The Doors at The London Fog

A small, now defunct club called the London Fog, (now Duke's Coffee Shop) located between the Hamburger Hamlet and the Galaxy on Sunset Strip was the first real club date for the Doors. They played for five dollars apiece on weeknights, double on weekends, seven nights a week, four sets per night. Because at the time they didn't have sufficient original material for such a long job, over half their repertory consisted of blues and rock 'n' roll classics, such as Gloria, Little Red Rooster and Who Do You Love? Once again, a faithful core of students from the UCLA film school followed them, but on the strip, a cross section of other listeners joined them. More than anything else, the London Fog job provided them with the opportunity to play together steadily, experiment with their songs, and to develop as a working group. Jim Morrison in particular changed, progressing from a reserved stage style to his present flamboyant manner. Their music was ardently defended by a growing segment of the Strip population, but it also just plain scared a lot of people. Eventually they were fired.

It's hard to believe, but at this juncture the band could have easily sunk into oblivion, disbanded, or could have at least starved a little longer waiting for discovery. But on the last night of their four months at the Fog, Ronnie Haran, the chic chick who books talent for the Whisky-a-Go-Go, came in to hear them. "I knew that Jim Morrison had star quality the minute he started singing," says Miss Haran. "They needed more polish, but the sound was there. Unfortunately, none of them had a telephone (Morrison was then sleeping on the beach.). and all they could give me was a phone number where John 'sometimes' could be reached. It took a month to contact them again, but I finally booked them into the Whisky." Miss Haran also helped the Doors join the musicians' union, get new clothes, and organize the business side of their lives. Her tenacious insistence on using them more or less as the Whisky house band, despite management objections, was the important break the Doors needed.

[Excerpt from The Doors Story originally published in Eye Magazine]

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The Doors at The London Fog