On this week in 1967, The Doors released their second studio album, Strange Days. With key singles such as, “People Are Strange” and “Love Me Two Times”, the album went on to become number three in the Billboard 200 albums chart. Strange Days proved to be a continuation of what the band had already started; a walk through the door of psychedelia and surreal poetry.
The opening of the album begins with Ray Manzarek’s haunting organ that sets a pulse for the first track, “Strange Days”. From there on out, the album takes you through momentary phases of blues rhythms with tracks like “Love Me Two Times”, a radio ready hit. It then switches to a period of distortion mid-album with “Horse Latitudes”, pure Jim Morrison poetry and odd, out of place sounds. With a diverse set of experimentally stylized tracks, the album projects the artistry and exploration of a group that stands alone in the rock world of the sixties.
At the peak of this album, lies “Moonlight Drive”, one of the first songs written by frontman, Jim Morrison. The song was originally a poem written by Morrison during his time living vagabond in Venice Beach, California. One evening, Morrison came across Ray Manzarek, former film school classmate and soon-to-be organist of the group. Through casual conversation, Morrison expressed his interest in music and starting a band. Morrison then recited the poem melodically to Manzarek. It was then that Manzarek supported and solidified the idea in which they would both go on to complete the band; adding Robby Krieger (guitar) and John Densmore (drums).
Strange Days concludes with the theatrically orchestrated piece, “When The Music’s Over”. The track alone stands at 11 minutes, fluctuating through time ridden by Krieger’s bottleneck guitar and Densmore’s drums that lead the way. All along, the organ’s bass creates suspense that follows Morrison’s poetic storytelling. Touching on themes of death, religion, hallucinogenic introspection, and the destruction of the earth, the song is metaphorically alluding to humankind and society in the 1960s. With their second studio album, The Doors set the stage for controversy, as well as the ultimate scene for counter-culture and societal epiphanies.