Monday 29 May 2023

The Doors Of Perception

Side 1 of a cassette compilation of The Doors, recorded sometime during the spring/summer of 1992.
During "The Blockbuster Years" of video shops from the mid-late 1980s, I had managed to rent and watch Dance On Fire, a VHS compilation of short films, live and TV performances. It was brilliant and cemented my love of The Doors. I bought secondhand copies of the first two albums from Replay Records in Bristol. Much as I loved the self-titled debut, Strange Days was - and remains - my favourite album by The Doors. The front and back sleeve, featuring a fascinating array of carny characters with the band themselves relegated to a poster pasted to a wall was a real snapshot in time. 

In 1992, I was in a relationship with someone else who loved The Doors. She was quite open in that her main interest was Jim Morrison in leather trousers and to a lesser extent Val Kilmer in leather trousers and wig (Oliver Stone's biopic of The Doors had been released the previous year). 
To be honest, most of the overlaps in musical taste was usually predicated on how hot the front person was, particularly in leather trousers, but I managed to resist the subliminal encouragement to purchase a pair of my own. I remembered nights spent kipping on the floors of friends' bedsits, often next to someone's discarded pair of leather trews with the lasting impression of how much they stank after months, years even, of sweaty club nights and gigs. I mean, you could hardly stick them in for a service wash at the local launderette, could you? So, I saved my meagre pennies for feeding my record habit and socialising.

I digress. My ever-reliable friend Stuart had the rest of The Doors' albums, including the rather stingily short Live At The Hollywood Bowl highlights album and excellent out-takes compilation Alive She Cried. So, one weekend I borrowed them and set about creating a mixtape of my favourite songs.

The live version of Light My Fire preceded by Jim's reading of Wake Up from their Hollywood Bowl appearance is about as good as it gets and far superior to the studio take in my opinion. 
Strange Days was the opening song on their second album but makes a second appearance as a second song on one of my mixtapes, here following Do It, the penultimate song on Side 1 of The Soft Parade. 
I have a lot of time for The Soft Parade, though it doesn't appear to be a much-loved album for its surfeit of strings, allegedly masking a troubled production, and Jim clearly struggling to deliver a decent, committed vocal in places. And yet...and yet. I wrote a few words about the album - and more specifically Touch Me - last March.

The Doors cassette was played to death during the summer of 1992...sadly, literally. I had a fairly reliable secondhand car which had come with a ropey old cassette deck that had been bolted to the underside of the passenger glove compartment with wires trailing here and there and crappy speakers positioned at the rear of the vehicle. It had an unpredictable habit of chewing up or forcibly ejecting cassette tapes, so I tended to only play homemade mixtapes as a result. However, it could just about pass muster for a drive with the windows down, volume up, my girlfriend next to me and friends in the back as we drove around listening to music.

On one sorry occasion, I pulled the car over to drop off my passengers before heading off to find somewhere to park, Light My Fire in full effect, Ray Manzarek giving it his all on the keyboards. As my girlfriend got out of the car, the tape deck decided to violently regurgitate The Doors cassette, projecting it through the still-open passenger door and on a short arc to the ground, smashing to pieces on the kerbside. We were gobsmacked for a split second, then we all started laughing. To be honest, whilst I was laughing on the outside, a little part of me was crying on the inside.

For some reason, I didn't ever get around to recording a new version of The Doors mixtape so here, for the first time in over three decades, is that original Side 1. I've listened to the parent albums many, many times since. I bought all of The Doors albums on CD - Live At the Hollywood Bowl twice, as I got the subsequent expanded 2CD reissue - but I'm pretty happy with the choices and sequencing of this 1992 time capsule. 

I'll take care when playing this selection in the car though, in case the spirit of my long-deceased cassette deck possesses my vehicle and launches my phone out of the window, midway through Manzarek's keyboard frenzy on Light My Fire...
1) Do It (1969)
2) Strange Days (Album Version) (1967)
3) Waiting For The Sun (Album Version) (1970)
4) Soul Kitchen (Album Version) (1967)
5) Love Me Two Times (Album Version) (1967)
6) Wake Up / Light My Fire (Live @ The Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles) (1968)
7) People Are Strange (Album Version) (1967)
8) End Of The Night (Album Version) (1967)
9) The Unknown Soldier (Album Version) (1968)
10) Wishful Sinful (Album Version) (1969)
11) Riders On The Storm (Album Version) (1971)

Side One (45:45) (Box) (Mega)
This isn't the first selection of The Doors on this blog. Back in August 2021, in a post inspired by watching a Patrick Swayze film (!), I created a selection of 21st Century remixes of The Doors by the likes of Nightmares On Wax, Adam Freeland, Thievery Corporation, The Reflex and Mark Vidler aka Go Home Productions. You can find it here.


  1. Surely it is now time to invest in those leather trousers?

    1. I suspect if I tried now, Ernie, I'd inadvertently be more like PJ Proby than Jim Morrison! Besides, I don't think I could bear the constant squeaking when I moved or sat down...!

  2. Thank you for bringing back The Doors to my memory, Khayem. A great compilation that makes me want to play their albums again during the next days.

    1. Many thanks, Walter, it's had me reaching back for the albums too. Strange Days feels strangely apt in the current environment!

  3. A band I played a lot in my formative years but not so much now..I must return! I do wonder if my liking of the doors was in part due to Dave Greenfield's keyboard riffs sounding remarkably similar at times..

    1. That's a good point, Mike. A secondhand vinyl of The Collection 77-82 was one of my first purchases and I played it constantly. I think it was probably a combination of that and Ray Manzarek producing Echo & The Bunnymen's "grey" album, not to mention their cover of People Are Strange for The Lost Boys movie, that shifted my focus to The Doors.