Friday, October 31, 2014

Elektra Records: People are Strange

Happy Halloween! As with the last several years, I like to find a fitting song to feature on this auspicious holiday of ghosts, goons, and goblins. Since I’m also in the midst of our Fourth Week feature on Elektra Records, the pickings are slim. After much searching for an Elektra recording that fits the mood of All Hallows Eve, I’ve settled upon The Doors’ “People are Strange.”

This 1967 hit has a perfect sound. It starts out with just Robby Krieger’s guitar and Jim Morrison’s vocals. Ray Manzarek adds two keyboard parts. One of these is a tack piano, which is where thumbtacks are applied to a piano’s hammers to give it a clickity (if that’s a word) and old fashioned honky-tonk sound. In the case of this song, it almost has a harpsichord feel. That may be the result of the use of reverb on the piano.  Manzarek also plays accents on his Vox Continental combo organ.

As always, John Densmore is on drums. Since the band didn’t have a bass player and Manzarek typically played a Rhodes’ keyboard bass during their live dates, Douglass Lubahn was brought in as a sideman on bass – a duty he filled quite frequently on The Doors’ recordings. Backing vocals were supplied by Manzarek, Krieger, Densmore, producer Paul Rothchild, and engineer Bruce Botnick. By the way, Krieger’s guitar parts are fantastic and his use of the tremolo bar to raise the pitch of the last chord is a fitting end to this strange tune.

Although actually composed by Morrison and Kreiger, the entire band received songwriting credit. From their second album “Strange Days,” “People are Strange” peaked at #12. This is such a great tune. So tonight, be careful with the “faces [that] come out of the rain.”


  1. Great choice for Halloween, Jim. Hope you don't mind--I reblogged your post on

    1. Joanne: Sorry I didn't see this sooner. Thanks for the reblog. I appreciate it.