy Buchanan – fiddle on "Runnin' Blue"
  • Douglass Lubahn – bass guitar (tracks 5, 6 and 8)
  • Jesse McReynoldsmandolin
  • Champ Webb – English horn solo on track 8
  • Paul Harris – orchestral arrangements (tracks 1, 2, 7, 8 and 10)
Technical

Chart positions[edit]

Album[edit]

Year Chart Position
1969 Pop Albums 6

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Position
1968 "Touch Me"
B-side: "Wild Child"
Pop Singles 3
1969 "Wishful Sinful"
B-side: "Who Scared You"
Pop Singles 44
1969 "Tell All the People"
B-side: "Easy Ride"
Pop Singles 57
1969 "Runnin' Blue"
B-side: "Do It"
Pop Singles 64

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[14] Platinum 1,000,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[15] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[16] Silver 60,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.thedoors.com/music/albums
  2. ^ "Doors, The - The Soft Parade". discogs.com. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Soft Parade". thedoors.com. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Singles Box". thedoors.com. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ Nick DeReso. "46 Years Ago: The Doors’ Jim Morrison Allegedly Exposes Himself on Stage". ultimateclassicrock.com. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  6. ^ Peter K. Hogan. "The Complete Guide to the Music of the Doors". google.com. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Rick Weldman. "The Doors FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Kings of Acid Rock". google.com. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Discography of the Doors". jimmorisononline.com. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  9. ^ Wallace Fowlie. "Rimbaud and Jim Morrison: The Rebel as Poet". google.com. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "The Soft Parade – The Doors | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: Album: The Doors: The Soft Parade". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Dubro, Alec (August 23, 1969). "[The Soft Parade review]". Rolling Stone. 
  13. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (April 18, 2007). "The Doors: The Soft Parade | Album Review | Slant Magazine". Slant. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  14. ^ "American album certifications – The Doors – The Soft Parade". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  15. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Doors – The Soft Parade". Music Canada. 
  16. ^ "British album certifications – Doors – The Soft Parade". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter The Soft Parade in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]