All four members of the Doors- vocalist Jim Morrison, pianist-organist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore- have college backgrounds. Ray Manzarek holds a master’s degree from UCLA in psychology; Morrison, singer and writer of their original material and songs, has a bachelor’s degree in math. Krieger and Densmore have completed three years at the University of California and plan to get their degrees via extension courses.
The impact of the Doors has been forceful enough to drive their first album, “The Doors,” to the top of the charts, to make one song, “Light My Fire,” one of the best-selling singles of the year. Their second album, “Strange Days,” had a half million orders before it was ever pressed.
Recent surveys by Variety, Music-World, Billboard and Voice magazines have placed the Doors in first, second or third in popularity, and News-week said that they occupy the same platform the Beatles did five years ago. Attendance on their current tour bears this out.
In contrast to the raucous San Francisco groups, the blues-oriented Doors are softer and smoother, blend in and out in a complex variety of melodic, rhythmic and instrumental changes, punctuated by odd abrupt silences.
There is nothing dull about their music. Morrison improvises words, and Ray, John and Robbie improvise their music. There is never a dissonant chord. Some say it is the music that makes the Doors a phenomenon.