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The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years

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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    Critical Essays for the Critical Fan

    With a cover of Joel Brodsky's Elektra publicity photo of The Doors dressed in unexpectedly warm colors of the sun, Greil Marcus' "The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years" is an unexpected look at selected songs of The Doors and pop culture. Marcus' book is a fans' book, he says that it started at the Avalon Ballroom with his wife and seeing The Doors and on their way out, took handbills of the show and after a lifetime they still have them. Marcus, best known for music criticism and pop culture, is a Doors fan, but an objective one, he is well versed in all aspects of music and the artists but also the language of music and focuses his lens on The Doors. Marcus' "The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years" is about twenty critical essays on Doors songs, his prose weaves in and out of the songs to where his thoughts take him, either in relation to the lyrics themselves or some aspect of pop culture. The chapter on "Twentieth Century Fox" is a take off point for an extended essay on 50's-60's pop culture and how The Doors fit in. In the essay on "L.A. Woman" he makes the case that it could be used as a soundtrack for Thomas Pynchon's recent novel, "Inherent Vice," and the song is a pop art map of the city. Marcus isn't an easy ride through The Doors, you'll find yourself agreeing with some of his conclusions, such as on "Take it as it Comes" "seemed to start in the middle of some greater song." Or even disagreeing with his conclusions, such as Morrison's tribute to Otis Redding, "poor Otis dead and gone/left me here to sing his song", ".was beyond arrogant, it was beyond obnoxious, it was even beyond racism." which always seemed a heartfelt tribute to Redding to me. As you read you'll find yourself wanting to listen to the songs to see for yourself whether Marcus' critiques are apt or not. Jim writes The Doors Examiner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2012

    The worst book about the Doors I have read. The author spends mo

    The worst book about the Doors I have read. The author spends more time talking about himself, not in relation to the Doors, than anything else. There are much better books out there. No One Here Gets Out Alive is a good place to start.

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