One of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s is The Doors. The band was credited with revolutionizing the 1960s music scene with their unique blend of psychedelic rock and blues.
Fronted by the leather-pants-loving icon Jim Morrison, The Doors released six albums. Many of these were commercially successful and critically acclaimed and rank high up in the greatest of all-time lists of songs. They were also one of the best-selling bands of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
But if you love their music and want to find some more artists like them, where do you look? Well, in this post, we’ve put together a list of 13 amazing bands like The Doors to help you find some new groups to add to your playlists. Let’s get started!
1. The Rolling Stones
One of the most legendary bands in rock and roll history is The Rolling Stones. They were known for their blues-inspired rock and rebellious attitude. It’s no wonder they were a significant influence on The Doors.
The Rolling Stones’ expansive discography showcases not only their masterful musicianship but also their ability to evolve over time while still maintaining that signature “Stones” sound.
Their classic album Sticky Fingers features songs such as “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses.” These perfectly encapsulate the energy and soulfulness that both The Doors and The Rolling Stones are so well known for.
The Doors captured fans’ hearts with lyrics exploring taboo subjects or mystical themes. In the same way, many believe that The Rolling Stones’ evolution from bluesy covers to boundary-pushing original tracks partly stems from being inspired by Jim Morrison himself.
2. The Beatles
The iconic British band The Beatles emerged in the 1960s in Liverpool. Their unique sound blended various genres such as pop, rock, and psychedelic elements to create a style that became known as “Beatlesque.”
The Beatles shared the same era as The Doors and were at the forefront of the British Invasion. Their distinctive melodies and timeless lyrics continue to captivate new generations of fans.
As one of the most culturally influential acts ever, The Beatles played a key role in shaping popular music. They experimented with different instruments, recording techniques, and songwriting styles. This innovative approach not only pushed creative boundaries but also inspired countless musicians who followed them.
Their groundbreaking albums, such as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band paved the way for other psychedelic rock bands to experiment more freely within their own music-making process.
Much like The Doors’ exploration of darker themes through bluesy organ riffs, The Beatles often incorporated unconventional sounds such as sitars or tape loops. These left fans eager for more genre-defying tracks throughout both groups’ storied careers.
3. The Who
One of the most influential bands during the rock and psychedelic era is The Who. This English rock band was formed in London and shares some notable similarities with The Doors. Both groups emerged in the 1960s music scene and helped shape classic rock as we know it today.
Notably, The Who’s Pete Townshend was a master at weaving complex guitar riffs and solid rhythm sections. This allowed frontman Roger Daltrey’s distinctive voice to soar. These are traits reminiscent of Robby Krieger’s guitar playing and Jim Morrison’s dynamic stage presence.
Let’s dive deeper into their musical influence on one another. Both bands pushed boundaries through experimentation with various genres, such as pop and grunge.
This fearless approach to music-making led them to achieve remarkable success within the industry. At the same time, they left lasting legacies for new generations of musicians to appreciate.
4. The Kinks
If you’re looking for bands like The Doors that deliver excellent guitar riffs with catchy lyrics that stick in your head all day long – look no further than The Kinks!
Having formed in 1963 in North London, The Kinks were part of the British Invasion for a little while. They began as a rhythm-and-blues group but eventually transitioned to rock and roll.
The Kinks had an extensive discography, thanks to their more than three decades of making music. They released 24 studio albums and four live albums between 1964 and 1993. Their 1965 album, Greatest Hits!, was certified gold.
Surprisingly, a controversy erupted between The Doors and The Kinks involving some songs. The Doors’ “Hello, I Love You” had a riff that was allegedly stolen from The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night.” The bands reached an out-of-court settlement, and The Doors paid royalties to The Kinks.
5. The Yardbirds
Another band that was part of the British Invasion was The Yardbirds. They were formed in 1963 in London, England, and became known for their bluesy rock sound and guitar virtuosos.
The band featured some of the greatest guitarists in music history: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. However, creative differences led to Eric Clapton leaving the band early on.
Their time as a band may be short-lived, but The Yardbirds had achieved numerous feats. They pioneered psychedelic rock and early hard rock. Like The Doors, they influenced and helped develop trends in punk rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock. The Yardbirds were also cited for their contributions to electric guitar innovations during their era.
Ultimately, The Yardbirds remain a fascinating case study into how musical experimentation can lead to groundbreaking sounds that influence generations after them.
6. The Animals
The English rock band The Animals formed in 1962 and became known for their blend of rock and blues music. They recorded the hugely successful commercial version of “The House of the Rising Sun.” This became one of their biggest hits and their signature song.
Both The Doors and The Animals were influenced by the blues. They incorporated it into their music to create their own unique sound. In addition, The Animals showcased an R&B and blues influence. You can see that from their covers of “Baby Let Me Take You Home” and “Boom Boom.”
The bands achieved success and a dedicated fan base during their era. They scored several chart-topping hits, such as The Doors’ “Hello, I Love You” and “Light My Fire.” The Animas, on the other hand, found success in “House of the Rising Sun” and “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.”
So if you want more bands with similarities to The Doors, give The Animals a try. They’re a must-listen for anyone interested in rock music or popular culture from the ’60s era.
The rock band Cream from London came around in 1966. With members coming from successful bands, Cream was considered the first supergroup.
They quickly gained popularity for their fusion of blues, rock, and jazz to create a pioneering form of progressive rock.
When listening to Cream’s music, it’s hard not to be impressed by the individual talents each member brings to the table. For example, Eric Clapton is known for his iconic riffs on songs like “Crossroads” and “Sunshine of Your Love.”
Meanwhile, Jack Bruce’s vocals added a soulful touch that perfectly complemented their music.
One thing that Cream and The Doors have in common is their extended jams during live performances. Cream often did extended plays that showcased each member’s virtuosity. The Doors, meanwhile, featured extended instrumentals in their songs.
8. Led Zeppelin
Both The Doors and the powerhouse English rock band Led Zeppelin emerged in the late 1960s. Led Zeppelin originated in London and was credited with being one of the pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal.
What’s more, Led Zeppelin also influenced the music industry by contributing to album-oriented rock and stadium rock.
Throughout their career, Led Zeppelin released nine albums and chart-topping hits. Some of their popular songs include “Dazed and Confused,” Stairway to Heaven,” and “Kashmir.”
Led Zeppelin is often compared to The Doors for several reasons. Aside from existing in the same era, both bands drew inspiration from blues music. In fact, Led Zeppelin blended blues into their songs, coming up with a sound that was uniquely their own.
In addition, both bands have dynamic frontmen. Jim Morrison of The Doors and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin became popular for their powerful voices and distinct styles.
9. The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Another rock band that deserves a spot on this list is the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The band was formed in 1966 by Chas Chandler, the original bassist of The Animals. The band created a unique sound that blended elements of blues, jazz, and psychedelic rock.
Frontman Jimi Hendrix is widely considered one of the greatest musicians who ever lived. He had a massive impact on the entire music industry. His distinctive style included elements such as feedback manipulation and distortion effects which are still used today by many musicians across different genres.
In comparison with The Doors, both bands incorporated psychedelic elements into their music. For instance, The Doors’ “The End” featured a dark vibe. The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Purple Haze” featured psychedelic guitar solos.
If this is the kind of music you’re looking for, then you should definitely check out the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s discography.
10. Jefferson Airplane
Moving on, we have the American rock band Jefferson Airplane from San Francisco, California. This is one of the most popular bands from the ’60s era and pioneers in psychedelic rock.
Their music was heavily influenced by San Francisco’s scene, which was known for promoting drug culture and counterculture at that time.
Jefferson Airplane focused on melody-driven rock n’ roll that captured both emotional intensity and social commentary. With these in consideration, the band shares commonalities with many other bands who were pushing the boundaries of musical creativity during their time.
We can compare The Doors and Jefferson Airplane in terms of influential vocalists. Though the latter’s lead singer, Grace Slick, is a female, both she and The Doors’ Jim Morrison were instrumental in providing the sound of their respective bands. Slick, in particular, possessed a contralto voice that perfectly complemented co-vocalist Marty Balin’s voice.
11. The Byrds
Up next, we have The Byrds, a highly influential band in the 1960s. Formed in Los Angeles, the band became known for its unique blend of folk, country, and psychedelia.
The Byrds helped jumpstart the “folk-rock” movement that took over popular music during their era. Their influence can be seen in other bands like Buffalo Springfield, Poco, and The Eagles, who also incorporated these elements into their own music.
If there’s one similarity between The Byrds and The Doors, it’s their use of vocal harmonies in their songs. The Byrds became popular for their tight harmonies, which eventually became a staple aspect of their sound. The Doors also used harmonies, which added texture to their music.
12. The Grateful Dead
One of the celebrated bands during the psychedelic rock era of the 1960s and 1970s is The Grateful Dead. They played a significant role in shaping American rock music. Their music is characterized by a blend of progressive rock, jazz, and country elements.
The Doors and The Grateful Dead both used improvisation in their live performances. The former used jazz and blues-inspired improv in their live performances. The Grateful Dead, on the other hand, improvised through extended psychedelic jams.
And speaking of “psychedelic,” both bands embraced the movement in the 1960s. Their lyrics showcased the political climate of the time and explored issues surrounding social change.
But even with these similarities, these bands are unique in their own ways. However, both bands left a lasting impact on the music scene.
13. The Velvet Underground
To end this list, we present to you The Velvet Underground, formed in New York City in 1964. This was a highly experimental band that played a key role in the underground music movement of the time.
Despite their short-lived career as a band (they disbanded in 1973), The Velvet Underground solidified their place in music history. Their first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, is considered one of the most influential albums of all time.
The band’s vocalist Lou Reed once said that he thought his band was smarter than California bands like The Doors. While this statement may be up for debate, there’s no denying that The Velvet Underground paved the way for alternative rock groups to come.
Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like The Doors
Fans of The Doors who are looking for more vintage rock and psychedelic sounds will find plenty to love in the bands mentioned above.
From the blues-inspired rock sound of The Rolling Stones to lesser-known gems like Jefferson Airplane, these influential acts share similarities with Jim Morrison’s band that can’t be ignored.
Exploring the music of these similar bands is a great way to discover new musical landscapes and cultural icons from bygone eras.
Did we miss a band that has similarities to The Doors? We’d like to know and hear from you!