The Doors first number 1 hit album offers a diversity of sound established on their self-titled debut and its follow-up Strange Days (both 1967). Difficult third album Waiting for the Sun displays a refreshing musical growth, applying experimental arrangements, varied instrumentation and a blend of poetic blues, jazz and even world music elements – a positive alternative to the psychedelic and country rock trends of the day.
From Robby Krieger’s beautiful flamenco guitar work on the electrifying Spanish Caravan, to the twisted campfire sing-along My Wild Love – and best of all the throbbing album-centrepiece Not to Touch the Earth (the full version Jim Morrison’s Celebration of the Lizard can be heard in all its gruesome unedited glory on 1970’s Absolutely Live) – the songs on the transitional Waiting for Sun can be compartmentalised into three definitive categories: Classic Doors (10%), Pretty Lilting Ballads (30%), and Fantastic Experimental Curios (60%). Like follow-up album The Soft Parade (1969), much of Waiting for Sun’s songwriting was left to Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek (due to Morrison’s increasing absence from the studio) and other songs were resurrected from the group’s formative days – the evocative Summer’s Almost Gone to the evil-vibe of the Kinks-esque hit Hello I Love You. Elsewhere the cinematic anti-war anthem Unknown Soldier bears a sentiment still relevant today, and Morrison’s menacing call to arms on the improvised Five to One closes the album on a savage note. The title track was strangely left off this album and would appear two albums later on Morrison Hotel (1970).
Time has been kind to this record. The wistful tones of Summer’s Almost Gone, Wintertime Love and beautiful piano ballad Yes, the River Knows are some of the Doors’ finest recordings, with Morrison’s vocals fuller, weightier. Best of all the band sound creative and fearless, a coherency certainly not developed on the failed brass-band experiments of The Soft Parade, before ultimately becoming a very good blues band at the turn of the decade.1. Hello I Love You ∗∗∗ 2. Love Street ∗∗∗ 3. Not to Touch the Earth ∗∗∗ 4. Summer’s Almost Gone ∗∗∗∗ 5. Wintertime Love ∗∗∗∗ 6. The Unknown Soldier ∗∗∗∗∗ 7. Spanish Caravan ∗∗∗∗ 8. My Wild Love ∗∗∗∗ 9. We Could Be So Good Together ∗∗ 10. Yes, the River Knows ∗∗∗∗ 11. Five to One ∗∗∗∗∗