It’s been fifty years since Elektra Records released The Doors eponymous debut album. The band had spent months sharpening their sound on stage in Los Angeles as the Whisky a Go Go’s house band. The effort featured key songs from their live set, most of which have since become iconic, including the lead single Break On Through (to the Other Side), which failed to crack the Billboard Top 100 but remains a defining track. The second single, Light My Fire, was perfectly timed with the Summer of Love hitting No. 1 in July of 1967. Even the rambling finale, aptly titled The End, which includes spoken-word poetry and clocks in at around 12 minutes long, has become beloved.
The mix of magnetic frontman Jim Morrison’s drunken-stoned sex appeal and poetic lyrics with Ray Manzarek’s trippy, jazzy organ created a new sound that was central to the progression of psychedelic rock.
The original album has sold more than 20 million copies since its release and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
Take a look back at the band’s history with our quiz and see how well you know the album that started it all.
Then tune into Classic Vinyl (Ch. 26) on March 31 at Noon for their “The Doors at 50” special. As the Doors prepare to re-release their first album with special mono and stereo remixes and a live CD, surviving members John Densmore and Robby Krieger tell us the story behind each of the album’s tracks.
The Doors at 50 rebroadcasts Friday 3/31 at 3 pm & 10 pm ET; Saturday 4/1 at 6 am & 6 pm ET; Sunday 4/2 at 4 am, 10 am and 9 pm ET.
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