The Beatles-Doors Connection

Beatles-Doors: John Lennon and Jim Morrison

Paul McCartney’s winning of five Grammys this past Sunday (January 26, 2014) doesn’t leave a Doors Examiner with very many articles to write… until you take a look at the circumstantial evidence, and then you can find a Beatles-Doors connection.

Although The Beatles and The Doors were contemporaries, there doesn’t seem to have been much interaction between them. Biographies of both bands don’t mention any meetings, and there are no pictures of any members of either band hanging out together. But there was some documented contact between the bands, and there are additional rumors suggesting the groups did meet.

The first connection between The Beatles and The Doors came just as The Doors were coming together as a band in September 1965. Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman was putting together an album of Beatles music done by classical artists called “The Baroque Beatles Book.” Holzman, fearing The Beatles would quash the album, flew over to London and met with both John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who gave their blessing to the project.

After The Doors’ first European tour, Jim Morrison and Pam Courson took an apartment and hung out in London for a few weeks. It has been reported that during this period Jim Morrison met John Lennon at the Abbey Road studios while Lennon was recording “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” This is certainly possible, as Morrison could well have known of Holzman’s prior meeting with The Beatles and could have asked him for an introduction. There are also rumors that Morrison can be heard in the chorus of the song.

After Morrison’s return to Los Angeles, it is rumored that George Harrison reciprocated Jim Morrison’s visit to Abbey Road. By November 1968, The Doors were immersed in the recording of “The Soft Parade.” Harrison attended a session and said it reminded him of The Beatles’ recording of “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

In September of 1969 The Doors were the headlining act for the Toronto Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival festival, but tickets weren’t selling very briskly and the promoters were considering cancelling the concert. Kim Fowley, who was to emcee the event, was able to contact John Lennon and secure him for the show. While there are no reported meetings of Lennon or any of The Doors at the show, Ray Manzarek did report that backstage Lennon’s entourage ate all the food that was available.

Originally published January 28, 2014.

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I know I once read long ago that when the Doors first album came out and maybe Light my Fire was already released that the Beatles bought like 10 copies of the album. I cannot imagine the Beatles not being intrigued by the Doors songs.