The Doors were one of those bands who don’t just have fans. They have followers, worshippers. Many see the late Jim Morrison as a poet, mystic, icon. The musicians were also highly regarded as masters of their instruments. Keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger all helped ensure the band’s sound was more (way more) than the sum of its parts. The sound of the band is also very timeless, the sonic qualities of their studio recordings still make the songs sound fresh and vital, not dated to the late 1960s. All in all, these guys were a killer band, and a great live act.
So influential were The Doors on many younger acts over the decades (and on we humble writers at TheRevue, too), we wanted to share 5 of our favourite cover versions of The Doors’ songs.
Hello, I Love You (Simple Minds)
This track from Simple Minds’ 2001 (critically reviled) LP Neon Lights is a really blazing reinterpretation of the original. With a lot of fuzzy bass and a modern-rock (but too modern-rockfish) distorted vocals, it stays very true to the original version, but makes it a little more punishing.
Soul Kitchen (Patti Smith)
From her 2007 album, Twelve, this is another great track that comes from a “covers album.” Having one great rock poet cover another great rock poet means that the song is dealt with respectfully, artfully, and passionately. Patti Smith makes everything sound like her own material, and this is no different. Enjoy this one.
Love Me Two Times (Joan Jett)
A stay-true-to-the-original take by someone known for shredding and being a pretty wild performer, Joan Jett’s version shows a lot of restraint. It’s solid, if not wholly remarkable.
Take it as it Comes (Ramones)
Ramones. Playing a song by The Doors. This is what you’d expect, and that’s the beauty of it.
Crystal Ship (Nicole Atkins)
In 2008, Nicole Atkins released an EP with her own spin on some of her favorite songs. Her cover of “Crystal Ship” may be the best track on that EP. Her impressively powerful voice suits the style of Morrison quite well, and her band put their own unique touch on the song as well.
Craigslist (Weird Al Yanokovic)
This not a cover song, but rather a tribute song by Weird Al. Of all the bands who’d paid homage to The Doors over the years, this is about as good as it gets. Yes, it’s funny as hell. But he actually connected with Ray Manzarek to handle the keyboards, which adds a realism to the track. His vocals are also about as pure (he seems to go off the rails a few times) as any done by Ian Astbury and countless others. It’s fun, pays tribute to The Doors but also has a good dose of silliness, which is something The Doors fans can use.
Bonus points to Weird Al, as he lost 20+ pounds before filming the video so he could better do the look of Jim Morrison.
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