The Doors (album)

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The Doors
Studio album by The Doors
Released January 4, 1967 [1]
Recorded August 24–31, 1966 at Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California
Genre Psychedelic rock
Length 44:48
Label Elektra
Producer Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors chronology
The Doors
Strange Days
Singles from The Doors
  1. "Break On Through (To the Other Side)"/"End of the Night"
    Released: January 1, 1967
  2. "Light My Fire"/"The Crystal Ship"
    Released: April 1967

The Doors is the debut album by American rock band The Doors, recorded in August 1966 and released on January 4, 1967 (it is important to note that the album was available in various record stores in New York City as early as the third week in December, 1966 as part of a special promotion). It was originally released in different stereo and mono mixes, and features the breakthrough single "Light My Fire", extended with an instrumental section mostly omitted on the single release, and the lengthy song "The End" with its Oedipal spoken word section. The Doors credit the success of the album to being able to work the songs out night after night at the Whisky a Go Go and the London Fog nightclubs.

The album has become one of the most influential albums in the progression of psychedelic rock, and remains one of the most prolific and popular albums in all of popular music. As of April 2014, The Doors has sold 4 million units in the U.S and over 17 million units worldwide, becoming the Doors' most successful studio album in commercial sales. The Doors was ranked number 42 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

In 2015, the album was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry.


The Doors final line-up was formed in mid-1965 after Ray Manzarek's two brothers left and Robby Krieger joined.[2] They were initially signed to Columbia Records under a six-month contract, but the band agreed to a release after being unable to secure a producer for the album from Columbia.[3] After being released from the label, The Doors played club venues including the London Fog and Whisky a Go Go until they were signed to Elektra Records by Jac Holzman.[4]

The album was recorded at Sunset Sound Studios in California over six days, with producer Paul A. Rothchild and audio engineer Bruce Botnick. A four-track tape machine was used for recording using mostly three tracks, bass and drums on one, guitar and organ on another with Jim Morrison's voice on the third. The fourth track was used for overdubbing.[5] Rothchild brought in session musician Larry Knechtel to play Fender Precision Bass on "Light My Fire" and few other songs to give some "punch" to the sound of Manzarek's Fender Rhodes piano bass.[6][7][8][9] For "The End" two takes were worked and cut together to achieve the final song.[6]

Writing and composition[edit]

Although composition credit went to the band as a whole, the album's primary writers were Morrison and Krieger. "The End"'s Oedipal climax was first performed live at the Whisky a Go Go, but the band was thrown out as a result of Morrison screaming "Mother... I want to fuck you!" toward the end of the song.

"Alabama Song" was written and composed by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill in 1927, for their opera Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny); "Back Door Man" was written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Howlin' Wolf. The line "Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night" from "End of the Night" is a quote from William Blake's poem "Auguries of Innocence".


The Doors was released on January 4, 1967 by Elektra in both mono and stereo versions. The album made a steady climb up the Billboard 200, ultimately becoming a huge success in the US once "Light My Fire" scaled the charts, with the album peaking at No. 2 on the chart in September 1967 (stuck behind The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) and going on to achieve multi-platinum status. In Europe the band would have to wait slightly longer for similar recognition, with "Light My Fire" originally stalling at No. 49 in the UK singles chart and the album failing to chart at all. However, in 1991, buoyed by the high profile Oliver Stone film The Doors, a reissue of "Light My Fire" reached No. 7 in the singles chart and the album reached No. 43. It eventually spent more time on the UK chart than any other Doors studio album.[citation needed]


Two songs were censored for the album. On "Break On Through", the repeated line "She gets high" was edited to remove the final word, as it was considered a reference to drug use and Elektra feared radio stations might not play the song. In "The End" the vocal interlude of the final minutes was edited to remove Morrison's repeated use of the word "fuck". Most remasters from 1999 onward have the original portions of both songs restored.

Mono version[edit]

The mono LP (Elektra EKL-4007) has unique mixes that sound different from the stereo version (EKS-74004). The mono LP version was deleted not long after its original release and remained unavailable until 2010, when it was reissued as a limited edition 180 gram audiophile LP by Rhino Records. This version has never been officially released on compact disc; it is, however, available for purchase through digital media outlets such as iTunes and Amazon.


Speed discrepancy[edit]

The 40th anniversary mix of the debut album presents a stereo version of "Light My Fire" in speed-corrected form for the first time. The speed discrepancy (i.e., about 3.5% slow) was brought to Bruce Botnick's attention by a Brigham Young University professor, who noted that all the video and audio live performances of The Doors performing the song, the sheet music and the statements of band members show the song in a key almost a half step higher (key of A) than the stereo LP release (key of Ab / G#). Until the 2006 remasters, only the original 45 RPM singles ("Light My Fire" and "Break On Through") were produced at the correct speed.[10]

Surround releases[edit]

The Doors has been released in 2006 in multichannel DVD-Audio,[11] and on September 14, 2011, on hybrid stereo-multichannel Super Audio CD by Warner Japan in their Warner Premium Sound series.[12]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[13]
Robert Christgau B–[14]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[15]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide 5/5 stars[16]
Slant 4/5 stars[17]

The album is ranked number 42 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and also on "The Rolling Stone Hall of Fame". It is ranked number 75 on Q magazine's "100 Greatest Albums Ever"[18] and ranked number 226 in NME magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time"[19] In 2007, Rolling Stone included it on their list of the 40 essential albums of 1967.[20]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by The Doors (Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore), except where noted. 

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" (written by Jim Morrison) 2:29
2. "Soul Kitchen" (written by Morrison) 3:35
3. "The Crystal Ship" (written by Morrison) 2:34
4. "Twentieth Century Fox"   2:33
5. "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)" (Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill) 3:20
6. "Light My Fire" (written by Robby Krieger) 7:06
Side B
No. Title Length
7. "Back Door Man" (Willie Dixon, Chester Burnett) 3:34
8. "I Looked at You" (written by Morrison) 2:22
9. "End of the Night" (written by Morrison) 2:52
10. "Take It as It Comes"   2:23
11. "The End"   11:41

The running time of "Light My Fire", while listed correctly above, is incorrectly stated as 6:30 or 6:50 on some LP and CD versions of the album. An edited version was issued as The Doors' second single in May 1967, with most of its organ and guitar solos removed it had a running time of 2:52. As per the aforementioned speed discrepancy, the 40th anniversary speed-corrected mix made "Light My Fire" 6:59, with all solos intact.


The Doors

Chart positions[edit]


Year Chart Position
1967 Pop Albums 2


Year Single Chart Position
1967 "Break On Through (To the Other Side)"
B-side: "End of the Night"
Pop Singles 126[21]
1967 "Light My Fire"
B-side: "The Crystal Ship"
Pop Singles 1


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[22] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^
France (SNEP)[23] 3× Platinum 900,000*
Argentina (CAPIF)[24] Gold 30,000x
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[25] Gold 50,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[26] Gold 25,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[27] Platinum 50,000x
Canada (Music Canada)[28] 4× Platinum 400,000^
Germany (BVMI)[29] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] 2× Platinum 600,000^

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


  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Doors – The Doors | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ Fong-Torres 2006, p. 37.
  3. ^ Fong-Torres 2006, p. 53.
  4. ^ Fong-Torres 2006, p. 58.
  5. ^ Fong-Torres 2006, p. 68.
  6. ^ a b Fong-Torres 2006, p. 71.
  7. ^ Davis, Stephen (2005). Jim Morrison: LIfe, Death, Legend. Penguin Books. p. 139. ISBN 9781101218273. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ Sullivan, Steve (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings 2. Scarecrow Press. pp. 484–5. ISBN 9780810882966. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret. Macmillan. p. 2. ISBN 9780312619749. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ Botnick, Bruce (May 2006). The Doors (40th Anniversary CD liner notes). 
  11. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (December 3, 2006). "The Doors DVD-As | Sound & Vision". Sound & Vision. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ Warner Premium Sound 14 September releases (in Japanese). Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  13. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Doors – The Doors | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (December 20, 1976). "Christgau's Consumer Guide to 1967". The Village Voice (New York). p. 69. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  15. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (April 8, 2003). "The Doors The Doors Album Review | Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  16. ^ Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John, eds. (1979). The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1st ed.). Random House/Rolling Stone Press. p. 109. 
  17. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (April 18, 2007). "The Doors: The Doors | Album Review | Slant Magazine". Slant. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Q Magazine 100 Greatest Albums Ever". Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  19. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". NME. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "Rolling Stone : Photos : The 40 Essential Albums of 1967 :". Rolling Stone. 2007. Archived from the original on July 8, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Bubbling Under Singles & Albums (1998): 66.
  22. ^ "American album certifications – The Doors – The Doors". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  23. ^ "French album certifications – Doors – The Doors" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select DOORS and click OK
  24. ^ "Discos de oro y platino" (in Spanish). Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1991–1995". Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano. ISBN 8480486392. 
  26. ^ "Austrian album certifications – The Doors – Doors" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter The Doors in the field Interpret. Enter Doors in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  27. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (The Doors; 'The Doors')". Hung Medien. 
  28. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Doors – The Doors". Music Canada. 
  29. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Doors; 'The Doors (1st Album)')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  30. ^ "British album certifications – Doors – The Doors". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter The Doors in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search


External links[edit]