The Soft Parade

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The Soft Parade
The Doors - The Soft Parade.jpg
Studio album by the Doors
Released July 18, 1969 (1969-07-18)
Recorded July 1968 – May 1969
Studio Elektra Sound Recorders, Los Angeles, California
Genre Psychedelic rock, symphonic rock, blues rock
Length 33:50
Label Elektra
Producer Paul A. Rothchild
the Doors chronology
Waiting for the Sun
The Soft Parade
Morrison Hotel
Singles from The Soft Parade
  1. "Touch Me"
    Released: December 1968
  2. "Wishful Sinful"
    Released: March 1969
  3. "Tell All the People"
    Released: June 1969
  4. "Runnin' Blue"
    Released: August 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). It saw the group 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 more jazz and blues influences in their work.[1]

Upon release, the album peaked at number six on the Billboard Top LPs chart. It was preceded by the single "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.[2]


The Doors, on the tail-end of their lengthy recording period, initiated a national tour that abruptly ended in disaster. On March 1, 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 occurred.[3] 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.[4]


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 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. The alcoholic dependencies caused Morrison to become estranged from his bandmates, prompting Manzarek to name Morrison's sometimes aggressive alcoholic state "Jimbo". 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.[5][6] A staggering $86,000 was required to pay for the creation of the album. The complexity and difficulty of the developments reportedly prompted George Harrison, who appeared at the sessions in November 1968, to state that it resembled "the complexity required for the Sergeant Pepper recordings".[5]


Morrison on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, December 6, 1968

The Soft Parade album marked the first time in which each songwriter was credited under his own name, instead of the band name.[5] This stemmed from Morrison not wanting to be associated with the lyrics of Krieger's "Tell All the People", as one line urges listeners to "grab your guns"[7] while the hook implores listeners to "follow me down". According to Bruce Botnick's liner notes, the song "Touch Me" was initially referred to by its various working titles: "I'm Gonna Love You", from a line in the chorus, or "Hit Me", a reference to blackjack. The opening line was originally "C'mon, hit me...I'm not afraid", the line thus reflecting the first person vantage point of a blackjack player.[8]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[9]
Robert Christgau B–[10]
MusicHound 3.5/5[11]
Rolling Stone (unfavorable)[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[13]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[14]

The Soft Parade was released on July 18, 1969.[15] 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 Soft Parade received some scathing reviews at the time of its release, with Alec Dubro of Rolling Stone writing, "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".[5] In his retrospective review, Richie Unterberger of AllMusic called it "the weakest studio album recorded with Jim Morrison in the group" but conceding that "about half the record is quite good."[9]

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


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

Chart positions[edit]


Year Chart Position
1969 Pop Albums 6


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


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[16] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[18] Platinum 1,000,000^

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


  1. ^ "The Soft Parade". Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Singles Box". Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ DeReso, Nick. "46 Years Ago: The Doors' Jim Morrison Allegedly Exposes Himself on Stage". Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  4. ^ Peter K. Hogan. "The Complete Guide to the Music of the Doors". Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d Weldman, Rick. "The Doors FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Kings of Acid Rock". Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  6. ^ Fowlie, Wallace. "Rimbaud and Jim Morrison: The Rebel as Poet". Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Discography of the Doors". Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  8. ^ The Doors CDs Remastered
  9. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "The Soft Parade – The Doors | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: Album: The Doors: The Soft Parade". Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  11. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 358. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  12. ^ a b Dubro, Alec (23 August 1969). "[The Soft Parade review]". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (40): 35. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "The Doors: Album Guide". Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  14. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (April 18, 2007). "The Doors: The Soft Parade | Album Review | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Doors – The Soft Parade". Music Canada. 
  17. ^ "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
  18. ^ "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

External links[edit]