Links to Peel
The Doors' eponymous first album was released in the US by Elektra Records in January 1967, together with a single taken from it, "Break On Through (To The Other Side)". The single made little impact nationally but was on the playlist of KMEN in San Bernardino during Peel's final weeks there, and remained in the station's charts after his departure in February. On Radio London, he played tracks from the first LP, which was released by Elektra in the UK at about the same time he renamed his late-night programme the Perfumed Garden. Although the Doors initially lacked the cult status of their Elektra labelmates Love, they achieved much greater commercial success, with their single "Light My Fire" (a Peel "climber" and Fab 40 hit on Radio London, but not in the official UK charts) topping the US Hot 100 and becoming a million-seller in summer 1967, while lead singer Jim Morrison, the group's dominant onstage figure, became a "star".
Peel continued to play their records on Radio One in 1967-68; with their second LP, Strange Days, and a single, "People Are Strange", their fame grew. Unlike Love they were happy to tour extensively and made many TV appearances, eventually visiting Europe in September 1968, when they appeared at London's Roundhouse for two nights on a double bill with Jefferson Airplane. On Top Gear, Peel defended them against attacks from Jonathan King, who described them in his column in Disc as "predictable, derivative and boringly freaky" and "artistically pretentious rubbish". In contrast to King, Peel was enthusiastic about the band's third LP, Waiting For The Sun and attended (or possibly compered) their Roundhouse concert. Afterwards, when Melody Maker played him a track from the album in the paper's New Blind Date feature, he said he was disappointed with their performance ("I prefer their records. They look very contrived").
He later remarked that he had met Jim Morrison, who impressed him by responding to an Elektra employee who told the singer that he had found a "really groovy driver" with the comment "I don't want a groovy driver, I just want someone who can drive". However in an interview on Partners In Dispute in 1992, Peel also mentioned that he found Morrison as a "sexist twerp" and "a man who is self obsessed and convinced with his own divinity". He also mentioned that he found Morrison's attitude to other people as rather appalling. Despite the mixed critical reception to their later work, Peel still played the Doors' records on Top Gear until Morrison's death in 1971, and also featured the remaining members' attempts to continue with the group as a trio.
Yet while Morrison's spectacular rise and fall, culminating in a death which some still find mysterious, led to an enduring fan following sometimes bordering on worship, Peel remained sceptical of the "genius" which some found in the singer, a stance which - as with his criticism of Bob Dylan - brought him hate mail.
A film called The Doors: Mr. Mojo Risin' - The Story Of L.A. Woman, about the making of the band's final album with Jim Morrison, was released on DVD in 2011 and shown on BBC4 TV. The film's credits show Peel's brother Alan Ravenscroft as supervising producer for Eagle Rock Productions, who also issued a DVD on the making of the band's first LP in 2008.
Festive Fifty Entries
- None (see Sessions That Never Happened).
Other Shows Played
- 01 July 1967: Light My Fire (single) Elektra (Peel's "Climber of the Week", i.e. new release, tipped to appear in the Radio London chart. He talks about playing the extended, album version on the Perfumed Garden)
- 16 July 1967: The Crystal Ship (LP - The Doors) Elektra
- 01 October 1967: People Are Strange (single) Elektra
- 29 October 1967: People Are Strange (LP - Strange Days) Elektra
- 28 April 1968: The Unknown Soldier (7" - The Unknown Soldier / We Could Be So Good Together) Elektra
- 19 May 1968: The Unknown Soldier (7" - The Unknown Soldier / We Could Be So Good Together) Elektra
- 11 August 1968: Hello I Love You (single) Elektra
- 04 September 1968: Spanish Caravan (LP - Waiting For The Sun) Elektra
- 27 October 1968: Yes, The River Knows (LP - Waiting For The Sun) Elektra
- 05 January 1969: unknown (sourced from David Cavanagh's Good Night And Good Riddance Book)
- 28 February 1970: You Make Me Real (LP – Morrison Hotel) Elektra
- 11 April 1970: Roadhouse Blues (LP - Morrison Hotel) Elektra
- 25 January 1972: Tightrope Ride (single)
- 08 August 1972: Hardwood Floor (LP - Full Circle) Elektra
- 22 August 1972: The Mosquito (LP - Full Circle) Elektra
- 01 September 1972: Four Billion Souls (LP - Full Circle) Elektra
- 24 December 1976: Light My Fire (LP – The Doors) Elektra FF#45
- 29 December 1976: Riders On The Storm (LP-L.A. Woman)' (Elektra) FF#22
- John Peel 70s Mixtape 1D: Who Do You Love (2xLP - Absolutely Live) Elektra
- 03 October 1977: Strange Days (LP - Strange Days) Electra (Listener's choice for Peel’s 10 years on R1)
- 26 December 1978: Riders On The Storm (LP - L.A. Woman) Elektra (from 1976 FF)
- 15 January 1979: Roadhouse Blues (2 x 7”) Elektra
- 03 May 1980 (BFBS): Strange Days
- 14 May 1980: Unknown Soldier (LP – Waiting For The Sun) Elektra
- 07 April 1981: Been Down So Long (album - L.A. Woman) Elektra
- 11 April 1981 (BFBS): The Changeling (album - L.A. Woman) Elektra
- 21 May 1981: Summer’s Almost Gone (LP – Waiting For The Sun) Elektra
- 25 May 1981: Wild Child (album - The Soft Parade) Elektra EKS-75005
- 18 June 1981 (BFBS): Five To One (album - Waiting For The Sun) Elektra
- Peel 1981 (unknown): Strange Days
- 18 August 1982: The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat) (album - L.A. Woman) Elektra
- 03 March 1986: Land Ho!
- 16 September 2004: The Unknown Soldier (7") Elektra
- 20 October 2004: Riders on the Storm (7" single) Old Gold (Siouxsie Sioux as guest DJ)
- Peeling Back The Years 2 (Transcript): Break On Through (To The Other Side) (single) Elektra (JP: “something like the Doors’ Break On Through … would be an indication of the sort of thing I was playing on the radio at the time that wouldn’t have been getting played on the other local radio stations [than KMEN].")
- Peeling Back The Years 5 (Transcript): (JP on Liverpool bands of the early 80s: "the influences were easier to see I think. You know, the Doors, predominantly a kind of Doors influence, I suppose Jim Morrison influence, was the strongest thing there. Nothing wrong with that at all, but with the Manchester bands, you felt that, well, you couldn’t say who the Fall had been listening to or who Joy Division had been listening to.")
- Radio Radio (Transcript): (JP: "I went off to San Bernadino and went to work KMEN, and I went straight onto the morning programme there, 6-9, and I was out most nights – I used to go to Los Angeles to see bands play and people like Love and the Doors and Captain Beefheart and then a whole range of strange second-division bands.")
- Partners In Dispute: Light My Fire
The list below was compiled only from the Cover Versions page of this site and includes later versions of songs earlier covered by the Doors. Please add more information if known.)
Artist | Track | First Known Play
- David Bowie: Alabama Song 11 February 1980
- Cure: Hello, I Love You 28 October 1990
- Dr Phibes & The House Of Wax Equations: LA Woman (session) 11 May 1991
- Echo & The Bunnymen: People Are Strange Late 1987 (Rockradio)
- Fairport Convention: Light My Fire (session) 22 December 1968
- Glass Menagerie: Love Me Two Times (session) 23 June 1968
- Immortal Lee County Killers: Been Down So Long (session) 18 November 2003
- Mann: Riders On The Storm 31 March 1991
- Shockabilly: People Are Strange 19 December 1983