When I innocently mentioned the other night that I thought a case could be made that Aerosmith is the best American bank, ever, Richard gave me an incredulous look and said: “What about The Doors?” Richard, Russell and I then launched into an extended discussion of potential candidates, and the more I think about it the more candidates I come up with.
I have to say, though, that The Doors are a pretty strong choice for an off-the-cuff response to my observation. The Doors are ones of those bands that changed the sound of popular music. What did listeners think when their favorite top-40 radio station first played Light My Fire? Their songs featured excellent keyboard music, strong guitar work, weird lyrics, and a great deep singing voice. The Doors is a terrific album, as are Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman — these were staples of the apartment stereo system when I was in college. although I never cared much for The End, there were particular times when you just felt an urge to listen to a song like The Cars Hiss By My Window — “with a sonic boom . . . boom” — or the dreamy mood created by Riders on the Storm. Their music was so different that the name The Doors has always seemed particularly apt.
As you might expect, the Ipod features a number of Doors tunes: Break on Through (To the Other Side), Light My Fire, L.A. Woman, The Cars Hiss By My Window, People are Strange, Hello I Love You, Roadhouse Blues (Live), Riders on the Storm, and Touch Me. Although it has been almost 38 years — 38 years! — since Jim Morrison died the traditional rock star’s death, this music still stands the test of time.
Edited to add: Time to Vote for your choice for Best American Band!