Saturday, October 19, 2019

#6 The Doors (+ Van Morrison bonus)

1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards #6 The Doors

Card #6 is The Doors. It's their first of 4 consecutive cards in the Legends subset, plus they've got a Historic Concerts card (#255) and a card in the UK edition, giving them a total of 6 MusiCards.

This photo is clearly from the same shoot as the Morrison Hotel album cover. The pic that graced the cover was a straight-on shot, while this one from the left was likely nixed thanks to the glare obscuring Robby and John for the most part. Per Wikipedia:
The cover photo was taken by Henry Diltz at the Morrison Hotel on South Hope Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The band weren't given permission to photograph, so did so while the clerk was called away from the desk. The band jumped right behind the windows and hit their places without shuffling as Diltz took the shot.
Check out a few other photos from this shoot (The first is closest to the one used for the album cover, though on the selected shot, they aren't smiling.):

Seems like the photographer was able to get several different shots even though supposedly they were rushing as they didn't have permission from the hotel.

The back of the card features a photo of the band in a cemetery and lists their albums. Let's examine some of the curiosities in this list:

I wasn't aware of the "Hard Rock Cafe" co-title of Morrison Hotel, but turns out, yes, technically speaking Side A of that album is entitled Hard Rock Café, while Side B is Morrison Hotel. But damned if I've ever heard that record referred to as anything other than just Morrison Hotel before this.

There's a minor typo here in that "Absolutely Alive" is actually called Absolutely Live, their first live album (recorded July 21, 1969–May 8, 1970).

I wasn't familiar with 13, but turns out that was a "greatest hits" compilation their record label put out while they were still active. It was never released on CD, so it's no surprise that it's not well remembered today.

Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine is another one I wasn't familiar with. Looks like it's just another "best of" compilation with a couple rare b-sides thrown in.

It's odd that Pro Set listed the live album and the two "hits" compilations, yet Other Voices (1971), Full Circle (1972), An American Prayer (1978)-- three original albums released by the Doors after Jim Morrison's death-- don't get mentioned. I guess they were limiting it to albums released during Jim's lifetime. Several additional live albums and "best of" compilations were released between then and when this card was made that could have easily been thrown on the list had they wanted to be more exhaustive.

The Doors - "Waiting for the Sun"

Morrison Hotel (1970), the album alluded to by this card's photo, was the penultimate record before Jim's death. The only single was "You Make Me Real"/"Roadhouse Blues" which reached #50 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. My personal favorite track from the album is "Waiting for the Sun". Funny that the song didn't appear on their earlier album that shared that name (Waiting For the Sun [1968]), but I guess it wasn't finished in time.

We've still got a few more posts on the horizon to cover the Doors, so let's put a pin in it for now and transition over to the custom for today.

I figured with the whole "Morrison Hotel" focus on this post, I'd make a card for the other best known Morrison in the history of popular music: Van Morrison. Van is a heavy hitter who doesn't have a real card in the set.

Van Morrison - 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were
Jim and Van weren't related (Van is from Belfast, Ireland), though Van's early band Them was an influence on the Doors. When Them toured the US in 1966, The Doors were the opening band for a handful of shows in LA. Said author Brian Hinton: "Jim Morrison learned quickly from his near namesake's stagecraft, his apparent recklessness, his air of subdued menace, the way he would improvise poetry to a rock beat, even his habit of crouching down by the bass drum during instrumental breaks."

Them - "Gloria"

"Brown Eyed Girl" and "Gloria" are Van Morrison's biggest songs, both staples of 60s rock. He's been making music since 1958 and is still active today. His immense catalog is richly varied, encompassed by his distinctive voice.

I forget how I heard about Astral Weeks, but at some point in my 20s I caught wind it was an under-the-radar album that was beloved by those who've heard it. (Not necessarily obscure, but never got much radio play.) Sure enough, I feel in love with it shortly after picking up the CD. I listened to it a lot, usually late at night, as it's definitely a "wee hours" type of record in my eyes.. one of those albums that would just feel wrong to listen to while the sun was out.

Van Morrison - Desert Island Disc
1. Brown Eyed Girl
2. Domino
3. Gloria
4. Moondance
5. Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)
6. Gypsy Queen
7. Everyone
8. Tupelo Honey
9. Back on Top
10. Glad Tidings
11. Dweller on the Threshold
12. Wild Night
13. Saint Dominic's Preview
14. Into the Mystic
15. Astral Weeks
16. Beside You
17. Sweet Thing
18. Cyprus Avenue
19. The Way Young Lovers Do
20. Madame George

This mix starts with some of his better-known earlier stuff, and closes with the majority of the Astral Weeks album (15-20). He's another artist where I could pick another 20 songs I like without much trouble, but I'll call it good with these picks. Did I leave off any of your favorite Van Morrison songs? Please accept my apology, and feel free to mention your favorites in the comments.

Van Morrison - "Gypsy Queen"

Since Van Morrison has a song called "Gypsy Queen", I thought it'd be fun to make him a bonus custom in a design of the card line with that name.

Van Morrison 2015 Gypsy Queen custom
That's it for today. Up next, we'll try to set the night on fire with more of The Doors.

Hey, did you win my big contest? Still some unclaimed prizes, so be sure to check the previous post.


  1. "Into the Mystic" is the first song of his I'd mention and he has a lot of enjoyable songs.

    "Moondance" deserves all the praise and fanfair it gets. Not a Van Morrison devotee but it's certainly one of the greatest albums of that time.

  2. Love that Van Morrison Gypsy Queen custom. Great job!

  3. I tried to get into The Doors when I was a teenager (in the 80's), but it didn't stick. As for Van Morrison... I only know a few of his songs, but I enjoy them. Great job on the custom!

  4. That Gypsy Queen custom is fantastic, nice work!