Full Circle

The Doors

Elektra Records, 1972




Just when most bands decide to call it quits after a member has died, the remaining members had to face that horrible question: "Does the band go on, or die too?"

When Doors singer Jim Morrison died in 1971, The Doors remained as a trio for not one, but two albums. Full Circle, released in 1972, was the trio's second release without the famous lead singer.

As expected, both albums, Other Voices and Full Circle are completely different in style than that with Morrison. Of the two, Full Circle would have to be much different than the other.

"Get Up And Dance" starts out the album, and it's a bouncy number, likewise "4 Billion Souls". It turns out that the Doors trio is concentrating on being a rock and roll boogie band, an unlikely style when Jim Morrison was around.

"Verdillac", on the other hand, features great keyboards by Ray Manzarek, and it just might of passed as a song that Morrison could of done, in the style of the Morrison Hotel and/or L.A. Woman albums. It comparison, this song is somewhat almost like L.A. Woman's "Texas Radio and the Big Beat". Another musical instrument heard is this song is the saxophone. I don't think this instrument was used when Morrison was around. Towards the ending of this song has spoken material, another feature Jim Morrison used.

Back to the boogie: "Hardwood Floor" and a remake of "Good Rockin' Tonight" returns to the basic rock and roll boogie style.

Starting off the second side is "The Mosquito", which I guess could pass as a novelty song (because of the way the vocals sound), rather than an actual rock song. The vocals (which weren't many) and music are unique: the vocals are nasal somewhat, and the remaining music breaks/solos add different touches to the song. (Some of these breaks and solos feature again, great keyboards by Ray Manzarek and guitar by Robbie Kreiger.) All in all, it's another song unheard of in the original style of The Doors. "The Piano Bird" is considered jazz than rock. It features horns, and the vocals are very laid back. The electronic keyboards are in the typical jazz style. Quite frankly, this song is quite interesting.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"It Slipped My Mind" is another rock/boogie number, and the vocals here can easily slip past your mind and become forgetful as the title states. And lastly, another rock/boogie song, "The Peking King and The New York Queen" is another song that can be easily forgotten.

This album is a different approach to when Jim Morrison was lead vocalist. Even though the remaining Doors made their best efforts after Morrison's death, it probably would of been best just to close the books on the Chapter of the future of The Doors. But instead, the trio focused on rock/boogie compositions for what would be their last album with The Doors name.

But still, it's very interesting in hearing how a band records without their dominating band member(s). After hearing this, I'm kind of glad that bands like Led Zeppelin and The Grateful Dead decided to call it quits after John Bonham and Jerry Garcia passed away. Sure, both these bands could have found replacements, but it just wouldn't be the same. But in The Doors case, instead of finding a new replacement singer (like Van Halen has done two times now), they went on without Morrison, and the results were, well, not as high as you would expect. If the remaining members of The Doors really wanted to find a replacement singer, they probably should of considered Iggy Pop. He was influenced by The Doors, and his musical abilities are easily matched to Jim Morrison.

But, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore had the idea that they could survive and record again as a band called The Doors. And they probably knew well that it wouldn't be the same, but there was only one way to find out: They recorded two albums on their own with less-than-average reviews. (Hey, didn't The Who did something like this too? Recording two albums with a new drummer and receiving not-so-great reviews?)

Again, it was probably best for both The Doors and The Who to quit after their loss, but the idea is always there: "What would happen if we continued on?" Well, the results are, quite frankly, that if a member does die, it's best to have the rest of the band die too.

But then there's the case of The Rolling Stones and Van Halen: It was easier for The Rolling Stones to replace Brian Jones. Jones may not have been a huge influence as a Mick Jagger and/or Keith Richards, but still, their future albums after Jones' death has received both great and negative reviews.

And Van Halen: Well, I've always liked the original lead singer David Lee Roth, but when the group replaced Sammy Hagar with Gary Cherone, it seems that they still wanted a Sammy sound-alike. At least when Sammy first came into the picture, Van Halen changed their style completely as they did with Roth. They should of done that with Cherone.

As mentioned before, if you have doubts about continuing on after a member has died or quit, go with your true instincts. When my band broke up in 1986, it was because our drummer had quit to join another band. We were smart by ending our band completely. Sure, it would of been easy to get a new drummer, but like everything else, it just wouldn't be the same.

I'd be very anxious if they were to re-issue both post-Morrison albums on CD. Some (if not, all) of the solo albums by Krieger and Manzarek have been re-issued on CD, and it would be a matter of time if The Doors' Other Voices and Full Circle ever make it to the CD laser beam.

If you wish to listen to this album on the Internet, visit this Doors website. RealAudio is required.

Rating: C

User Rating: D-


Don't buy this record to listen, only as an historical record of The Doors, to see where they went after Morrison. It is very bad.

© 1998 Eric E5S16 and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Elektra Records, and is used for informational purposes only.