WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
You’re in a popular rock band with a lot of gas still left in the tank, but suddenly, your singer ends up dead by some sort of misadventure. What’s the next move?
If you’re AC/DC, you luck out with lightning striking twice with a second vocalist, but if you’re The Doors, forging ahead with what’s left is the only viable option.
When word broke that singer Jim Morrison died in July of 1971, while in Paris, under suspicious circumstances, the surviving members of The Doors — drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Krieger, and keyboardist Ray Manzarek — continued to make music together as a trio after a halfhearted search for a new frontman proved fruitless.
The first release, “Other Voices,” came out in October of 1971 with a follow-up, “Full Circle,” released the following summer. For decades, the albums have been officially unavailable, finally getting a digital release in 2011. That’s all changed, as Rhino Records announced plans to put the records out in various physical formats Sept. 4.
For the most part, “Other Voices” and “Full Circle” were ignored by fans, mainly because without Morrison at the helm, the main character of intrigue was no longer in the picture. But musically, the talent was still there, and it continued to grow.
After The Doors finished recording “L.A. Woman” in 1971 and Morrison moved to Paris for what was to be his final destination, the three other members stayed behind in Los Angeles, where they worked on music for what would be The Doors’ seventh studio album. They ended up on that album, sans Mr. Mojo Risin.
When the legendary singer passed away, the trio agreed to continue on, using those songs as the basis for “Other Voices,’” with Krieger and Manzarek sharing vocal duties. The album featured the singles “Tightrope Ride” and “Ships w/ Sails,” both receiving radio airplay out of mild curiosity.
Following a successful U.S. tour — again likely kept afloat by curiosity — the three returned to the studio to begin recording “Full Circle.” The sound incorporated more jazzy elements into the arrangements on several songs like “Verdilac” and “The Piano Bird.”
The tour to support the record wasn’t nearly as successful, despite mixing previous hits like “Love Me Two Times” and “Light My Fire” into the set. The Doors went their separate ways, but the surviving trio reunited on several occasions through the years for special projects, including the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and a stint in the early 2000s with Ian Astbury of The Cult on lead vocals.
Numerous collections, box sets and dozens of live recordings were officially made available by the band, but even they began to forget their time as a trio on releases. Rhino’s announcement stated plans to release “Other Voices” and “Full Circle” on both vinyl and CD.
The vinyl edition of each album will be pressed on virgin 180-gram vinyl and will come packed in historically accurate sleeves. That includes the wild, foldout zoetrope that came with “Full Circle.” Once assembled, this basic animation device depicts the human life cycle of a man from infancy to elderly.
The vinyl editions of “Other Voices” and “Full Circle” will be available for list prices of $24.98 and $26.98 respectively.
The albums will also be paired together for the first time in a two-CD set featuring remastered audio by original album producer Bruce Botnick along with the rare bonus track, “Treetrunk.” That song was first released as the B-side to the 1972 single “Get Up And Dance” from “Full Circle.” The new double-disc set featuring “Other Voices” and “Full Circle” will also be available Sept. 4 for a list price of $19.98.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, send an email to email@example.com. Also check out his blog at our sister publication www.delcotimes.com