The recent death of Ray Manzarek was marked by many write ups on the Doors underlining his musical brilliance whilst at the same time questioning the band’s place in the scheme of things.

It was agreed that the Doors may have been a big band in the sixties but they had no real influence over music in the next few decades.

How does anyone measure thing thing called ‘influence’? Why are some bands like, say, The Fall constantly lauded as a huge influence and other bands like the Doors and Black Sabbath swept under the rock n roll carpet? Surely the Doors had a huge influence and just because not every band in the world does not use the Manzarek keyboard sound it does not mean that their DNA is not still planted into the creative genes.

It could be argued that the Doors were a massive influence on punk and then the goth and post punk scenes, they brought in a new kind of poetic darkness into rock music that can still be heard in the modern emo and rock scenes and if these scenes are too often discounted or ignored by the indie-centric media it does not mean that they are not important to millions of music fans.

There has been a curious editing of music history going on for years where certain bands have had their musical influence vastly exaggerated.

These are bands like the aforementioned Fall, who we are big fans of here but whose influence is tiny compared to the Doors. I once had an argument with someone who believed that the Fall were more important in musical history than the Beatles which is crazy whatever you think of either band’s sound!

Lots of band suffer from this cultural cull, it’s very rare that Black Sabbath get any credit – despite inventing a musical genre that is bigger and more important than the much loved indie music that has become the staple of what is mistakingly called ‘alternative music’.

The Velvet Undergound seem to be considered more important than Kraftwerk despite the German band creating the template for electro and early hip hop to techno and electronic music and onwards.

The Clash is considered more influential than the Stranglers because the latter band were never mates of the late seventies media and so it goes on. Peter Murphy from Bauhaus was rounded on a  couple of weeks ago for claiming his band were at least as important as Joy Division in terms of influence – which may have been an exaggeration but may have a grain of truth to it.

What do you think?

Are you bemused by the way the history of things has been altered or happy with the consensus?

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  1. I have to disagree with Black Sabbath rarely getting recognition, pretty much every metal band since them has cited them as their main influence, and the trickle effect from new metal bands today can easily be heard and traced back to Sabbath. To say the Doors influence pretty much stopped in the sixties is quite an alarming and bold statement to make, and couldnt be further from the truth. Maybe in Manchester, maybe in the circles you may frequent, but the Doors are responsible for many of the greatest songwriters of the last 40 years. Welcome to the culture wars indeed! The world is a far bigger place than Manchester and its surrounding areas.


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