Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Geezerology Roundtable: The Doors struck out as a trio

The four members of The Doors had finished up recording LA Woman in January 1971. And their lead singer, Jim Morrison, was exhausted after a whirlwind five years of recording and touring and drinking and fighting the law -- all with the eyes of the Western world watching and recording and commenting on his every move.

So Morrison decided it was time for a break. He told his bandmates he was going to Paris to drop off the face of the earth for awhile. He wanted to clear his head, write some poetry, hide out and spend some quality time with his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. And he told his buddies, the three guys who were the most important people in his life and his career, not to worry. He told them the move wasn't permanent, that he would be back home in a few months to face the music in his battle with Miami prosecutors and to make more music with The Doors, who seemed to have found a creative second wind with their move into their own rehearsal and studio space in West Hollywood, CA.

And with that, Jim and Pam got on an airplane in March. LA Woman, the band's sixth album, was released the following month to great critical and commercial fanfare. And after taking a bit of a breather themselves, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore set up shop in June to start working up some new material. They wanted to be ready to hit the ground running when a rejuvenated Morrison returned home in a few weeks.

And then, on July 4, Krieger got a phone call, presumably from someone in Paris, informing him that Morrison was dead. He thought it was probably another prank, but it did concern him when no one was able to reach Morrison. So he and the guys sent one of their management team to Paris to find out what was going on. Once The Doors rep got there, he learned that Pam had found Jim dead in their bathtub and French authorities had already buried the corpse.

Back home, everyone was shocked, of course. Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore quickly got around to the discussion: What do we do now? After considering a number of bad options, they decided to just put their heads down and get back to work. They finished recording a few new songs in August -- mostly written by Krieger, with Manzarek and Krieger sharing vocal duties. And in October, they decided to release their seventh album as a trio and to address the elephant in the room with the LP's title, Other Voices.

Sadly, it did not turn out well, as the Geezerology crew discusses over on YouTube:

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