In honor of the fabled studio outtake "Paris Blues," being released this November as the title cover track to a new compilation (on vinyl for Record Store Day's Black Friday event on November 25) we sit down to discuss other mythic tracks by the band - as covers...
The Doors were such a singular entity as performers, one could be forgiven for feeling that their songs were un-coverable – that Jim Morrison’s voice and the distinctive instrumental combination of keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robbie Krieger, and drummer John Densmore was so unique as to dissuade any would-be imitators.
In the end, that might have been true, though it didn’t stop people from putting their own spins on Doors material. That was the key to a successful Doors cover: bring something original to the proceedings. Jose Feliciano had a Top 3 hit with a soulful, mostly acoustic version of “Light My Fire.” The Buddy Rich Big Band worked their brassy, percussive mojo on “Hello, I Love You,” to fine effect. And if you’ve never heard the punk band X take on “The Crystal Ship,” you should find it and check it out – it’s worth the search.
These covers are all great in their own way, but if you want to talk awesome versions of Doors tracks, here are three you definitely want to hear:
Stevie Wonder, “Light My Fire”: Probably as a result of Feliciano’s hit 1967 version of “Light My Fire,” Motown’s brass encouraged Wonder to take a crack at the song in 1969, to see if he could make it a hit, as well. While never released as a single (one of the first steps in having a hit), Wonder’s version is a nearly perfect Motown production, and a splendid take of the song.
The Ramones, “Take It As It Comes”: The rollicking penultimate track on the Doors’ debut record becomes a crushing take in this 1992 Ramones version, with a wall of distorted guitars and Joey Ramone’s alternating croony voice in the verses and full-on punk growl in the choruses.
Echo & the Bunnymen, “Soul Kitchen”: The long-lived Liverpudlian post-punk band covered the Doors’ “People Are Strange” to great effect, on the 1987 soundtrack to the Kiefer Sutherland / Jason Patric vampire flick The Lost Boys. Around that same time, they recorded this Doors cut, which they had been playing live for years; it would wind up as a bonus track on the 2003 reissue of their self-titled 1987 album.