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Strange Days is the second album released by American rock band The Doors. The album was a commercial success, earning a gold record and reaching No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Despite this, the album's producer, Paul Rothchild, considered it a commercial failure, even if it was an artistic triumph: "We all thought it was the best album. Significantly, it was also the one with the weakest sales. We were confident it was going to be bigger than anything The Beatles had done. But, there was no single. The record died on us." Nonetheless, the album managed two Top 30 hits, a Top 3 placing on the US charts, and a platinum certification. Furthermore, the album certainly did nothing to derail the overall success of the Doors, as demonstrated the next year by their chart-topping follow-up Waiting for the Sun.
Strange Days consists of songs that were written in 1965-1966 , but did not make it onto their debut album, such as "Moonlight Drive", which was one of the first songs written by Jim Morrison. The song was recorded in 1965 (demo) and 1966 (intended for their first album). In 1967 a final version was recorded and released on this album. Strange Days contains some of The Doors' most psychedelic songs. It includes songs such as "Strange Days", "People Are Strange", "Love Me Two Times" and "When the Music's Over".
The album's artwork is designed by William S. Harvey and photographed by Joel Brodsky. The cover photo was taken in Sniffen Court, a small residential mews in New York City. Jim Morrison refused to appear on the cover, so photographer Joel Brodsky decided to use a circus-like photograph for the cover image. However, most carnivals were out on summer tours so it was a struggle for Brodsky to find professional circus performers. The acrobats were the only ones he could find; the dwarf Lester Janus and his younger brother (not twins) Stanley Janus (who appeared on the back cover) were hired from an acting firm; the juggler was Brodsky's own assistant; the trumpet player was a taxi driver; and the strongman was a doorman at a club. On another note, the back cover depicts a robed woman standing in one of the house doorways looking down at one of the dwarf brothers. She has since been identified by People Magazine as the stylist of Joel Brodsky's wife, Zazel Lovén. In addition to this, the original idea for the front cover was a reflection of the group in a mirror which the dwarves would carry. Jim Morrison stated that he did not want to be on the cover at all, so a poster of the band members was discreetly shown on the right end of the sleeve.
A re-created music video was shot in the eighties for the title track, and featured a still of the cover photo. The dwarf, juggler and acrobat came to life and moved out of the photo, while the other three performers remained where they were. The circus trio then explore New York City and join various crowds. At the end of the video, the dwarf, juggler and acrobat move back into the photo and resume the poses that are seen on the cover photo.
All songs written by Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore.
- "Strange Days" – 3:11
- "You're Lost Little Girl" – 3:03
- "Love Me Two Times" – 3:18
- "Unhappy Girl" – 2:02
- "Horse Latitudes" – 1:37
- "Moonlight Drive" – 3:05
- "People Are Strange" – 2:13
- "My Eyes Have Seen You" – 2:32
- "I Can't See Your Face in My Mind" – 3:26
- "When the Music's Over" – 10:58
40th Anniversary Edition CD bonus tracks
- "People Are Strange" (False Starts & Dialogue) – 1:57
- "Love Me Two Times" (Take 3) – 3:19
Strange Days reached #3 in the US in 1967. "People Are Strange" shot to #12 on the US chart, and "Love Me Two Times" followed it, going to #25, thus proving The Doors' staying power after the runaway success of their debut. In the UK the band had yet to score a big hit single and Strange Days became one of two Doors studio albums not to chart, despite subsequent strong sales. In 2003, Strange Days ranked #407 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.