This Day in 1966: The Doors Sign with Elektra Records

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
This Day in 1966: The Doors Sign with Elektra Records

50 years ago today, The Doors signed the contract that made them members of the Elektra Records roster, creating a partnership that has worked out quite nicely for the band, for the label, and for the fans as well.

Although it’s hard to conceive of The Doors being on any other label during their heyday, it’s not as if the band came into existence and headed straight to Elektra with their wares.

“We hit everyone in town [with our demo] – all the labels were in L.A. – and got rejected by everyone,” wrote Ray Manzarek wrote in his autobiography, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors. “Capitol, RCA, Liberty, Dunhill, Decca, Reprise. They all said no. I was shocked! It was a damn good demo, definitely different. A bit raw and undeveloped…but good. Good enough for anyone with half an ear to hear the potential in the music. Or so I thought. But, no. The four of us went everywhere…and were rejected.”

That finally began to change in May 1966, when Arthur Lee, lead singer of Love, recommended to Elektra Records president and founder Jac Holzman that he should stick around to hear The Doors. He wasn’t impressed…then. But Lee pressed Holzman to come back and see them again, and the band managed to cast their spell on Holzman, who finally approached the band in August 1966 to offer them a contract. They played it cool and thought it over, but they also hired a lawyer, and by August 18, 1966, the band had unofficially signed to Elektra. At last, in November, the band made it official, and the rest is – as they say – history.