Waiting for the Sun
|Waiting for the Sun|
|Studio album by|
|Released||July 3, 1968|
|Studio||TTG, Hollywood, California|
|Producer||Paul A. Rothchild|
|The Doors chronology|
|Singles from Waiting for the Sun|
Waiting for the Sun is the third studio album by the American rock band the Doors. Recorded at TTG Studios in Los Angeles, the album's 11 tracks were recorded between February and May 1968 and the album was released by Elektra Records on July 3, 1968. It became the band's only number one album (topping the charts for four weeks) and included their second US number one single, "Hello, I Love You" (for two weeks starting August 3, 1968). The first single released off the album was "The Unknown Soldier," which peaked at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also became the band's first hit album in the UK, where it peaked at number 16.
To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the album's release in 2018, a 1-LP/2-CD deluxe version of the album was released by Rhino Records. This was overseen by long-time Doors sound engineer Bruce Botnick. The cover of the album was photographed by Paul Ferrara in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.
Background and recording
The Doors started recording Waiting for the Sun in February 1968. They had used up most of frontman Jim 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 attempted to record a longer piece called "Celebration of the Lizard" and intended the piece to occupy the second side of the album; this was later shelved. However, a recording of the "Not to Touch the Earth" segment was included and the full lyrics to "Celebration of the Lizard" were printed inside the album's gatefold sleeve.
Many of the tracks were created in the studio. The production of the album by Paul A. Rothchild led to multiple takes and at one point drummer John Densmore walked out of a session frustrated at Morrison's behavior. Rothchild's growing perfectionism was also becoming an issue for the band; each song on the album required at least 20 takes with "The Unknown Soldier", recorded in two parts, requiring 130 takes.
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 guitarist Robby Krieger had joined the group, as had "Summer's Almost Gone." In the liner notes to the Doors Box Set, Krieger denied the allegations that the song's musical structure was stolen from Ray Davies, with a similar riff having been 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 1980 Morrison 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.
Waiting for the Sun contains two songs with military themes: "Five to One" and "The Unknown Soldier". In No One Here Gets Out Alive, authors Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman speculate that the song seems to be a parody of all the naive revolutionary rhetoric heard on the streets, spouted by the "hippie/flower child" hordes Morrison saw in growing numbers, panhandling outside concert halls; an interpretation strongly supported by the final verse's line "Your ballroom days are over, baby." The following lines ("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").
"The Unknown Soldier" exemplified 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 are 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!", followed by the sounds of loading rifles and a long military drum roll, a pause, and then rifle shots. After this middle section, the verses return, with Morrison, singing in a sadder tone to "make a grave for the Unknown Soldier," with a 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. The song was seen as 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" reflecting how news of the war was being presented in the living rooms of ordinary people. The band also shot a promotional film for the song.
The centerpiece of the 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 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 abandoned. It was released as the B-side of the single "The Unknown Soldier" which peaked at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single version quotes the opening theme from Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser."
The track "Wintertime Love" and the mournful "Summer's Almost Gone" address seasonal themes, while the gentle "Yes, the River Knows" was written by Krieger. In the liner notes to the 1997 Doors retrospective Box Set, Manzarek praises the latter: "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." In the same essay, Manzarek refers to "Summer's Almost Gone" as "a cool Latino-Bolero kind of thing with a Bach-like bridge. It's about the ephemeral nature of life. A season of joy and light and laughter is coming to an end." While recording "My Wild Love", the band eventually gave up on the music and turned it into a work song by getting everyone in the studio to clap their hands, stamp their feet, and chant in unison. 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").
Waiting for the Sun was released on July 3, 1968, although some sources incorrectly noted on 12 July. The album has sold over 7 million copies. Although "Celebration of the Lizard" was not included on the original release of the album, a recording of the long piece was later included along with two early takes of "Not to Touch the Earth" as bonus tracks on the 40th anniversary expanded edition release of the album (subtitled "An Experiment/Work in Progress").
In 2018, Rhino Records released a 1-LP/2-CD deluxe edition to commemorate the album's 50th anniversary release. The LP and first CD feature remastered versions of the same 11 tracks from the original 1968 release. The second CD features 14 previously unreleased tracks. The 50th anniversary edition omits the bonus tracks featured on the 40th anniversary edition.
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
Waiting for the Sun has been generally well received by critics, though most cited it as a step down in quality from the band's earlier albums. 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." The New Musical Express declared "The Unknown Soldier" as the standout of side one, and "all on side two are gems, notably 'My Wild Love' and the long finale 'Five to One'."
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." In his review of the 2007 reissue, Sal Cinquemani of Slant praised the album, writing that "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."
|1.||"Hello, I Love You"||2:14|
|3.||"Not to Touch the Earth"||3:56|
|4.||"Summer's Almost Gone"||3:22|
|6.||"The Unknown Soldier"||3:22|
|2.||"My Wild Love"||3:01|
|3.||"We Could Be So Good Together"||2:26|
|4.||"Yes, the River Knows"||2:36|
|5.||"Five to One"||4:26|
40th Anniversary Edition
|12.||"Albinoni's Adagio in G minor" (Remo Giazotto)||4:32|
|13.||"Not to Touch the Earth" (Dialogue)||0:38|
|14.||"Not to Touch the Earth" (Take 1)||4:05|
|15.||"Not to Touch the Earth" (Take 2)||4:18|
|16.||"Celebration of the Lizard" (An Experiment/Work in Progress)||17:09|
50th Anniversary Edition second CD bonus tracks
|1.||"Hello, I Love You"||2:23|
|2.||"Summer's Almost Gone"||3:23|
|3.||"Yes, the River Knows"||2:38|
|7.||"Not to Touch the Earth"||3:57|
|8.||"Five to One"||4:23|
|9.||"My Wild Love"||3:00|
|10.||"Texas Radio & the Big Beat"||1:33|
|11.||"Hello, I Love You"||2:27|
|12.||"Back Door Man"||2:06|
|13.||"Five to One"||4:38|
|14.||"The Unknown Soldier"||4:53|
- Douglas Lubahn – occasional bass, electric bass on "Spanish Caravan"
- Kerry Magness – bass guitar on "The Unknown Soldier"
- Leroy Vinnegar – acoustic bass on "Spanish Caravan"
- Paul A. Rothchild – production
- Bruce Botnick – engineering
- William S. Harvey – art direction and design
- Paul Ferrara – front cover photograph
- Guy Webster – back cover photography
|Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)||3|
|UK Albums (OCC)||16|
|US Billboard 200||1|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||20|
(A-side / B-side)
|1968||"The Unknown Soldier" /
"We Could Be So Good Together"
|1968||"Hello, I Love You" /
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|France (SNEP)||2× Gold||200,000*|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
* Sales figures based on certification alone.
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