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The Doors Recorded Their First Demo on This Day in 1965

On 2nd September 1965, six artists walked into the World Pacific Studios in Los Angeles for a crucial recording session: vocalist Jim Morrison, drummer John Densmore, bass player Patty Sullivan and the brothers Ray, Rick and Jim Manzarek on piano, guitar and harmonica, respectively. They had recently been signed by Aura Records, a subsidiary label of Pacific Jazz Records.

At the time, the band was called Rick & the Ravens, but they renamed themselves the Doors a month later, on Morrison’s suggestion. The new name was inspired by Aldous Huxley’s essay about his psychedelic experiences, ‘The Doors of Perception’, which itself references a line from William Blake’s book, ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’: “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite”.

The World Pacific session only lasted three hours, and the group recorded six songs in that time: ‘Hello, I Love You’, ‘Summer’s Almost Gone’, ‘Moonlight Drive’, ‘My Eyes Have Seen You’, ‘End of the Night’ and ‘Go Insane’. All of these would later become Doors songs, with the exception of ‘Go Insane’. Although the abandoned track wasn’t featured on any of the band’s future albums, they incorporated parts of it into some of their future compositions, most notably ‘Celebration of the Lizard’. ‘Hello, I Love You’ is the only one on the 1965 demo that had remained nearly unchanged on the final, well-known version. It is also the only song that was later released as a single. The other four tracks had been quite dramatically rearranged before being released years later.

The 1965 demo is an important piece of rock ‘n’ roll history because it captures the starting point from which the distinctive sound of the Doors had developed. Also, this was the first time Jim Morrison heard his voice on a recording.

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The Doors photographed shortly after they had become a quartet

 

Surprisingly, Rick and Jim Manzarek were so disappointed with the demo that they decided to quit the band. Rick was then replaced by Robby Krieger in October 1965, who had previously played in the Psychedelic Rangers with Densmore. Sullivan left the band in December after Manzarek decided that he would play the basslines on the keyboard, thus establishing the classic Doors line-up that lasted until Morrison’s death in 1971.

It took nearly another year following the World Pacific session before the group recorded their self-titled debut album, which was released in January 1967. ‘End of the Night’ was the only song recorded at the session that appeared on ‘The Doors’ LP.

 

 

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