4 Outstanding Covers of Doors Songs in Commemoration of the Anniversary of Jim Morrison’s Death

Jim Morrison, the troubled and charismatic lead singer of The Doors, passed away on this day (July 3) in 1971. Morrison had taken a hiatus from the band and was living in Paris with his longtime girlfriend, Pamela Courson, who found him deceased in the bathtub of their apartment. He was 27.

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Morrison’s cause of death was listed as heart failure, although no autopsy was performed. Many believe that the singer, who was a heavy drinker and dabbed in various drugs, died of an overdose, but there was no official proof of this.

[RELATED: 5 Songs by Various Artists Featuring The Doors’ Ray Manzarek—Including Weird Al and Skrillex]

Morrison had a powerful singing voice that varied between a smooth croon and an aggressive growl. A literate and accomplished poet, Jim co-wrote most of the band’s classic songs. Countless artists were influenced by the music Morrison helped create, and many showed their appreciation for The Doors by recording their own renditions of the band’s songs.

In commemoration of the anniversary of Morrison’s death, here are four outstanding covers of Doors tunes by various well-known acts:

“Light My Fire” – Jose Feliciano (1968)

The Doors’ signature song and biggest hit was the ballad “Light My Fire,” from the band’s 1967 self-titled debut album. “Light My Fire” spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July and August of ’67.

About a year later, Puerto Rican singer/guitarist Jose Feliciano released his own acoustic, Latin-flavored cover of the song. It also became a hit, peaking at No. 3 on the Hot 100 during the late summer of 1968.

Feliciano’s smoldering, jazzy rendition of “Light My Fire” featured some impressive flamenco-style acoustic guitar flourishes.

“People Are Strange” – Echo and the Bunnymen (1987)

“People Are Strange” was the lead single from The Doors’ second album, Strange Days, which also was released in 1967. The song, whose music was a nod to European cabaret, reached No. 12 on the Hot 100. Morrison wrote the lyrics while he was depressed about feeling alienated from most people.

British new wave band Echo and the Bunnymen recorded a faithful cover of “People Are Strange” that was featured in the 1987 teenage vampire movie The Lost Boys. Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek played on the track, and also lent his talents to an original Echo and the Bunnymen song, “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo.” The “People Are Strange” cover was released as a single in the U.K., where at became a Top-30 hit.

“Take It as It Comes” – The Ramones (1992)

“Take It as It Comes” was another song from The Doors’ self-titled debut album. The deep cut features lyrics about taking the time to enjoy life and warning about living at too fast a pace.

Legendary punk rockers The Ramones recorded a cover of “Take It as It Comes” for their 12th studio album, Mondo Bizarro, which was released in 1992. The band’s version is highlighted by singer Joey Ramone’s booming, gritty vocals.

Guest keyboardist Joe McGinty, who was a member of the Psychedelic Furs around that time, offered up a faithful recreation of the solo that Manzarek played on the original track.

In a 1992 interview, Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone explained what inspired the group to cover “Take It as It Comes.”

“I heard [the song] one day when I was in a shop … and I thought, ‘Oh, wow, I love this song,’” Ramone recalled. “I thought it was really great. … And we were looking for a song to cover, and I didn’t want to cover a hit song by The Doors, because to do it as well they did it [is] very difficult. So I figured maybe try to approach a lesser[-known] song. So, I think it came out well.”

“The Crystal Ship” – Duran Duran (1995)

“The Crystal Ship” is a poetic, atmospheric ballad that’s featured on The Doors album. It also was released as the B-side of the “Light My Fire” single.

Duran Duran included a version of “The Crystal Ship” on its 1995 covers album, Thank You. The British new wave act gave the tune an enjoyable alternative-rock makeover.

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