Doors Self-Destruct; Bowie, Simon Excel on Lost Tapes

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Source: Elektra Records via Bloomberg

The cover of "L.A. Woman," the sixth studio album by the Doors, which has been reissued in a 40th-anniversary edition. Singer Jim Morrison, right, was pleased that the cover showed him bearded. He lowered himself so he appeared to be shorter than the others.

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Source: Elektra Records via Bloomberg

The cover of "L.A. Woman," the sixth studio album by the Doors, which has been reissued in a 40th-anniversary edition. Singer Jim Morrison, right, was pleased that the cover showed him bearded. He lowered himself so he appeared to be shorter than the others. Close

The cover of "L.A. Woman," the sixth studio album by the Doors, which has been reissued in a 40th-anniversary... Read More

Janis Joplin with her producer Paul Rothschild, who worked with her on "Pearl." The producer found her dead; the following year he quit as producer as the Doors worked on the band's final album with Jim Morrison. Both Morrison and Joplin died at the age of 27, following Jimi Hendrix. Source Sony Legacy via Bloomberg Close

Janis Joplin with her producer Paul Rothschild, who worked with her on "Pearl." The producer found her dead; the... Read More

Source: Sony Legacy via Bloomberg.

The cover of "Live at the Carousel Ballroom" by Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company. The live disc recorded by Owsley Stanley in 1968 and released a year after his 2011 death, comes as the Paul Rothschild-produced Joplin album "Pearl" is rereleased with extra tracks. Close

The cover of "Live at the Carousel Ballroom" by Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company. The live disc... Read More

Source: Sony Legacy via Bloomberg.

The cover of "The Pearl Sessions" by Janis Joplin. The original album was released after the singer died at the age of 27. Now it has been supplemented by outtakes and more of Joplin's final recordings, which finished with a laugh on the acapella "Mercedes Benz" (she sings that she wanted a Porsche; in fact, she already had one.) Close

The cover of "The Pearl Sessions" by Janis Joplin. The original album was released after the singer died at the age... Read More

Source: Sony Legacy via Bloomberg

The 25th-anniversary box set of "Graceland" by Paul Simon. The pack includes a re-mastered version of the original album, a disc of bonus tracks, the film "Under African Skies," music videos of songs such as "You Can Call Me Al" and a DVD of Simon in concert. Close

The 25th-anniversary box set of "Graceland" by Paul Simon. The pack includes a re-mastered version of the original... Read More

Source: EMI via Bloomberg

The cover of "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" by U.K. rock musician David Bowie, now released in a 40th-anniversary edition. The cover was shot in Heddon Street, central London, where fans still gather to remember the 1972 album. Close

The cover of "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" by U.K. rock musician David Bowie, now... Read More

Source: EMI America via Bloomberg.

The front of the "Immersion" box set of "The Wall" by Pink Floyd. The 7-disc edition includes a DVD featuring a film clip from the 1980 tour and a "Behind The Wall" documentary, plus demos and live material. A shorter "Experience" edition is also available. Close

The front of the "Immersion" box set of "The Wall" by Pink Floyd. The 7-disc edition includes a DVD featuring a film... Read More

Source: EMI Music North America via Bloomberg

The contents of the Blu-ray reissue of The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine." The soundtrack is also re-mastered with extra cover art. "Early Takes" by George Harrison and "Ram" by Paul McCartney, has has just turned 70, are among reissues. Close

The contents of the Blu-ray reissue of The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine." The soundtrack is also re-mastered with extra... Read More

Source: EMI Music North America via Bloomberg

The cover of The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" on Blu-ray. The new edition of "Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles has a restored video and archive material. Close

The cover of The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" on Blu-ray. The new edition of "Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles has a... Read More

Source: Hip-O via Bloomberg.

The cover of "Early Takes Volume 1" by George Harrison. The posthumous album of outtakes released in May 2012 is part of a program that also includes a similarly-packaged film by Martin Scorsese, "George Harrison: Living in the Material World," and Olivia Harrison's companion book. Close

The cover of "Early Takes Volume 1" by George Harrison. The posthumous album of outtakes released in May 2012 is part... Read More

Source: EMI via Bloomberg.

Paul and Linda McCartney's 1971 "Ram" is the latest of "Macca's" LPs to be remastered. Sir Paul turned 70 on June 18 2012, with Paul Weller recording a charity version of the Beatles song "Birthday" in his honor. Close

Paul and Linda McCartney's 1971 "Ram" is the latest of "Macca's" LPs to be remastered. Sir Paul turned 70 on June 18... Read More

Things were going badly for the Doors, packed into a tiny Hollywood rehearsal room.

It was late 1970, and Jim Morrison was drunkenly talking of becoming a full-time poet. Their long-term producer Paul Rothschild had walked out in disgust after the first ragged sessions, saying the band was veering toward cocktail jazz.

The story of how this chaos turned into the excellent “L.A. Woman” is clear for the first time on the 40th- anniversary edition. We hear shaky starts until Morrison gets the idea of updating 12-bar blues. Things fall into place.

“Cars hiss by my window,” he sings, “like the waves down on the beach.” He repeats it, like John Lee Hooker, adding a payoff “I got this girl beside me but she’s out of reach.”

Not all the outtakes are revelatory, with Morrison sounding bored with the mantra “Riders on the Storm.” Still, this is a landmark release lovingly restored. Morrison headed off for Paris after, and was dead within months at age 27. Rating: ****.

Janis Joplin, who also died at 27 the year before, went out on a note of boozy excess. “The Pearl Sessions” adds outtakes and jams for what was planned as her solo breakthrough. The promise unfulfilled is heartbreaking. Rating: ***.

“Live at the Carousel Ballroom,” a record she made with Big Brother and the Holding Company, is at last on CD. It’s an improvement on the better-known “Cheap Thrills,” with Joplin’s unhinged vocals meshing with guitar freakouts. Rating: ****.

Paul Simon’s Grammy-winning “Graceland” is back in a 25th-anniversary issue. It includes demos, live tracks and the film “Under African Skies,” where Simon says he wasn’t aware of a United Nations cultural boycott when recording in apartheid-era South Africa. He brought the country to wider attention by mixing township beats and his urbane lyrics.

Those words remain clever: “‘Senorita that’s astute,’ I said. ‘Why don’t we get together and call ourselves an institute?’”

Rating: *****.

This month, another of rock’s greatest recordings gets a 40th-anniversary edition: David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.”

This album was one of the first I bought. It still is in my top 10 best. Back then, I imagined all records would be this good. I was wrong.

The story is set five years before the world ends, with Stardust as the ultimate rock star offering a live-today, forget-tomorrow message in “Moonage Daydream.” He hurtles through fame (“Hang on to Yourself”) until he breaks up the band and his world falls apart in “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide.”

The second side of the original LP was almost perfect, an 18-minute brain-bruise, now in an even crisper mix that makes the outtakes and remixes almost irrelevant. Rating: *****.

Pink Floyd’s reissue program peaked last year with the big boxes of “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Wish You Were Here.”

After that, I was rather dreading “The Wall,” which was always bloated. Now, it’s even more overdone, with a seven-disc set. Beautifully presented, it’s only for obsessives with time to fritter and money to splurge. Rating: ***.

The Beatles have a slew of reissues and outtakes, which will appeal to fans though they won’t to enhance the group’s legacy. Amid the genius, “Yellow Submarine” was a low note. A new version tries to put the case for its rehabilitation.

The film has been restored, with hand-painted psychedelic colors. The plot’s still pathetic and the dialogue’s terrible. George Martin’s orchestrations remain silly, such as “Sea of Holes,” a title which says it all. At least the soundtrack now has more genuine Beatles songs on it. Rating: ***.

George Harrison's “Early Takes Volume 1” is, as advertised, a collection of outtakes that should have been left on the cutting room floor. The “Volume 1” note is ominous. Rating: **.

Paul and Linda McCartney's “Ram” is the latest of Macca's LPs to be remastered. Paul has just turned 70. Even in this buffed-up form, “Ram” is far from his best. Rating: **.

This year has also seen some exceptional reissues by acts as varied as My Bloody Valentine (“Loveless,”) Can (“The Lost Tapes” follows “Tago Mago”), the Lucy Show (“Remembrances”) and Johnny Cash (“Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth”).

The Doors are on Elektra, Joplin and Simon on Sony Legacy, Bowie on EMI and the Beatles on Parlophone, McCartney on Hear Music and Harrison on UMe. Prices start at about $10 with the Simon expanded box set for $85, Bowie at $33, Pink Floyd at $20 or $110 for the bigger “Immersion” set.

Information: http://www.thedoors.com, http://officialjanis.com/, http://www.paulsimon.com, http://www.davidbowie.com, http://www.pinkfloyd.com, http://www.thebeatles.com, http://www.georgeharrison.com/ and http://www.paulmccartney.com.

What the Stars Mean:
*****      Exceptional
****       Excellent
***        Good
**         Average
*          Mediocre
(No stars) Poor

(Mark Beech writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Scott Reyburn on the art market and James Russell on architecture.

To contact the writer on the story: Mark Beech in London at mbeech@bloomberg.net or http://twitter.com/Mark_Beech.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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