Yes, I'm talking about the Doors. Jim Morrison had a terrific voice and an intermittent gift for lyrics on the first album or two, then he sunk into a lot of self-indulgent bullcrap and alcohol-soaked gibberish. "The End" is widely considered his masterpiece - and it is, if you consider it a comic parody of "serious" late-60s poetry. "Father? Yes son? I want to kill you. Mother..." etc. Armchair Freudian shit, any high-schooler could come up with its equivalent. To the extent that the Doors were successful, it was usually when Morrison stifled his pretensions and just sang his dark but relatively accessible lyrics. Listen again to "Light My Fire;" that's a great BAND cooking behind him, and the words don't get in the way as they did later on. The Doors were, as a matter of fact, a "singles" band - a Top 40 act with a series of hits and a whole lot of album filler. A twisted version of Three Dog Night or similar professional entertainers. Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore had as much to do with the band's best records as their drunken, self-obsessed front man.
Yeah, this is heresy, I know. I just don't buy into the Dead Jim cult, and I never did. You don't become an Important Artist by living recklessly and dying young. You do it by creating memorable, meaningful art regardless of your personal lifestyle or fate. Ask Neil Young. Ask Bob Dylan. Ask Frank Sinatra or Louis Armstrong. Or Billie Holiday or Hank Williams or Kurt Cobain or Nick Drake or Ronnie Van Zandt, who all died young but whose achievements have lasted in a way that, ultimately, Jim Morrison's don't. In my humble opinion. For what it's worth. As Neil Young might say: rust never sleeps, but it sure does corrode some people faster than others. Better to burn out than to fade away? Neil is living proof that you don't have to do EITHER.
By the way: second most over-rated band? The Eagles. None of them died tragically, but again, they produced only a few good singles and one OK-for-its-time album. Their fame and fortune have far outstripped the quality and significance of their music. Plus, they gave rise to the whole modern Nashville sound: by watering down both country and rock, they blended the worst of both, and for that alone they should burn in hell. Well, except for Joe Walsh, who is just a hired gunslinger but clearly the most talented of the bunch. And Don Henley's voice, which can work wonders when applied to the right material (but is a smug pain in the ass the rest of the time).
Third in line? Frank Zappa, with his endless sophomoric sex/excrement/drug jokes. I'm talking about Zappa the solo artist, not the early Mothers of Invention line-up with their brilliant social satire. Zappa had the real stuff as a guitarist and bandleader but he wasted far too much time and effort on shitty, smutty material.
That's all for now, but contact me anytime if you want to see more Sacred Icons of Rock (SIR's) tossed unceremoniously off their pedestals.