The Doors returned in July of 1968 with their third studio release Waiting For The Sun. It would become their only number one album in The United States and produce their second number one single.
Their first two albums had been comprised of material primarily written before they signed their recording contract with the Elektra Records label. That material had now run out and, except for a couple of tracks, the band had composed new songs for this album.
I consider Waiting For The Sun just about the equal of their debut. It may not have the overall consistency, but the high points are more or less equal.
The first and last tracks have always been highlights for me. “Hello, I Love You” was one of their earliest compositions and how it avoided being issued on either of their first two albums is beyond me. From the opening riff to Jim Morrison’s vocal it is a superior work. It was catchy enough for massive radio airplay and, when released as a single, shot to the number one position in The United States. “Five To One” ranks among my top five Doors songs. This dark rocker anthem demands your attention. The lyrics, “no one here gets out of alive,” have become associated with Jim Morrison and can be considered prophetic after the fact. This odd tempo rocker is a song The Doors got just about perfect.
You could always count on The Doors to try some ambitious experiment. Originally Jim Morrison’s poem, “Celebration Of The Lizard,” was supposed to have been included on this album. Only one section, the musical, “Not To Touch The Earth,” made the final cut. While it was out of context, it presents the mind of Jim Morrison at its enigmatic best as his vocal floats over Manzarek’s psychedelic keyboards. “The Unknown Soldier” traveled in a different direction. It was a biting anti-war song released at the height of the Vietnam War era. It was an odd choice for a single release and proved too intense as it only reached number 39 on The American charts.
“Spanish Caravan” included some flamenco flavored guitar by Robbie Krieger, which gave it a unique flavor. “My Wild Love” featured only Morrison’s lead vocal, back-up vocals by the other band members, and some hand clapping in support. “Love Street” was an actual place in Laurel Canyon where Morrison lived with a girlfriend and contained an odd beauty.
It all added up to another memorable album by The Doors. I remember almost wearing out my original vinyl copy when it was released. It remains a very good, if somewhat disjointed, listen today.