When it comes to art, I got a head-start. Let me rephrase that, my dad gave me a head-start when it comes to art--music, movies, and books in particular. These are things that happened in my life:
-I read my dad's copy of Christine by Stephen King when I was 8.
-When I was 10 or 11, I was getting ready to rent My Pet Monster or something like that. "You should try this instead," dad said, handing me Phantasm.
-Also at 11, dad gave me a double-cassette (That's right, double-cassette! That's how we rolled once upon a when) greatest hits set of The Doors.
When it comes to that last one, well, honestly I was a bit perplexed. I didn't know who The Doors were. It wasn't one of the things I had asked for. I remember looking at the picture on the front and expecting something like The Monkees at worst and maybe Aerosmith or The Rolling Stones at best. I was into Van Halen and The Beastie Boys, and it didn't seem like a fit.
And then there came The Doors. I'm not sure that I listened to anything else that summer. I was totally lost in the music, totally riveted by what I heard, and there followed a lifelong love of that seminal band's unique and daring approach. At some point thereafter, dad and I watched Apocalypse Now, and it was pretty damn cool to see a legendary band's music married to such a legendary picture to magnificent effect.
Also, I feel the need to talk about the talent involved. This was one hell of a group. Jim and his theatrics seem to get the lion's share of the credit. His ability and his creativity were more integral to the group's success. Additionally, the entire band was very talented. If one wants to make a case for either Ray or Robby being more essential to The Doors than Jim, I'm not going to object. Ray is actually my favorite contributor, but those three guys were all totally amazing. It's not just that they were gifted either, they were passionate about sharing those gifts. Densmore was also a quality percussionist and songwriter, and I'm certainly not trying to insult his contributions even if I have him a rung below his peers.
So, yeah, . . . I had a tough time with this one. Here's what I have:
Top 5 Songs by The Doors
#5 - Five to One
This one is so intense and so powerful that it almost feels like metal. Morrison is so on, and the whole thing smokes from start to finish.
#4 - Hello, I Love You
Are there people who don't song along when they hear this one?
#3 - Riders on the Storm
Creepy, masterful, and so incredibly vivid. Some songs really paint a picture--this one paints a lot of them. This is a great example of the special kind of magic that The Doors possessed. I just don't see how anyone else could have put together something like this.
#2 - Roadhouse Blues
Rowdy and fun, this is one of my personal favorites. This one puts a smile on my face and showcases the blues sensibilities that gave the music such an edge at times. Of all my choices, I feel that this one is the one I'm probably placing too high on my list, but I try to be honest with my decisions. This is where I feel this track belongs.
#1 - The End
I'm tempted to wonder how much of an influence the movie had on my love for this one, but I have to remind myself that even before dad and I watched Apocalypse Now this was my favorite track. Why wouldn't it be? It's positively haunting, it's equally mesmerizing, and it has such an impact on the listener. I could be wrong, but I feel like this is the most obvious choice on the list, and I'm not going to argue the point.
. . .
Seriously, what do you think?
Is The End an easy choice in the top slot?
Did I go too far with my love for Roadhouse Blues?
How did so many great songs wind up on the shelf--what about Light My Fire or L.A. Woman? There are others, many others.
Did I disrespect John Densmore?
I would love to hear your take on The Doors and my Top 5. Social commentary and questions regarding my father and his parenting choices are equally helpful; the healing process is going smoothly, but talking things out never hurts.