Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Doors - Strange Days (1967)

The sophomore album from The Doors in 1967 was nothing short of genius.  It came from a few remnants of their first album, which should be expected given that both their first and 2nd albums were released the in the same year.  Wait.  What?  Yeah you see, during what is now known as the musics most creative period, the classic rock era, it wasn't uncommon for artists to pump out releases as often as possible.  That's where we get all these "bootlegs", studio tapes, random cuts, and B sides that we hear about being released years later.  Their first album, self titled, The Doors was out earlier in the Winter.  Strange Days was out late that summer.  Here's when things get really funky though,  Light My Fire, the 2nd single released from their first album was released in April 1967.  It charted well, but didn't hit number 1 till August.  Strange Days was released in September.  It reached number 3, while The Doors was still on the top 10.  Sadly, The Doors didn't have a #1 debut till the following year with their 3rd album, Waiting For The Sun.

The Doors came out and peaked right as the Beatles were facing the downside of their run as the greatest at the time.  While this album was a major commercial success going platinum twice and gold thrice, nobody was beating the Beatles that at the time had 3 of the top 10 albums charting and a ton of singles to go along with it.  The thing about The Doors though, specifically this album, they were something the Beatles weren't dark and poetic.  Until the Beatles went all pop and experimental, thus nailing their own coffin, the Doors were antithesis to that trend.  The Doors went with psychedelia and flowing stories of everything free in the rock era.  It was almost a reach back to the liberating 50's.  Since Zeppelin wasn't around yet, (1968) you really only had Pink Floyd in this area, and frankly, Floyd didn't become Floyd till the late 60's early 70's.  So you have a sound that really, nobody had ever heard before.  

So, what did this album sound like?  It had 2 singles, the first People Are Strange, released about a week before the album in early September 1967.
People Are Strange

Just let that song soak in.  Tell me it's not a commentary on the world around you when you're seemingly the only "normal" one around.  Or, are you the one who's strange, and the world around you is happy?  Incidentally, I know the picture above isn't the greatest, but the album cover was part of the scene in the beginning of that video.

Yeah, that picture is pretty useless too, but you get the point.  The 2nd single, Love Me Two Times, was released 2 months later closer to Thanksgiving.

Love Me Two Times

Shout out to New Haven Connecticut for fucking not only this song for being, and I quote, "Too risque", but the group as a whole by arresting Jim Morrison during a concert that December.  Ever wanted to know where that infamous mug shot of Morrison came from?

This vinyl pick above was procured at the ever awesome Listen Up! records in Natick Massachusetts. It was the Record Store Day reissue of Strange Days in mono.  Incidentally, just a quick note about sound mastering.  Up until sometime in the late 50's early 60's most music was exclusively recorded in mono.  Stereo was about as much of a fad as 3D believe it or not.  (Remember everyone's fascination with the future in the 1950's? Well this is stuff from that era.)  Some say the sound is distinct, and this is true with some recordings.  If an album was originally intended to be released in mono, and was recorded in mono, get your hands on the mono.  If you're a fan of early Beatles, you'll notice the difference as all their stuff back then was exclusively mono.  You pick up certain nuances and instrumentals and unbloated clarity that stereo has a way of literally channeling out.  I should warn you however, finding original mono recordings by anyone is going to be as rare as it will be expensive. Hold out for a master reissue (not remastered) if mono matters.  It should, especially music from rock music's greatest era.

Next post, all kinds of cool stuff.  It'll be the 50th!  New look, awesome pick, and maybe some other randomness it purely depends on what's on my plate.  Hang tight.

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