Open Doors

The band that won't go away celebrates 40 years at the Rock Hall.

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Thirty-six years after his bloated corpse was placed in a Paris grave, Jim Morrison refuses to die. A decade after his 1971 death, he was branded a sex symbol by Rolling Stone, a bio topped the best-seller lists, and a Doors greatest-hits album sold a gazillion copies. In 1991, director Oliver Stone’s biopic The Doors and its soundtrack resurrected the L.A. rockers, who made six albums during their short five-year career.

Now, hot on the heels of last fall’s boxed set, a 40th anniversary celebration, Break On Through -- The Lasting Legacy of the Doors, opens today at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “The Doors weren’t around long enough to destroy their [reputation],” curator Howard Kramer says. “They’re frozen in time.” The exhibit features more than 80 artifacts, ranging from posters to photos to manuscripts. “The Doors themselves weren’t great collectors,” says Kramer. “But what they had was incredible.” All three surviving members -- drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Krieger, and keyboardist Ray Manzarek -- contributed items to the show, even though Densmore hasn’t spoken to his former bandmates in five years. They had a falling-out regarding an ill-fated Doors of the 21st Century project involving Cult singer Ian Astbury. “There’s a really weird intensity with this band,” says Kramer. Even after four decades of media saturation, Kramer says there are still plenty of rare Doors goodies found in Break on Through. In addition to Krieger and Manzarek’s instruments, the exhibit features handwritten lyrics and original copies of Morrison’s self-published poetry books. “There’s been a lot written about the band, but there haven’t been many artifacts,” says Kramer. “The Doors existed for a very brief time, but in that period they became the biggest band in America.”
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Starts: May 25. Continues through Oct. 7, 2007

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