Waiting for the Sun

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Waiting for the Sun
The Doors - Waiting for the Sun.jpg
Studio album by The Doors
Released July 3, 1968 (1968-07-03)
Recorded February–May 1968 T.T.G. Hollywood, California using 8-track recording console
Genre Psychedelic rock
Length 32:59
Label Elektra
Producer Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors chronology
Strange Days
Waiting for the Sun
The Soft Parade
Singles from Waiting for the Sun
  1. "The Unknown Soldier"/"We Could Be So Good Together"
    Released: March 1968
  2. "Hello, I Love You"/"Love Street"
    Released: June 1968

Waiting for the Sun is the third studio album by the American rock band The Doors, recorded from February to May 1968 and released in July 1968. It became the band's first and only No. 1 album, spawning their second US number one single, "Hello, I Love You". It also became the band's first hit album in the UK, where it peaked at No. 16 on the chart.


By the summer of 1968, the Doors were one of rock's top bands, having scored three hit singles, including the #1 smash "Light My Fire" and the #12 hit "People Are Strange" in 1967. Their first two albums were critically acclaimed and the group also gained notoriety for their live shows, a kind of "rock theatre" with the enigmatic Jim Morrison at its center. Although their music could be subversively dark at times, it also retained a commercial appeal, and this juxtaposition made the Doors one of America's most popular bands, despite Morrison's increasingly erratic behaviour and worsening alcoholism. In April 1968, the Village Voice awarded Morrison Vocalist of the Year, keyboardist Ray Manzarek as Musician of the Year, and the Doors as Band of the Year.


The recording of Waiting for the Sun was, by all accounts, troubled. For one, the band had plundered Morrison's original songbook, a collection of lyrics and ideas, for their first two albums. Consequently, after months of touring, interviews, and television appearances, they had little new material. To compensate, the band struggled mightily to record a longer piece called "The Celebration of the Lizard," a collection song fragments stitched together by Morrison's often surreal poetry. Frustrated by their lack of progress, the band and producer Paul A. Rothchild abandoned the recording. The band would revisit it later in its full-length form on their 1970 album Absolutely Live. Rothchild's growing perfectionism was also becoming an issue for the band; each song on the album required at least twenty takes and "The Unknown Soldier", recorded in two parts, took 130 takes.[1] Most troubling of all, however, was Morrison's drinking, which was nearing epic proportions. In a 1994 interview with Guitar World, guitarist Robby Krieger was asked what memories he had of making the album and he replied:

A lot of horrible ones. Jim was being taken advantage of by all these various hangers-on. He would bring them into the studio and Rothchild would go crazy - all these drunken assholes...Jim would drink with anybody because we wouldn't drink with him...I never drank with him because I don't like to drink to excess and he loved to go until he couldn't see. I knew what was coming and hated to see it, so I would usually be gone by that point. John and Ray felt the same way.

The album marked Manzarek's transition from a Vox Continental to Gibson G-101, the organ he is best known for playing live. The brighter sound of the Vox does appear on a few songs, most notably "We Could Be So Good Together."


Waiting for the Sun includes the band's second chart topper, "Hello, I Love You." One of the last remaining songs from Morrison's 1965 batch of tunes, it had been demoed by the group for Aura Records in 1965 before Krieger had been a member, as had "Summer's Almost Gone."[2] "Hello, I Love You" was revisited when drummer John Densmore, fed up with Morrison's drinking, threatened to quit and the rest of the band decided to look through some of Morrison's old poems in an effort to calm him down. One of the poems was "Hello I Love You," which Morrison wrote three years earlier about a woman he saw walking while living on Venice Beach:[3]

Sidewalk crouches at her feet
Like a dog that begs for something sweet.
Do you hope to make her see you, fool?
Do you hope to pluck this dusky jewel?

In the liner notes to the Doors Box Set, Robby Krieger denied the allegations that the song's musical structure was stolen from Ray Davies, where a riff similar to it is featured in The Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night". Instead, he said the song's vibe was taken from Cream's song "Sunshine of Your Love". According to the Doors biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, courts in the UK determined in favor of Davies and any royalties for the song are paid to him. In an interview with Mojo magazine in 2012, Ray Davies said, "The funniest thing was when my publisher came to me on tour and said The Doors had used the riff for 'All Day And All Of The Night' for 'Hello, I Love You.' I said rather than sue them, can't we just get them to own up? My publisher said, 'They have, that's why we should sue them!'"[4]

Waiting for the Sun contains two songs with militant themes: "Five to One" and "The Unknown Soldier." "Five to One," a blues containing some fiery lead work from Krieger and some of Morrison's most inscrutable lyrics, deemed by Morrison biographer Jerry Hopkins as "his most militant ever," opens with the lines:

Five to one
One in five
No one here gets out alive
You get yours, baby
I'll get mine
Gonna make it baby
If we try

In his 1980 Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, Hopkins speculates the song seems to be a parody of all the naive revolutionary rhetoric heard on the streets spouted by the "hippie/flower child" hordes he saw in growing numbers panhandling outside concert halls, an interpretation strongly supported by the final verse's lines "Your ballroom days are over, baby" and "Trade in your flowers for a handful of dimes."[5] The former line ("Your ballroom days are over baby/Night is drawing near/Shadows of the evening/crawl across the years") may have been lifted by Morrison from the 19th-century hymnal and bedtime rhyme "Now the Day is Over" ("Now the day is over/Night is drawing nigh/Shadows of the evening/Steal across the sky").[6] "The Unknown Soldier" is less obtuse but no less compelling and is a good example of the group's cinematic approach to their music. In the beginning, as well as after the middle of the song, the mysterious sounds of the organ is heard, depicting the mystery of the "Unknown Soldier". In the middle of the song, the Doors produce the sounds of what appears to be a marching cadence. It begins with military drums, plus the sound of the Sergeant counting off in 4s, (HUP, HUP, HUP 2 3 4), until he says "COMPANY! HALT! PRESENT! ARMS!" being followed by the sounds of loading rifles, and a long military drum roll, a pause, and then the rifle shots; in live performances Krieger would point his guitar towards Morrison like a rifle, Densmore would emulate a gunshot by producing a loud rimshot by hitting the edge of the snare drum, and breaking the drum sticks, Manzarek would raise his hand and drop it as if to release the signal, and Morrison would fall screaming to the ground. After this middle section, the verses return, with Morrison, first singing in a sadder tone, to "Make a grave for the Unknown Soldier", with the mysterious organ being heard. The song ends with Morrison's ecstatic celebration of a war being over, with sounds of crowds cheering and bells tolling. Ironically, as pointed out in the 2010 film When You're Strange, at the height of Morrison's success, his father, an Admiral, was commanding a division of aircraft carriers off the coast of Vietnam. The song was Morrison's reaction to the Vietnam War and the way that conflict was portrayed in American media at the time. with lines such as "Breakfast where the news is read/ Television children fed/ Unborn living, living dead/ Bullets strike the helmet's head" concerning how news of the war was being presented in the living rooms of ordinary people. The band also shot a film for the song, which was released as a single and became the group's fourth consecutive Top 40 hit.

The Doors performing for Danish television in 1968

The centerpiece of this album was supposed to be the lengthy theatrical piece "Celebration of the Lizard", but in the end only the "Not to Touch the Earth" section was used. (In a 1969 interview with Jerry Hopkins for Rolling Stone, Morrison said of the epic, "It was pieced together on different occasions out of already existing elements rather than having any generative core from which it grew. I still think there's hope for it.") At the conclusion of "Not to Touch the Earth," Morrison utters his iconic personal maxim, "I am the Lizard King/I can do anything." The opening lines of the song, "Not to touch the earth/not to see the sun" were taken from the table of contents of The Golden Bough. Krieger's skills with the flamenco guitar can be found on "Spanish Caravan", with Granainas intro and a reworking of the melody from the classical piece Asturias (Leyenda) composed by Isaac Albéniz. The optimistic "We Could Be So Good Together" had been recorded during the sessions for Strange Days, even appearing on an early track listing for the album. A review in Slant Magazine[7] described the song as "categorically pre-fame Morrison," pointing out that the line "The time you wait subtracts from joy" is the kind of hippie idealism the singer had long given up on, thus implying that this is one of the songs that The Doors had written long before the recording sessions for their third album. "Wintertime Love" and the mournful "Summer's Almost Gone" address seasonal themes (the former the closest the band ever came to a Christmas song), while the gentle "Yes, the River Knows" was written by Robby Krieger. In the liner notes to the 1997 Doors retrospective Box Set, Manzarek praises the song: "The piano and guitar interplay is absolutely beautiful. I don't think Robby and I ever played so sensitively together. It was the closest we ever came to be being Bill Evans and Jim Hall." While recording "My Wild Love," the band eventually gave up on the music and turned it into work song by getting everyone in the studio to clap their hands, stamp their feet, and chant in unison.[1] Morrison wrote "Love Street" for his girlfriend Pamela Courson, and like all of his other songs about or dedicated to her, there was a hesitancy or biting refusal at the end ("I guess I like it fine, so far").[8] The title track "Waiting for the Sun" was left off this album, but would be included on the 1970 album Morrison Hotel. Waiting for the Sun ended up being the shortest studio album by the band.

On the cover of the album, Morrison is seen wearing Glen Buxton's black sweater. Having been intoxicated the night before the shooting of the cover photo, the next morning Jim "started freaking out because the band wanted a picture of them at dawn, and he didn't have enough time to go home and get his clothes."


Waiting for the Sun was released on July 3, 1968. The album has sold over 9 million copies. The US monophonic pressing, though only a fold down of the stereo mix to mono, is one of the rarest pop/rock LPs and has been sought after by collectors for years. A studio run-through of "Celebration of the Lizard" (subtitled "An Experiment/Work in Progress") and two early takes of "Not to Touch the Earth" were included as bonus tracks on the 40th anniversary expanded edition release of this album.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[9]
MusicHound 3.5/5[10]
Rolling Stone (mixed)[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[12]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[13]
Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[14]

Waiting for the Sun has been generally well received by critics, though with most citing it as a step down in quality for the band's earlier records. Jim Miller of Rolling Stone wrote, "After a year and a half of Jim Morrison's posturing, one might logically hope for some sort of musical growth, and if the new record isn't really terrible, it isn't particularly exciting either."[11] In his retrospective review, Richie Unterberger of AllMusic wrote, "The Doors' 1967 albums had raised expectations so high that their third effort was greeted as a major disappointment. With a few exceptions, the material was much mellower, and while this yielded some fine melodic ballad rock [...] there was no denying that the songwriting was not as impressive as it had been on the first two records."[9] In his review of the 2007 reissue, Sal Cinquemani of Slant wrote "Despite the fact that Morrison was becoming a self-destructing mess, Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore were never more lucid -- perhaps to compensate. This was a band at its most dexterous, creative, and musically diverse …"[13]

Track listing[edit]

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

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Hello, I Love You" (written by Jim Morrison; the 40th Anniversary Mix includes a longer fade-out, making it 2:39) 2:14
2. "Love Street" (written by Morrison) 2:53
3. "Not to Touch the Earth" (written by Morrison) 3:56
4. "Summer's Almost Gone" (written by Morrison) 3:22
5. "Wintertime Love"   1:54
6. "The Unknown Soldier"   3:23
Side B
No. Title Length
7. "Spanish Caravan"   3:03
8. "My Wild Love"   3:01
9. "We Could Be So Good Together"   2:26
10. "Yes, the River Knows" (written by Robby Krieger) 2:36
11. "Five to One" (written by Morrison) 4:26

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1968 Billboard Pop Albums (Billboard 200) 1


Year Single Chart Position
1968 "The Unknown Soldier"
B-side: "We Could Be So Good Together"
Pop Singles 39
1968 "Hello, I Love You"
B-side: "Love Street"
Pop Singles 1


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[15] Platinum 1,000,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[16] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[17] 2× Gold 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[18] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Gold 100,000^

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


The Doors
Additional musicians


  1. ^ a b Hopkins, Sugarman 1980, p. 179.
  2. ^ {https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B9uynU94qI}.
  3. ^ "The Story Behind The Doors: "Hello, I Love You" - Rifftime Blog". Rifftime Blog. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  4. ^ "Hello I Love You by The Doors Songfacts". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  5. ^ Hopkins, Sugarman 1980, p. 152.
  6. ^ "Now the Day is Over". Encyclopedia-titanica.org. 2005-10-12. Retrieved 2013-07-05. 
  7. ^ Slant Magazine - Music Review: The Doors: Waiting For The Sun
  8. ^ Hopkins, Sugarman 1980, p. 112.
  9. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Waiting for the Sun – The Doors | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ a b Miller, Jim (September 28, 1968). "[Waiting for the Sun review]". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ "The Doors: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on January 13, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (April 18, 2007). "The Doors: Waiting for the Sun | Album Review | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Doors Waiting for the Sun". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  15. ^ "American album certifications – The Doors – Waiting for the Sun". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  16. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Doors – Waiting for the Sun". Music Canada. 
  17. ^ "French album certifications – Doors – Waiting for the Sun" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select DOORS and click OK
  18. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Doors; 'Waiting for the Sun')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  19. ^ "British album certifications – Doors – Waiting for the Sun". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Waiting for the Sun in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Wheels of Fire by Cream
Billboard 200 number-one album
September 7–27, 1968
October 5–11, 1968
Succeeded by
Time Peace: The Rascals' Greatest Hits by The Rascals