Doug Lubahn, Bass Player on Many Doors Recordings, Dies

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Doug Lubahn, a bass guitarist who performed on many of The Doors’ recordings, has died at 71. The Doors announced the musician and songwriter’s death on their various social media platforms on Nov. 24, 2019, though he died on Nov. 20.

Lubahn, often credited as Douglass Lubahn, performed on many of the songs on the Doors’ Strange DaysWaiting For the Sun and The Soft Parade albums, including such classic rock favorites as “People Are Strange,” “Love Me Two Times” “Hello, I Love You.”

It was a chance meeting, several years earlier, that led to his prominent recording career. In 1965, while working as a ski instructor in Aspen, Colo., Lubahn met Cass Elliot in her pre-Mamas and the Papas days. She persuaded the fledgling musician, still in his late teens, to move to Los Angeles if he was truly interested in pursuing a career.

Lubahn made the move and by 1967, producer Paul Rothchild, whom he had worked with on a band project, Clear Light, recommended him to The Doors when they were preparing to enter the recording studio to record their second album, Strange Days. Lubahn subsequently performed on seven of the album’s 10 tracks alongside the band’s Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger, and John Densmore, including the hit singles “People Are Strange” and “Love Me Two Times.”

Listen to “Love Me Two Times” with your eyes closed and pay attention to Lubahn’s bass guitar

For 1968’s Waiting For the Sun, with Rothchild again producing, Lubahn performed on all but one of the album’s 11 tracks, including the #1 single, “Hello, I Love You.”

Doug Lubahn (Uncredited photo via The Doors’ Facebook page)

A year later, with Rothchild still producing, Lubahn played on three of the songs for The Soft Parade.

Related: A 50th anniversary edition of The Soft Parade was released in 2019

In subsequent years, Lubahn was a member of several bands including Pierce Arrow and Riff Raff. He also co-founded the influential jazz-rock band Dreams. In the ’80s, he performed on albums by Billy Squier and Ted Nugent.

Lubahn’s biggest credit as a songwriter is “Treat Me Right,” a hit by Pat Benatar on her 1980 smash album, Crimes of Passion. His song, “Talk to Me,” was included on the 1984 album, Warrior, by Scandal featuring Patty Smyth.

Lubahn was born on December 20, 1947. In 2007, he authored a book, My Days With The Doors and Other Stories.

Best Classic Bands Staff

11 Comments so far

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  1. Jay
    #1 Jay 24 November, 2019, 16:32

    He also was in clear light and formed dreams!

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  2. Zero a black and white film
    #2 Zero a black and white film 24 November, 2019, 20:09

    Rest in piece. I have often wondered who played bass when Ray wasn’t providing the sound. Also, nice to read a well written article for a change. Most are pre-fab thrown together net gibberish garbage.

    I will be buying the book. The Doors are icons and I thank each member for their timeless music and artistic contributions.

    Reply this comment
    • juepucta
      juepucta 25 November, 2019, 04:04

      Larry Scheff did a lot of the studio bass playing too (went on to play w Elvis after among many things – his kids are musicians too).

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      • vpbass
        vpbass 25 November, 2019, 21:14

        Jerry Scheff. His son Jason was the long time bassist and vocalist with Chicago.

        Reply this comment
    • JK
      JK 27 November, 2019, 17:08

      One of the Doors albums credits him with, ‘occasional bass’ – as an in-joke Billy Squier gave him the same credit on Emotions In Motion.

      Reply this comment
  3. Bart
    #3 Bart 24 November, 2019, 20:48

    RIP Douglass Lubahn. Thank you for the great bass lines while playing with America’s premier rock-n-roll band The Doors!

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    • Jack
      Jack 25 November, 2019, 05:15

      Bart, well said! Wonder if Doug got to tour with The Doors?
      I heard there was a bass player at most shows behind the stage…. Take care, Jack

      Reply this comment
  4. Pat
    #4 Pat 25 November, 2019, 07:09

    “Treat Me Right” was the Benatar track. Remember his bass lines from the Squier albums – had no idea of his Doors beginnings. Godspeed Doug.

    Reply this comment
  5. RobNY
    #5 RobNY 25 November, 2019, 07:46

    Just a correction: The song he wrote was Treat Me Right, not Her.

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  6. Big O
    #6 Big O 7 June, 2022, 16:24

    I’m an old musician and a huge doors fan. I never could fathom a kick pedal base going out those licks while playing the keyboard at the same time and the range of the baselines could not the present on kick battles so I always was suspect of a live basis on these recordings. May the real rock and roll days live on forever.

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