There is something wonderful to say about bands that meet and start making music at a young age. The chemistry that holds them together resembles that of a family. Their sound and their genre all stem from where they are mentally and in maturity.
When you take a look at the music scene, many bands form while still in their teens or early twenties such as Queen and Green Day. The biggest trick when you are that young and everyone is a headstrong musician is keeping your band together and happy.
This was something that Jim Morrison struggled with towards the end of his career with The Doors.
How it all began
One of the most iconic and influential bands of the late 1960s is The Doors. It all began in the halls of UCLA where Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek were studying Film and Theatre.
Morrison had a flair for the dramatic and some even say he was quite pretentious. This is evident in the name they chose, “The Doors,” from the book written by Aldous Huxley. These strange character traits didn’t stop Manzarek from pairing up with Morrison. In fact, they both agreed that Morrison’s poetry skills complimented Manzarek’s keyboard skills quite well.
By 1966 the band had produced its first album and was dubbed the only rock band of its time to make music with only a guitar, drums and an organ. Their rise to star status was all thanks to their controversial yet influential stance on counter culture in America. US at that time was in the midst of the Vietnam War, sending young men off to fight for the country.
Morrison never shied away from including reality in his lyrics and that is what drew their fans in. They were young and they were relatable.
Path to success
After The Doors signed with their label, they released eight albums in only five years. By the end of it all, they became the very first band to have eight gold records in a row, meaning each of their records respectively reached gold status.
The band put in the time and effort and made sure they participated in every aspect of their careers. Thanks to their studies in film, Morrison and Manzarek actively produced some of the earlier music videos, the most popular one still being “People are Strange.”
The band had reached every height they could have imagined, selling millions of records worldwide by 1972. Their success was one for the record books, and so was Morrison’s drunken antics. Morrison became the first musician to be arrested at his own concert after a police officer caught him and a female fan in the bathrooms.
The Officer sprayed mace at Morrison after Morrison firmly told the officer to eat it. It took an hour for the effects of the mace to wear off. But in true Rock n Roll fashion, Morrison wasn’t going to let that stop him and he took to the stage!
Hard lessons and an early grave
Sadly, the road to success ended very abruptly for Morrison and at the age of 27, he died; he joined the infamous 27 Club along with fellow musician Jimi Hendrix. The fast track to success coupled with a lavish lifestyle seemed to be the deadly combo for Morrison.
Leading up to the end of Morrison’s career and ultimately his life, Morrison was making more and more of a nuisance of himself: missing flights, showing up to events drunk and high making it impossible for the rest of the band to perform.
Their success was global and so was the news of Morrison’s death in 1971. Aside from this loss to the music world, it was also a shame that Morrison’s death came after the release of their most successful album to date. The fans were left wanting more from this man, who in lyrics seemed to have learned all the lessons of life, one way or another.
Their ability to be the voice of the many shot their career into the stratosphere. As they got older and wiser, so too did their music. Which probably explains why their final album was the best yet. Sometimes it is the things you experience in life that people can most relate to.
And this is what we can learn from The Doors. That you need to find your crowd and realize what your message wants to be. But more importantly, showing growth in your understanding of the world is what really gets fans hooked for life.
Be sure to stop back next month and check out the second part in this 5-part series: Korn: Inspiring Stories About Famous Musicians and Bands Who Started to Perform in College