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The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five…

The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years

by Greil Marcus

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My (once) favorite band has many of its songs laid out on the dissection table. The result is meant to honor the band but does so in a very obtuse way. Obviously everyone understands music in their own way. I certainly do not understand The Doors in Mr. Marcus's way. There is hardly a clear line of prose in this book. I would almost get a glimmer of meaning and then, whoosh! off on another indecipherable tangent. ( )
  sixslug | Jan 18, 2015 |
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. ( )
  JimCherry | Oct 27, 2011 |
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Doors fans will not find new material here. Better choices remain popular titles like Chuck Crisafulli's The Doors: When the Music's Over, Ray Manzarek's Light My Fire, and Stephen Davis's Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend. Still, completists will be looking for Marcus's latest.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Rosalind Dayen (Oct 1, 2011)
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Presents a critical look at the songs and short performing career of The Doors, examining their relationship with the essence of their generation and their lasting cultural impact.

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