Strange Days


Strange Days was the second album by The Doors, released in October 1967. It’s the album that veers the closest to what people think of today as a psychedelic sound—which puts it in my favour—and is also unique in the group’s catalogue for minimising their presence on the gatefold sleeve, something Jim Morrison was always eager to do even as the record company were trying to turn him into a pop star.


The cover photo by Joel Brodsky of street performers was intended to be reminiscent of a scene from Fellini. For years I was under the impression that this street was European, it certainly doesn’t look typically American, so it was a surprise to read earlier today that the location is Sniffen Court, a small mews in the heart of New York City. New York or not, I’ve always wanted to live in a place like this. You can keep your gardens and empty lawns, I’d be quite happy to see those wonderfully eroded flagstones every day. Contemporary views of Sniffen Court show that much of its atmosphere on the cover derives solely from Joel Brodsky’s skill at capturing the light as it reflects from the paving stones. The place today looks neater, cleaner and a lot less attractive, but that’s not too surprising for a historic area in one of the most expensive cities on earth.



Sniffen Court, NYC, in 2012. The plaques at the rear were sculpted by Malvina Hoffman.

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