In early June of 1968 The Doors released the single “Hello, I Love” almost exactly a year after they released “Light My Fire” as a single. The effect was the same, as “Hello, I Love You” shot up the charts to number one by August.
“Hello, I Love You” has its roots in the earliest of Doors histories. Ray Manzarek reports that Jim Morrison wrote the song after seeing a girl on the Venice Beach boardwalk and he tried to pick her up by saying “hello, I love you” as she passed. The song was recorded at Pacific Sound studios when the nascent Doors recorded a demo in early September of 1965, and then the song seems to have been forgotten.
“Hello, I Love You” wasn’t used on either of The Doors’ first two albums and wasn’t planned on being part of the third album. Originally titled “Celebration of the Lizard,” the record was to include Morrison’s extended poem of the same name that would fill the whole second side of the album. The Doors decided “Celebration of the Lizard” didn’t come together as a song and it was dropped.
Suddenly needing material to fill out the album, The Doors dipped back into earlier material such as “Wintertime Love” and “Summer’s Almost Gone,” yet “Hello, I Love You” was still forgotten. Then 10 year-old Adam Holzman, Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman’s son, remembered it from the demo and told his father it would be a hit song (Adam Holzman has since gone on to a career as a successful musician).
The single of “Hello, I Love You” with a ‘B’ side of “Love Street” was released on or about June 4, 1968 and started climbing Billboard’s Hot 100 charts; by August 3, 1968 it hit number one in the country. During The Doors’ 1968 European tour “Hello, I Love You” played a part in The Doors’ story. On September 13, 1968 The Doors filmed “Hello, I Love You” as they performed it in Romer Square in Frankfort, Germany. A couple of days later The Doors played in Amsterdam, but Jim Morrison passed out and Ray Manzarek handled the vocals reportedly sounding a lot like Jim Morrison. “Hello, I Love You” was one of the songs in The Doors’ repertoire that evening.
Despite its pop sound there has been controversy surrounding “Hello, I Love You.” There has been speculation the song borrows a riff from The Kinks “All Day and All of the Night.”
Despite the controversy and critical assessments that “Hello, I Love You” doesn’t live up to the heavier or headier Doors songs, the song has had a remarkable durability over the years, with many bands covering the song. The list includes contemporaries of The Doors such as Kim Fowley with an instrumental version; covers by ’80s bands such as Missing Persons, The Cure, and Eurythmics; punk-oriented singers like Siouxsie Sioux; and more contemporary covers by EDM artist DJ Jedy or modern psychedelia from The Dark Horses. On The Doors’ November 2000 release of “Stoned Immaculate” Oleander did a version that found the dread The Doors had missed.
Originally published June 1, 2015.