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The Doors

The organ-driven material of the Doors brought psychedelic rock into the pop charts. In 1965, Ray Manzarek was playing in Ray and the Ravens with his two brothers. He met fellow UCLA student Jim Morrison, who had begun to write songs, and added him to the band. By August, with the addition of drummer John Densmore, the band had changed its name to the Doors, an Aldous Huxley-cum-William Blake reference. By the time the group recorded its first demos, Manzarek’s brothers had left and were replaced by Robby Krieger. The Doors began playing Los Angeles clubs, notably the London Fog and Whisky a Go-Go, which brought them notoriety and, by mid-1966, a contract with Elektra Records. Released in January 1967, the self-titled Doors debut album featured material honed during live sets, including the band’s magnum opus “The End.” Elektra released “Light My Fire” as a single in mid-1967 after heavy editing of long solo passages, which became the label’s first number 1 hit on the Billboard charts. Through the year, the band appeared on television, including the  Ed Sullivan Show, toured extensively, and recorded material for its next album,  Strange Days. In December, Morrison became the first rock musician to be arrested during a performance—at a show in New Haven, Connecticut. Through 1968, Morrison further developed a drug and alcohol dependence as the group recorded its third album,  Waiting for the Sun, which produced two hit songs: “Hello, I Love You” and “Touch Me.” In 1969 the experimental album  The Soft Parade was released and a notorious Miami concert saw Morrison urge the audience to strip; he was arrested for exposure. The Doors returned to a rock sound with  Morrison Hotel in 1970 and, by the end of the year, Morrison’s issues had led to his retirement from public performance. The next year, the group released  L.A. Woman and Morrison moved to Paris, where he died in July. Prior to their official breakup in 1973, the Doors continued as a trio and recorded two more albums. Members went on to form other groups, produce records, and reunited sporadically for tribute and memorial performances. Oliver Stone’s 1991 film  The Doors reignited interest in the group and, in 1993, it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ray Manzarek died in 2013.