DEEP DIVE: The Doors, SUMMER’S ALMOST GONE
By the summer of 1968, the Doors were still flying high on the momentum of the band’s first two albums, The Doors (1967), and Strange Days (1967). Having built a massive fanbase on the back of unpredictable live shows and chart-climbing hit singles, including Hot 100 #1, “Light My Fire,” the music world was primed and ready when album number three, Waiting for the Sun, arrived in July 1968.
Powered by #1 single, “Hello, I Love You,” the warm, hazy sun-bleached sound of Waiting for the Sun was reflective of the pensive, California sky-colored album cover, which soared to #1 on the Billboard 200. Tucked in between the lilting romanticism of “Love Street” and explosive aggression of “Five to One,” is a deep album cut that finds Morrison and company lamenting the end of the steamy season with “Summer’s Almost Gone.”
Teetering on a boozy blues swing rhythm and boasting a sparkling Ray Manzarek piano solo (augmented by Robby Krieger’s subtle slide guitar touches), the ode to the sun features Morrison wondering, “When summer's gone/Where will we be?”
“Summer’s Almost Gone” was far from new, however; the song actually predates the Doors’ first album, as one of the six tracks recorded on the band’s original demo tape from 1965. Recorded while Morrison, Manzarek and John Densmore were still making music as Rick & the Ravens, almost all six songs from that session eventually became official Doors tracks: “Hello, I Love You,” “Moonlight Drive,” “My Eyes Have Seen You,” and “End of the Night.” Last track “Go Insane” was abandoned, with some of the lyrics ending up in another famously shelved tune, “Celebration of the Lizard.”
Considered by some as an ode to one of Morrison’s earliest (and biggest) influences, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, “Summer’s Almost Gone” is among the Doors’ large collection of stellar album cuts never destined for single status.
FUN FACT: Waiting for the Sun stands as the Doors' only full-length to top the Billboard album chart.