Every band that has stood the test of time has to have at least one phenomenal song in their arsenal. Even if it takes them their entire career to come up with that one song, these are tracks that fans keep coming back to because they find something new every time they listen to it. Not all great songs fall out of the sky though, and many of these came together through years of woodshedding.
While we might have heard these on the album the day they were released, the origins of these songs go back well before they were even considered to be part of an album. For years, if not decades, these songs stirred in these musicians’ brains, always working through it and trying to give it the right home with the right song lyric. Once they did hit upon something that worked though, we were in for a bit of magic when we actually played it.
All of those years were put to good use in these cases, taking what could have been a decent song and making it better or making a fragment of a tune into one of the best songs you’ve ever written. There’s no real easy way to describe anyone’s songwriting process, but these songs matured out of their growing pains and have officially become classics.
10. Moonlight Drive - The Doors
When the '60s cultural revolution was just starting to get underway, the Doors were going for a much different vibe. While they may have been in the same circles that brought out bands like the Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison was about opening something in your mind, either through drugs or the poetry that was coming out of his mouth. It was all starting from that first record, but one of their first highlights came from before the Doors were even a thought in Jim's mind.
When Jim was still at art school, he had been thinking of moving back to Florida before meeting his old friend Ray Manzarak on the beach, and asked him about what bands he was playing with. After mentioning to Ray that he wrote songs of his own, Jim proceeded to sing the opening of what is now Moonlight Drive to Ray on the beach, with virtually no accompaniment and just nodding his head to the lyrics.
It might not have been the best audition or anything, but Ray talks about being mesmerized by what he heard, insisting that they should put a rock and roll band together. Bringing in friends John Densmore and Robby Krieger, Moonlight Drive was finally put through the songwriting machine, with Robby contributing his strange slide guitar to give the track a much more unhinged vibe on Strange Days. This was definitely a new flavor for rock and roll, but only a drop in the bucket of what the Doors could do when everything was in its right place.