released six albums between 1967 and 1971 (the band was really only together in its classic incarnation for four years), and leaning heavily on lead singer Jim Morrison
's frequently sophomoric but always eerily fascinating takes on the colliding orbits of sex and death, the group managed to sound dangerous and edgy while still retaining commercial viability, even placing two singles, 1967's “Light My Fire” and 1968's “Hello, I Love You,” at the very top of the pop charts. This beautiful set collects all six of those albums in their 40th anniversary remastered versions, complete with facsimile paper sleeves featuring the original artwork. It adds up to a very impressive legacy, from the early mission statement "Break on Through (To the Other Side)" to the unambiguous stomp of "L.A. Woman" (for the record, the chant of "Mr. Mojo Risin'" was intended as a deliberate anagram of the name Jim Morrison
). What sometimes gets lost in the larger-than-life myth of Morrison
was his refreshing directness with love songs, and "Love Me Two Times," "Touch Me," and "Love Her Madly" still retain a surprisingly tender strength and honesty even some 40 years after they were recorded. Then, of course, there's "The End," still one of the most harrowing moments in the history of rock, and the song that best illustrates Morrison
's over the top but somehow appropriately balanced sense of how theater, drama, psychology, sex, death, pop poetry, and rock all merge into a single unavoidable spectacle. No band has ever done it better, or had the courage to even try.