Artist The Doors
Label Elektra Records
|Producer The Doors|
Release date 17 July 1972
|Released August 15, 1972 (1972-08-15)|
Recorded Spring 1972, A&M Studios, Hollywood, California using a professional 16-track machine
Full Circle (1972) An American Prayer (1978)
Genres Rock music, Psychedelic rock, Jazz, Jazz fusion, Funk, Funk rock
Similar The Doors albums, Rock music albums
Full Circle is the eighth studio album by the American rock band the Doors, released in August 1972. It is the second album after Jim Morrison's death, and the last they compiled until the 1978 album An American Prayer. The album includes "The Mosquito", the last Doors single to chart.
Recording and composition
The band's first album without Jim Morrison, 1971's Other Voices, had reached #31 on the Billboard chart, a modest success for the group considering the monumental shadow cast by the passing of Morrison. The band - now a trio consisting of keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore - chose to record Other Voices at their rehearsal space known as the Workshop, the same two-story building at 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard they had recorded the successful L.A. Woman, but for Full Circle they opted to move to Hollywood's A&M Studio. While Other Voices was, to a degree, an extension of the L.A. Woman sessions (some of the tracks had been worked up before Morrison had left for Paris), Full Circle was a standalone work that saw the band delve deeper into jazz and work with some top shelf session musicians. Bruce Botnick, who had engineered all the Doors albums up to that point and co-produced both L.A. Woman and Other Voices, declined to participate in the sessions. In 2015 he admitted to Uncut's Tom Pinnock that he could not remember whether he was asked to return or not, but maintains he would have turned down the offer, reflecting, "The guys wanted to have a chance to work with some other musicians. As they went into Full Circle they took that extension even further."
The Doors hired Henry Lewy to replace Botnick, who in turn brought in Charles Lloyd and a host of session players. Lloyd would contribute tenor sax and flute to the songs and also play behind the band at Central Park and at the Hollywood Bowl. As with Other Voices, Manzarek and Krieger assumed vocal duties, which were augmented with backing vocalists. Ironically, although both post-Morrison albums are viewed as non-essential to many Doors fans and critics, Full Circle produced a global hit for the band: "The Mosquito." As recounted in Uncut's 2015 profile of both LPs, the song has become one of the band's most enduring tracks across the globe, with the song's author Krieger recalling:
Full Circle showed the band was still evolving musically, with the Latin fusion of "The Piano Bird" and the complex funk of "Verdilac," but tensions were mounting between Manzarek, who wanted to explore jazz, and Densmore and Krieger, who wanted to persevere with rock. "Ray just kinda said, 'Look, I'm outta here, I'm getting tired of this, it's not working,'" Krieger recalled to Uncut in 2015. "So we gave up. John and I were trying to make it work. Would we have carried on? Yeah, for sure."
In 1972, the Doors released "Get Up and Dance" as a single in the UK; the B-side was the non-album track "Treetrunk", one of only three non-album studio tracks released by the band. According to Robby Krieger, the track was left off the album because "it sounded too commercial." The song was finally given official release as part of the Japan edition of the Doors Singles Box in 2013.
Release and reception
Full Circle was released on August 15, 1972 and peaked at #68 on the Billboard chart. AllMusic states, "While there are a handful of undeniably remarkable cuts scattered throughout, Full Circle is increasingly sporadic and less focused than its predecessor" but asserts that the album's centerpiece is "the nearly four-minute jam tacked on at the end. Manzarek's impassioned electric organ, Densmore's tricky timekeeping, and Krieger's transcendent string work are all worth mentioning as the intensity of their interplay hearkens back to former glories." In 2011 Uncut surmised of the LP, "Now the problems start. A strained-sounding attempt to boogie like a bar band, with lame lyrics about "good rocking"...its eagerness to get our hands clapping makes it sound desperate."
For years the Doors have largely disregarded the two post-Morrison albums, with no official American CD releases. Full Circle was released on CD October 23, 2006 by the Timeless Holland label, along with the previous (post-Morrison) Doors album Other Voices. It is relatively easy to find unofficial CD copies of Full Circle and Other Voices on the Internet, but most of these vinyl-to-CD transfers do not contain the single-only "Treetrunk", except for the Howling Wolf Records 2010 release of the two albums on one CD. This release also featured the edited single versions of "The Mosquito" and "The Piano Bird." "Treetrunk" was finally given official release as part of the Japan edition of the Doors Singles Box in 2013. The Doors' management has stated they are not in possession of the master tapes to the two post-Morrison albums, but remastered tracks from both of them can nevertheless be found on later official releases. The only track from Full Circle the Doors have reissued is "The Mosquito", released in 2000 as "No Me Moleste Mosquito" on the double-disc version of The Best of The Doors. On September 27, 2011, the Doors finally gave Full Circle, along with Other Voices, its first official reissue that is currently available only for digital download via stores such as iTunes, Amazon.com and eMusic. It was confirmed that the original master tapes were used for these reissues.
Billboard (North America)
1Get Up and Dance2:33
24 Billion Souls3:17