“Because as the wise ass said, ‘Why did Jim Morrison cross the road? To break on through to the other side.’ But seriously, as lead off tracks from debut albums go, The Doors’ Break On Through is about as perfect as they come. A dark eruption of summer of love psyche-rock that tells no lies, promises maybe everything and pretty much delivers. But the version I’ve ended up listening to most comes from barely three years later, the double album Absolutely Live, wherein the band (via some psychedelic time trick) have clearly been on the road for centuries, howling the gods’ eternal truth to the hungry children of man, all those dead cats, aristocrats, sucking on young men’s blood and soldiers’ skulls up and down the ages, so all the more reason to chase pleasures, dig treasures, break on through the veils and filters and doors that deceive us, because though now may always be the time, it was never so evident as it was way back when, the so-called 60s rising to their peak, storming for heaven, or perhaps oblivion … whatever’s waiting beyond the great within.” (Philip Random)
Another argument in favour of the Dub Syndicate (the whole On-U Sound project in general) continuing to be one of the great overlooked items in recent cultural history. Seriously. In the case of Stoned Immaculate, that means you grab a sample of Jim Morrison waxing poetic about what it’s like to be way out there at the psychedelic edge, lay it over some suitably strong and mysterious dub and voila! It hits the cool zeitgeist of summertime 1991. A stupid war has ended and with it the so-called Winter of Hate, so maybe something new and beautiful is being born. The 90s did have that vibe … for a while anyway.
“The first thing I heard about Joy Division was that they were a cool new band out of Britain who were doing a sort of new wave meets The Doors thing. Which sounded cool. The next thing was that their lead singer had killed himself. But good luck getting to hear any of the actual music. Local rock radio wasn’t playing any of it and whatever few dozen of their records that may have made it to town as imports were quickly scooped up by people far cooler than me. So it was all just mystery for a long time until I finally heard Decades on a mixtape in some guy’s car – as suitable an epitaph as anyone ever wrote for themselves. And strangely, it’s almost exactly what I expected. Dark and strange and heavy with mood just like Jimbo the Lizard King and his crowd, except the edges were harder, the lines cut sharper. Like nothing I’d ever heard before really, except perhaps in my dreams. I guess I liked it. I’ve never really stopped listening to it.” (Philip Random)
“I had a copy of the Doors’ Absolutely Live kicking around for years before I finally listened to it, grabbed cheap for future reference, I guess, because at the time I was going through a prolonged phase of just not being into Jim Morrison and his bullshit, poetic and otherwise. Early 1990s finally, I put it on and what blew me away was the band. Hot shit indeed for a trio (guitar, drums, organ – the bass notes coming from the Ray Manzarek’s left hand). And yeah, I had to admit the singer had a certain something too, not remotely afraid to howl his angst and poetry and prophecy at the universe. We’re all doomed apparently.” (Philip Random)
“Yeah, Jim Morrison was an asshole, who died for his own sins, nobody else’s. But damn, the Doors were a strong band, and yet they were pretty much nothing without him. And that first album in particular – well, somebody had to do it. 1967. Summer of Love – offer at least a hint that there was a darker side to things even as it was rocketing to the top of the charts. Soul Kitchen makes the list because it’s remained mostly well hidden over the years, and thus, no allergies.” (Philip Random)
“1984 was Frankie‘s year (Goes To Hollywood, that is). Nobody had heard of them before. Nobody would ever really care about them after. The root of it, I figure, was a line from Two Tribes (which won’t be on this list because I’m assuming you’ve heard it). ‘Are we living in a land where sex and horror are the new gods?’ The land they were from was England, but given the degree of international success they had, it’s safe to say they were speaking of the whole mad Cold War world. Which put the Pleasuredome everywhere, including spread across the entirety of side one of Frankie’s debut double album.” (Philip Random)
“Speaking of the Brave Generation (ie: those of us who were still little kids as the 1960s flipped over into the 1970s), pretty much everybody had a half-cool older brother or sister or cousin that had a copy of the Guess Who‘s Share The Land lying around – the one with the wise Indian on the cover. Which was rather the hippie teenage dream at the time. Smoke a little maryjane and get some mystical magical guidance from somebody/anybody who wasn’t your dad or your grand dad or your hockey coach, or anyone even remotely connected with your suburban whitebread, soulless culture. Or as the lyrics go in Three More Days (Burton Cummings channeling his inner Jim Morrison) ‘Freedom – paint me a picture – show it to me right now’. And then the band got busy stretching things out and tearing them up. Epic indeed.” (Philip Random)
“I didn’t really twig to this track until I saw the Doors movie, which I realize I’m not supposed to like (or am I?), the whole thing just being so absurdly over the top — Val Kilmer chewing not just the cheap studio scenery, but great chunks of the Mojave desert as well. Except it’s true, all that excess. The psychedelic 60s were that weird, eruptive, wild, kicking into overdrive by 1967, blowing through to the darkness beyond the ozone by 1968, which is where Not To Touch The Earth comes in. You’re so high you’re not sure if you’re worm or a god, or maybe just some long dead Indian who snuck into your eggshell skull during a thunderstorm in the desert when you were still a small boy.” (Philip Random)
Jim Morrison died less than three months after the Doors released LA Woman (or he successfully disappeared, left it all behind). Either way, it’s exactly the kind of album every dead (or merely gone) poet-sexgod-asshole-brilliant rockstar should leave in his wake, loaded with grit, shadow, unsolved mystery, kickass music.