Song: “Light My Fire” by the Doors
Reached #1: July 29, 1967 (their first, 3 weeks)
A rocker who dies young – typically at age 27 – has the “advantage” of remaining young forever. We never see the decline phase of their career – the bad remakes, the nostalgia tours, the Vegas residency. On the other hand, we do get cheated out of the music they would have made in the rest of their careers.
The 27 Club has a fairly extensive membership – the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse – certainly more than random chance might indicate would die at that age. There might be something to the idea that the mid-twenties are a time of massive change in people’s lives, and they react to it in different ways. Cobain put a gun to his head. Most of the rest of that list abused something – drugs or alcohol – and one way or another, it killed them. And all of them are, indeed, forever young.
It’s a shame, really, that we’ll never know what Jim Morrison would have come up with next. The Doors couldn’t have stayed in the psychedelic rock vein forever, and it would’ve been fascinating to see how Morrison reinvented himself.
The other three members of the classic Doors lineup are still with us. Guitarist Robby Krieger and co-founder/bassist Ray Manzarek continue to tour, doing classic Doors music as Manzarek-Krieger. They have tried for years to get drummer John Densmore to come back, but he’s not interested as it’s not the Doors without Morrison – and he actually sued Manzarek and Krieger when they tried to tour as the Doors of the 21st Century in the early Aughts (with the Police’s Stewart Copeland). They took the name Riders on the Storm before settling on using their last names.
Tomorrow, a performer moving in on 50 years in rock.
Other songs that reached #1 on July 29:
1972 – “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan (his first, 6 weeks)
2000 – “It’s Gotta Be Me” by ‘NSYNC (their first, 2 weeks)