Absolutely Live (The Doors album)

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Absolutely Live
Live album by The Doors
Released 20 July 1970
Recorded July 1969–May 1970 using a professional 8-track machine
Genre Psychedelic rock, acid rock, blues rock
Length 77:02
Label Elektra
Producer Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors chronology
Morrison Hotel
Absolutely Live
CD Reissue cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[3]
Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music 2/5 stars[4]

Absolutely Live is the first live album released by American rock band The Doors in July 1970.

In 1991, Absolutely Live and 1983's Alive, She Cried were repackaged and released as a two-disc set entitled In Concert, with the addition of one track from 1978's An American Prayer and two from 1987's Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

The album was subsequently issued by itself as a single disc set by Elektra in 1996 with new artwork different from the original LP. Until 2012 was not re-issued in the original double vinyl format.


Many shows were recorded during the 1970 tour to create the Absolutely Live album. The Doors' producer and longtime collaborator Paul A. Rothchild claimed to have painstakingly edited the album from many different shows to create one cohesive concert. According to Rothchild's words, the best part of a song from the Detroit show may have been spliced together with another part of the same song from the Boston show, trying to create "the ultimate concert." Rothchild has said, "I couldn't get complete takes of a lot of songs, so sometimes I'd cut from Detroit to Philadelphia in midsong. There must be 2,000 edits on that album."[5] Despite this claim, the Bright Midnight record company (Rhino/Elektra/Warner group) started to publish all the uncut masters of all the shows recorded for Absolutely Live tour (July 1969 – June 1970: Aquarius Theatre 1969, 8 CDs; Live in New York 1970, 6 CDs; Boston 1970, 3 CDs; Philadelphia 1970, 2 CDs, Pittsburgh 1970, 1 CD, Detroit 1970, 2 CDs), definitely proving Rothchild to be wrong. In fact, most of the tracks were taken from the Doors performance at the Felt Forum on January 17 and 18, 1970. Official audio professional proofs show that less than 5 major cuts were done on Absolutely Live album. These recorded audio proofs, from officially available CDs, allow matching of each song on the Absolutely Live album to each recorded concert, showing that Rothchild's claim of multiple edits to songs for cohesiveness is totally untrue. These are the real sources of each song, proving that no major cut or edit was actually done on songs.

The album marks the first release of the complete "Celebration of the Lizard" sequence, albeit in a live version. It had been attempted in the studio during the Waiting for the Sun sessions but eventually abandoned. The album was a treat for fans because it included several new songs which had not appeared on any Doors albums up to that point, such as "Love Hides," "Build Me a Woman," "Dead Rats, Dead Cats," and a cover of the Bo Diddley classic "Who Do You Love?" Truly reflecting the paranoia of post-Miami Doors concerts is the MC’s address to the audience, where he urges the rowdy fans to remain seated in threat of the fire department canceling the performance. Morrison comically alludes to the Miami incident in his preamble to "Close to You".

Album cover[edit]

Morrison reportedly hated the album cover for Absolutely Live. He had changed his appearance dramatically since the band's early days, growing a beard and discarding his onstage leather attire in an attempt to overcome his "rock god" image, but was dismayed to find that his record label opted for an earlier photograph of him for the cover. According to Jerry Hopkins' 1980 book No One Here Gets Out Alive:

Originally the cover was going to be an effective grainy, bluish rear-view photo of the band on stage at the Aquarius Theatre where the included "Celebration of the Lizard" had been recorded. Elektra Records art department decided that photo wasn't eye-catching enough. A color photo of Jim, taken during the Hollywood Bowl concert well over a year before, was superimposed squarely over the existing front-cover photo, and before the Doors office knew anything about it, the album was shipped. Jim was furious.[6]

Release and reception[edit]

Absolutely Live sold poorly upon release, moving only 225,000 copies, half of what Morrison Hotel had sold.[6] AllMusic states, "Ray Manzarek's organ and John Densmore's drumming keep pace throughout as Robbie Krieger's guitar playing show him to be as much of a force in the Doors as Jim Morrison." Billy Atlman of Amazon.com enthuses "...Morrison and crew displayed the full slate of their estimable powers as both musicians and motivators- continuing to daringly break through whatever sonic and thematic doors they opened."

Track listing[edit]

All songs recorded in 1970 at the Felt Forum, New York, unless otherwise indicated

  1. "House Announcer" (Philadelphia '70)
  2. "Who Do You Love?" (E. McDaniel)
  3. "Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)" (Weill/Brecht)
  4. "Back Door Man" (W. Dixon/C. Burnett)
  5. "Love Hides" (Jim Morrison) (Philadelphia '70)
  6. "Five to One" (The Doors)
  7. "Build Me a Woman" (The Doors)
  8. "When the Music's Over" (The Doors)
  9. "Close to You" (W. Dixon) (spoken intro Pittsburgh '70)
  10. "Universal Mind" (Morrison/Robby Krieger) (Aquarius '69 second show)
  11. "Petition the Lord with Prayer" (Morrison)
  12. "Dead Cats, Dead Rats" (The Doors) (Detroit '70)
  13. "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" (The Doors) (Detroit '70)
  14. "Celebration of the Lizard" (The Doors) (Aquarius '69 first show)
  15. "Soul Kitchen" (The Doors) (Aquarius '69 second show; the stage words by manager from Felt Forum 18th early show)

Original vinyl release[edit]

Side one (side time 19:17)
  1. "Who Do You Love?" (McDaniel
  2. Medley:
Side two (side time 18:33)
  1. "Build Me a Woman" (The Doors) 
  2. "When the Music's Over" (The Doors) 
Side three (side time 18:00)
  1. "Close to You" (Dixon)[1] 
  2. "Universal Mind" (Morrison/Krieger) 
  3. "Break On Through (to the Other Side), #2" (The Doors) 
Side four (side time 21:52)
  1. "Celebration of the Lizard" (Morrison) 
    • "Lions in the Street" – 1:14
    • "Wake Up!" – 1:24
    • "A Little Game" – 1:10
    • "The Hill Dwellers" – 2:35
    • "Not to Touch the Earth" – 4:19
    • "Names of the Kingdom" – 1:24
    • "The Palace of Exile" – 2:25
  2. "Soul Kitchen" (The Doors) 

1996 CD reissue[edit]

  1. "House Announcer" – 2:40
  2. "Who Do You Love?" (Diddley) – 6:03
  3. Medley:
    • "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)" (Brecht, Weill) – 1:51
    • "Back Door Man" (Dixon, Burnett) – 2:22
    • "Love Hides" (Morrison) – 1:49
    • "Five to One" (The Doors) – 4:35
  4. "Build Me a Woman" (The Doors) – 3:33
  5. "When the Music's Over" (The Doors) – 16:16
  6. "Close to You" (Dixon)[1] – 4:04
  7. "Universal Mind" (Morrison/Krieger) – 4:55
  8. "Petition the Lord with Prayer" (Morrison) – 0:53
  9. Medley:
    • "Dead Cats, Dead Rats" (The Doors) – 1:54
    • "Break On Through (to the Other Side) No. 2" (The Doors) – 4:41
  10. "Celebration of the Lizard" (Morrison)
    • "Lions in the Street"
    • "Wake Up!"
    • "A Little Game"
    • "The Hill Dwellers"
    • "Not To Touch The Earth"
    • "Names of the Kingdom"
    • "The Palace of Exile"
  11. "Soul Kitchen" (The Doors) – 7:11


Remote recording facilities provided by: Fedco Audio Labs, and Wally Heider Recording.


Chart (1970) Peak
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[7] 10
UK Albums (OCC)[8] 69
US Billboard 200[9] 8
Chart (2014) Peak
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[10] 31


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[11] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[12] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[13] Gold 100,000*
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 500,000^

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


  1. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie (2011). "Absolutely Live – The Doors | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (2011). "The Doors: Absolutely Live!". robertchristgau.com. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Doors: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on 6 January 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Doors Absolutely Live". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  5. ^ Jackson, Blair (July 3, 1981). "BAM Interview with Paul Rothchild". waiting-forthe-sun.net. 
  6. ^ a b Hopkins & Sugerman 1980, p. 318.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4449." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Doors | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  9. ^ "The Doors – Chart history" Billboard 200 for The Doors. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Top 40 album DVD és válogatáslemez-lista – 2014. 07. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  11. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2001 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  12. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Doors – Absolutely Live". Music Canada. 
  13. ^ "French album certifications – Doors – Absolutely Live" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select DOORS and click OK
  14. ^ "American album certifications – The Doors – Absolutely Live". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH