The Doors

Strange Days

Year: 1967
Label: Elektra Records
Location: Sniffen Court, Murray Hill, Manhattan | 
 | NY | USA

The album cover of Strange Days, photographed by Joel Brodsky, depicts a group of street performers in New York. The location of the photograph is at Sniffen Court, a residential alley. The availability of such performers pictured was low, so Brodsky’s assistant stood in as a juggler while a random cab driver was paid $5 to pose playing the trumpet. Twin dwarfs were hired, with one appearing on the front cover and one appearing on the back cover, which is the other half of the same photo on the front cover. However, a group shot of the band does appear on a poster in the background of both covers, bearing captions of the band and album name. Of all the performers on the cover, only the acrobats are true street performers. The rest of the cast is a potpourri of amateurs with day jobs. The juggler, for instance, is Brodsky’s assistant, Frank Kollegy, who reportedly kept screwing up the shoot because he, like so many photography assistants at that time, couldn’t juggle. The dwarves, one who appears on the cover and the other on the back (twins, you see!), were reluctant to shoot because they were actors, not models, and had to be hired as a pair. Brodsky referred to them as «the Santa’s elves.» The weightlifter was a bouncer at the Friars Club whom Brodsky had met through a friend. In 2005, Brodsky recalled that going to the shoot was a surreal experience, considering the eclectic cast of characters, especially when they all «piled into the limo» with the «dwarves sitting on the strongman’s lap smoking cigars.» Perhaps most interesting is the role of the trumpet player. Brodsky commissioned the work on the fly, paying a passing cab driver $5 to stand in the shot with a trumpet. He’s even wearing his own hat, so hooray for cost efficiency in the wardrobe department. And even Jim Morrison’s own stubbornness couldn’t keep Jim Morrison off the cover, as the whole band can be seen on a poster in the background.

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The Doors


The Doors were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s; mostly due to Morrison's lyrics and voice, along with his erratic stage persona, and the group was widely regarded as an important part of the era's counterculture.

The band took its name from the title of Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception, itself a reference to a quote by William Blake. After signing with Elektra Records in 1966, the Doors with Morrison released six albums in five years, some of which are considered among the greatest of all time, including their self-titled debut (1967), Strange Days (1967), and L.A. Woman (1971). They were one of the most successful bands during that time and by 1972 the Doors had sold over 4 million albums domestically and nearly 8 million singles.

Morrison died in uncertain circumstances in 1971. The band continued as a trio until disbanding in 1973. They released three more albums in the 1970s, two of which featured earlier recordings by Morrison, and over the decades reunited on stage in various configurations. In 2002, Manzarek, Krieger and Ian Astbury of the Cult on vocals started performing as "The Doors of the 21st Century". Densmore and the Morrison estate successfully sued them over the use of the band's name. After a short time as Riders on the Storm, they settled on the name Manzarek–Krieger and toured until Manzarek's death in 2013.

The Doors were the first American band to accumulate eight consecutive gold LPs. According to the RIAA, they have sold 33 million albums in the United States and over 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. The Doors have been listed as one of the greatest artists of all time by magazines including Rolling Stone, which ranked them 41st on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". In 1993, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Doors - Strange Days
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