L.A.'s most incendiary contribution to our national art form, rock and roll, may well have been the Doors. Recording a handful of albums in their brief existence from 1967 - 1971, the Doors and especially their enigmatic frontman, Jim Morrison, continue to capture the imagination of today's record buying public.
"The Doors recorded six studio albums and haven't released a new record since 1971," said Jim Henke, chief curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "Yet they sell more than two million albums worldwide each year - and the vast majority of those albums are purchased not by their original fans from the Sixties, but by teenagers and twenty-somethings who are just now discovering the band. Their legacy is embraced, studied, emulated and cherished around the world."
From Oliver Stone's hit movie "The Doors" to Perry Farrell's recent "collaboration" with a never before heard Morrison track, the Doors remain a cultural touchstone of enduring significance. Break on Through - The Lasting Legacy of the Doors will open to the public at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on Friday, May 25, 2007. The exhibit will examine the career and impact of the Doors through a display of one-of-a-kind artifacts, original manuscripts, rare concert posters, photographs and video. The Museum has collected materials from John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and other private collectors, in addition to its already extensive collection of artifacts related to the life of Jim Morrison. This is the first time the surviving members of the Doors, along with the Jim Morrison estate, have given their full blessing and cooperation to an exhibit of this kind.
Keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger, two of the three surviving members of the Doors, will unveil the latest exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "The Doors represent a musical concept, a breaking of conventions, both in terms of music and in terms of social conventions. Even at the time, the Doors – Jim, Robby, John and I – wanted to create something profoundly unique and artistic," said Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for the Doors. "The impact of the Doors has been recognized in countless ways, but to have the creative entity of the group be examined in a museum is, oddly enough, appropriate. It's wonderful to share never before seen artifacts with a new generation of fans. It helps to keep the influence of the Doors alive all these years later."
"Bob Dylan said the museum is where 'infinity goes up on trial.' That's why I'd been reluctant to participate in this; it's a little strange having an institution 'go through your drawers,’" said John Densmore, drummer for the Doors. "But Eric Clapton accepted his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after Robbie Robertson exclaimed, 'Sometimes magic happens here.' The Doors received our induction the same night as Cream did, and Robbie's comment has stayed with me. I hope you receive some magic after going through our personal artifacts – a magic similar to that which came into a garage in Venice, California, in 1965, and created something bigger than its parts. It was a gift that came through us; we don't own it. I hope some of it is shared by this exhibit."
Exhibit opening events:
Thursday, May 24 - Break on Through: The Lasting Legacy of the Doors will open on Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m. with a private Member reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum with special guests Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of the Doors. Members can RSVP by calling 216.515.8427.
Friday, May 25 - Break on Through: The Lasting Legacy of the Doors opens to the public at 10 a.m. Highlights of the collection are:
· Jim Morrison's handwritten manuscript for "Not to Touch the Earth"
· Robby Krieger's Les Paul guitar
· Ray Manzerak's Vox Continental keyboard
· Amplifiers used by the Doors for their legendary 1968 Hollywood Bowl performance
· Original copies of Jim Morrison limited-edition self-published poetry books
Along with the exhibit opening, a new CD/DVD box set called Perception and the first authorized autobiography by the band The Doors by The Doors was released to commemorate the 40th Anniversary.
Yearlong celebration opening party:
Break on Through: The Lasting Legacy of the Doors is part of a yearlong celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Doors. The party started in November 2006 in Hollywood, California where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum honored the Whisky A Go-Go as part of their Landmark Series to commemorate its contribution to rock and roll history. Surviving members of the Doors - Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore - were all present for the ceremony. This is the first such dedication of a historic locale by the Rock Hall outside of the Museum's home city of Cleveland.
The Rock Hall also unveiled a teaser version of the Doors exhibit at the Whisky A Go-Go, the nightclub where the Doors first gained notoriety. The evening featured a memorial reading of Jim Morrison's poetry, by Perry Farrell and others, and the presentation of a recently released retrospective coffee table book and a massive boxed set of their music.
About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs. The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $20 for adults, $14 for seniors (60+), $11 for children (9-12) and children under eight and Museum members are free.