Michael Cuscuna

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 457

The Doors … were among those who created the rock underground, and turned the deaf, overconfident recording industry around. Without hit singles, these groups sold thousands of albums on the basis of the quality of their music and the power of word-of-mouth.

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With their first album, the Doors brought many innovations to rock. Essentially, it was the first successful synthesis of jazz and rock….

The Doors were the first group to introduce the theater song and its derivatives into the realm of current popular music. Listen to their The End….

The group's second album, Strange Days, was one of the first concept albums in the underground, and certainly the most subtle. It strongly resembled the first album in quality and style.

The third disc, Waiting for the Sun, sounded as if the now successful Doors were trying to imitate themselves. The Soft Parade was an over-produced and over-arranged collection of obvious songs. The spirit of the Doors had all but disappeared….

I expressed my feelings [to Morrison] about the evolution of the Doors. With a half smile, he said: "Really? Hmm. I like all four albums equally. But I really am proud of our second record because it tells a story, it is a whole effort. Someday it will get the recognition that it deserves. I don't think many people were aware of what we were doing."

In response to my statement that the Doors had lost much of their spirit and creativity on the third and fourth albums, he explained: "Most of the songs on the first two records had been written when we were still playing clubs six nights a week. When it came time for the recording of Waiting for the Sun, we were just working concerts and had no chance to work out new material. In fact, some of the songs on that album were written right in the studio. One thing about the fourth album that I am very proud of, is that Touch Me, which was also a single, was the first rock hit to have a jazz solo in it, by Curtis Amy on tenor saxophone. I guess Tell All the People was a dumb song, but everyone wanted me to do it, so I did. Soon we are going to put out a live concert album, and that may bring back the feeling that you were talking about." (p. 13)

Morrison Hotel [is] an intriguing and unusual collection of Morrison originals…. It is not the old Doors, nor is it the current commercial Doors; it is Jim Morrison singing some excellent songs, covering territory that the group had not heretofore explored. (pp. 13, 32)

Michael Cuscuna, "Behind the Doors," in down beat (copyright 1970; reprinted with permission of down beat), Vol. 37, No. 11, May 28, 1970, pp. 13, 32.

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