The Doors - The Singles album review

The music isn’t over yet

Cover art for The Doors - The Singles album

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It’s now 50 years since the Doors’ first album arrived like an incendiary broadcast from a heliocentric world where rock had never dared venture before, swiftly followed by the equally astonishing Strange Days. The expected creative recycling started with the first album’s latest deluxe reissue. Now comes this pocket-hitting box containing 20 singles they released until 1978’s spoken word American Prayer, including live 45s and mono radio pressings, all in replicas of their original sleeves.

Hearing these songs again in succession is like sitting on a rollercoaster that starts in an acid orgy on Mount Olympus. Those first two albums still send hallucinogenic chills half a century later, then the Doors start going inexorably down as Jimbo’s booze intake goes up, sliding through tortuously created pop confections until the glorious final starburst of Riders On The Storm rescues their name from disgraced oblivion (although the post-Jim band’s attempts at keeping the name alive still sound sadly limp).

The set (also available on double CD for poorer fans who need another compilation) shows again what a truly unique group the Doors once were, while amplifying the frustrating waste of Morrison’s self-destructive decline.

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!