The Doors - Waiting For The Sun (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) album review

The Doors’ dog day afternoon

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The Doors -Waiting For The Sun (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Disc One
Hello, I Love You
Love Street
Not To Touch The Earth
Summer’s Almost Gone
Wintertime Love
The Unknown Soldier
Spanish Caravan
My Wild Love
We Could Be So Good Together
Yes, The River Knows

Disc Two (All Tracks Previously Unreleased) Rough Mixes
Hello, I Love You
Summer’s Almost Gone
Yes, The River Knows
Spanish Caravan
Love Street
Wintertime Love
Not To Touch The Earth
Five To One
My Wild Love

Live In Copenhagen
The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)
Hello, I Love You
Back Door Man
Five To One
The Unknown Soldier

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Released on July 3, 1968, exactly three years before the death of Jim Morrison in 1971, Waiting For The Sun became The Doors’ biggest-selling album, largely thanks to the No.1 hit Hello, I Love You rather than for the introductory single The Unknown Soldier, often overlooked as being their biggest commercial flop. 

Hello, I Love You, a throwaway line addressed to a passing beauty on Venice Beach, dated to their 1965 Aura demos, as did the wistful Summer’s Almost Gone, though both were re-recorded. We Could Be So Good Together, a Strange Days outtake, remained intact. Completing the confusion the title track didn’t appear until Morrison Hotel – they couldn’t reconcile it here. 

Not To Touch The Earth was integral to the lengthy Celebration Of The Lizard. This song was one Jim played almost constantly in his apartment in the hours preceding his fatal OD. Waiting For The Sun is more observational in tone than an album with big set pieces like The End or When The Music’s Over. The peyote ritual of My Wild Love aside, psychedelia it ain’t. Morrison’s ‘Young Lion’ phase was peaking and though drinking heavily, he was apt to croon, a trait that drew criticism at the time – what’s this mellow shit? – though long-term fans may disagree since the mood is so sultry it presages the magnificent MOR atmosphere of The Soft Parade, stacking Latin boleros and arpeggios on Krieger’s deathly Yes, The River Knows

This reissue is exceptional. It includes nine rough mixes and five live Copenhagen tracks from the 1968 European tour, including The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat) and a fuzzed-out assault on The Unknown Soldier. Doors engineer Bruce Botnick says: “I prefer some of these mixes as they represent all of the elements and additional background vocals, and some intangible roughness, all quite attractive and refreshing.” 

He’s right. Morrison wrote most of his lyrics in a tiny closet at the Laurel Canyon house he shared with Pamela Courson on Rothdell Trail, aka Love Street. Wintertime Love is a melancholic pastoral waltz nudged by harpsichord, while the militant Five To One is more eerie than the standard version, with greater emphasis on Robby Krieger’s Love influenced solos. Interesting to hear Morrison’s mumbled reticence when closing Not To Touch The Earth with ‘I am the Lizard King/I can do anything’. His Parisian demise emphasised that poignant doubt.