Roadhouse Blues (as made famous by The Doors)

“Roadhouse Blues” is a rock song written by Jim Morrison and recorded by the American rock band The Doors. The song, which appeared on the B-side of “You Make Me Real”,[1] was first released as a single from the album Morrison Hotel in March 1970 and peaked at #50 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song quickly became a concert staple for the group.

It took two days to record the song (November 4–5, 1969) with producer Paul A. Rothchild striving for perfection. Several takes from these sessions were included on the new 2006 remastered album. Surprisingly, he does not comment on Morrison, who is apparently intoxicated, “going into full blues singer mode”[2] in the words of engineer Bruce Botnick, improvising and simultaneously flubbing several lyrics and repeating the blues phrase “Money beats soul every time”. The phrase can be found on the When You’re Strange: Music from the Motion Picture soundtrack, with the next track being a live version of “Roadhouse Blues”.

The sessions only took off on the second day, when resident Elektra guitarist Lonnie Mack joined in on bass and ex-Lovin’ Spoonful frontman John Sebastian contributing harmonica (appearing under the pseudonym G. Puglese either out of loyalty to his recording contract[3] or to avoid affiliation with The Doors after the infamous Miami controversy) joined in on the sessions and Manzarek switched from his Wurlitzer electric piano to a tack piano (the same used on The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”).[4] A studio version of the song with John Lee Hooker sharing vocals with Morrison can be found on the Stoned Immaculate: The Music of The Doors album.

A recent misconception states that Mack contributed the guitar solo on the track in addition to bass guitar. Mack himself stated that he had “played bass”.[5] In actuality, guitarist Robbie Krieger is responsible for all guitar parts on “Roadhouse Blues” and Mack’s contribution is limited to bass guitar, as always officially stated; Jim Morrison shouts “Do it, Robby, do it!” (especially audible on the official audio proof of DVD-Audio and SuperAudioCD where the single vocal track can be separated from other instruments) at the start of the guitar solo. The solo on record is representative of Krieger’s fingerstyle playing and is identical to all his Roadhouse Blues solos played in the previous sessions the day before on 5th November 1969. Subsequent interviews with members of The Doors and Rothchild confirm this.

The complete song was fully composed and rehearsed before Lonnie Mack was invited to play bass on “Roadhouse Blues” and “Maggie M’Gill” (Ray Neapolitan, regular bass player during Morrison Hotel sessions, couldn’t arrive on time that day due to a traffic jam). Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robbie Krieger provided additional details about the Roadhouse Blues sessions which are quoted here:

Lonnie sat down in front of the paisley baffles that soak up the sound. A hefty guy with a pencil-thin beard, he had on a wide-brimmed hat that had become his trademark. Lonnie Mack epitomized the blues—not the rural blues, but the city blues; he was bad. “I’ll sing the lyrics for you”, Jim [Morrison] offered meekly. [Morrison] was unusually shy. We all were, because to us, the guitar player we had asked to sit in with us was a living legend.

— John Densmore, Riders On The Storm, Dell, 1990, p. 235
– Bob Cianci: Lonnie Mack played bass on that track, didn’t he? How did that come together?

– Robby Krieger: Lonnie had quit the music business and was actually working for Elektra Records doing something. I know he sold Bibles for a while too. He was around the studio when we were getting ready to record “Roadhouse Blues,” so we asked him to play bass. He did a great job, and got back into music after that.

– Bob Cianci: The Doors always used bass players in the studio, didn’t they?

– Robby Krieger: Yes. Ray and I used to write the bass parts. On the first album, we used Larry Knechtel, the session guy. He passed away recently. On the second and third albums, we used Doug Lubahn from the band Clear Light. On the fourth, Harvey Brooks played bass, and we used Ray Neapolitan (on Morrison Hotel) and Jerry Scheff (on L.A. Woman) on the fifth and sixth albums. Jerry is probably best known for having played in Elvis’s band for years.
— Robbie Krieger, The Doors’ Distinctive Fret Master, Interview by Bob Cianci, February 11, 2010, for Premiere Guitar magazine
Alice Cooper claimed he was the inspiration for the line “Woke up this morning and I got myself a beer”, as stated on his Planet Rock morning show.[citation needed]

A live version appearing later on the posthumous album An American Prayer and that same version again on In Concert and Greatest Hits. During this version, Jim Morrison talks for a short while to a female audience member about his Zodiac sign and, with a sudden, ironic twist that causes the audience to erupt in laughter, denounces his beliefs in it. The song was also featured twice in the movie The Doors; the studio version in the film, and the aforementioned live version over the end credits.

Artists who have recorded cover versions include Deep Purple, Mahogany Rush, Ministry, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Los Lonely Boys. Live covers have been released by Status Quo, Imperiet, Eric Burdon, Eppu Normaali and Creed.

Blue Öyster Cult performed the song on their Extraterrestrial Live album, with Robby Krieger joining the band. The Jeff Healey Band performs the song in the movie Road House.

 

Riders on the Storm (as made famous by The Doors)

“Riders on the Storm” is a song by American psychedelic rock band The Doors. It was released as the second single from their sixth studio album, L.A. Woman (1971), in June 1971. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.,[2] number 22 on the UK Singles Chart,[3] and number 7 in the Netherlands.[4]

“Riders on the Storm” is a psychedelic rock song[5] that according to band member Robby Krieger was inspired by the song “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend”. Also, Jim Morrison mentions spree killer Billy Cook, in passing, during at least one interview. Cook killed six people, including a young family, while hitchhiking to California. In all likelihood, the Cook murders were inspiration for the song’s lyric, “There’s a killer on the road / His brain is squirming like a toad … if you give this man a ride/sweet family will die ;…”

“Riders On the Storm” is played in the E Dorian mode, and incorporates recordings of rain and thunder, along with Ray Manzarek’s Fender Rhodes electric piano playing, which emulates the sound of rain.[6]

The song was recorded at the Doors Workshop in December 1970 with the assistance of Bruce Botnick, their longtime engineer, who was co-producing the recording sessions. Jim Morrison recorded his main vocals and then whispered the lyrics over them to create the echo effect. This was the last song recorded by the members of the Doors, according to Manzarek, as well as Morrison’s last recorded song to be released in his lifetime. The single was released in 1971, shortly before Morrison’s death, entering the Billboard Hot 100 on July 3, 1971, the day that Morrison died.

Many incorrectly believe that this is the song longtime Doors producer Paul A. Rothchild disparaged as “cocktail music”, precipitating his departure from the project. Rothchild actually applied this moniker to “Love Her Madly”. Engineer Bruce Botnick was selected to produce the album instead.

Speaking with Krieger and Manzarek, the philosopher Thomas Vollmer argues that the line “Into this world we’re thrown” recalls Heidegger’s concept of thrownness (human existence as a basic state). In 1963 at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Jim Morrison heard an influential lesson for him, where were discussed philosophers who had a critical look at the philosophical tradition, including Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger.[7]

In 2009, Simon Critchley dedicated his column on The Guardian to Heidegger’s thrownness and explained it using the aforementioned verse of the song.[8]

The connection between the thrownness into the world and a dog’s life was anticipated by the anti-Heideggerian author Ernst Bloch[9] in his main work The Principle of Hope (1954–9).[10]

The band’s drummer John Densmore wrote a 1990 book called Riders on the Storm,[11] detailing the story of his life and his time with the group.

Ray Manzarek and guitarist Roy Rogers covered this song as an instrumental duet on their 2008 album “Ballads Before the Rain”.

In November 2009, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame under the category Rock (track).

The song was among the first songs released for Rock Band 3 as downloadable content.[12][13]

The song, according to an interview with Ray Manzarek, was only performed live twice: on the L.A. Woman tour at the Warehouse in New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 12, 1970, and in Dallas the night before that. Ray said playing those songs was “magic”. This was The Doors’ last public performance with Jim Morrison. It was only the second date of the tour, but was also the last, as the tour was cancelled after this concert.

According to the book FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio by Richard Neer, legendary overnight disc jockey Alison Steele would always play this song on Monday nights if it was raining in the city while she worked at New York City’s WNEW-FM through most of the 1970s.

 

Break on Through (as made famous by The Doors)

“Break On Through (To the Other Side)” is a song by The Doors from their debut album, The Doors. It was the first single released by the band and was unsuccessful compared with later hits, reaching only number 126[2] in the United States. Despite this, it became a concert staple and remains one of the band’s signature and most popular songs.

Twenty-four years after its original US release, “Break On Through” became a minor hit in the UK, peaking at number 64 in the singles chart.

The song appears as track one on the band’s debut album. Elektra Records edited the line “she gets high,” knowing a drug reference would discourage airplay. The original album version and all re-issues until the 1990s have the word “high” deleted, with Morrison singing “she gets” four times before a final wail. Live versions and more recent remastered releases have the full line restored. Regardless, classic rock radio stations, the iTunes release and most compilations continue to use the censored version, as it is the version most familiar to listeners.

The song is in 4/4 time and quite fast-paced.

It begins with a bossa nova drum groove in which a clave pattern is played as a rim click underneath a driving ride cymbal pattern. John Densmore appreciated the new (at the time) bossa nova craze coming from Brazil, so he decided to use it in the song.[3] Robby Krieger has stated that the guitar riff he played was inspired by the one in Paul Butterfield’s version of the song “Shake Your Moneymaker” (originally by blues guitarist Elmore James).[3]

Later, a disjointed quirky organ solo is played quite similar to the introduction of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say”,[4] which has a few intentional misplaced notes in it. The bassline, similar to a typical bass line used in bossa nova, continues almost unhindered all of the way through the song.

Stone Temple Pilots covered the song for The Doors tribute album Stoned Immaculate. Mexican hard rock band La Cuca has done a cover as a hidden track in their album La Racha. Heavy metal supergroup Adrenaline Mob also covered it on their EP Coverta.

When The Doors were featured on an episode of VH1 Storytellers, various guest singers filled in for Jim Morrison. Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland filled in and sang “Break On Through”, along with the song he said inspired him to rock, “Five to One”.

Serbian rock band Night Shift covered the song in 2002 on their debut album Undercovers.

American new wave band Blondie performed the song several times during their 1997–1999 comeback tours. They used it as opener of their first two comeback shows.[5]

British rock band Bush covered the song as a studio version but was never released officially.

Bono sang the chorus of the song during the bridge of U2’s The Electric Co. while being held by an overweight shirtless man during a concert in Paris in 1987. This version can be heard on the album Live from Paris.

Marc Ribot’s three man jazz punk combo Ceramic Dog covered it on their album Party Intellectuals.

In 2014, Noise-Pop duo The Raveonettes sampled the song on the opening track “Endless Sleeper” from the album Pe’ahi.[6]

Most recently, Alice Cooper covered the song with his supergroup Hollywood Vampires on their debut album, released September 11, 2015.

In the Oliver Stone film, The Doors, the song is performed three times; first in Ray Manzarek’s home, then it’s performed live during the band’s early days at the London Fog, and later in the film at the infamous Miami concert, immediately after Jim exposes himself to the audience and is parading through the crowd to evade the police. The third and final performance is paired with “Dead Cats, Dead Rats”, which was often coupled with the song when the band performed it live.
The song is heard in the 1994 film Forrest Gump (along with “Hello, I Love You” and “People Are Strange”) as Forrest takes up ping pong during his tour in Vietnam. “Love Her Madly” and “Soul Kitchen” are also featured in the movie
The song is used in an episode of Miami Vice called “Back in the World”.
Appears in the video game Tony Hawk’s Underground 2.[7]
Featured on one of the trailers for Disney/Pixar’s film Monsters, Inc.
Featured in the trailer for the 2008 film 21.
A remixed version of the song is featured in the video game Burnout Revenge. It was remixed by BT and it is 7:08 long.
Featured in the 2005 film Jarhead.
Featured on The Simpsons during a 4th Season episode when Krusty sings during a flashback to 1973.
The song is used in the music/rhythm game Rock Band 3, with the song being featured in the opening cinematic.
Performed by artist Travis Meeks in November 2002. He had performed with The Doors on Stoned Immaculate: The Music of the Doors (contributing vocals to “L.A. Woman” and “The End”).
The song was used in a mashup as a runway soundtrack for the 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
The song is used as part of a possessed woman’s ranting in the 2014 horror film Deliver Us from Evil.
The song is heard in the 2015 film Minions when the minions are coming to Villain-Con.

Jim Morrison – lead vocals
Ray Manzarek – Vox Continental organ, Fender Rhodes piano bass
Robby Krieger – electric guitar
John Densmore – drums

L.A. Woman (as made famous by The Doors)

“L.A. Woman” is a song by American rock band the Doors. The song is the title track on their 1971 album L.A. Woman, the final album to feature Jim Morrison before his death on 3 July 1971.

In the song’s bridge, Morrison repeats the phrase “Mr. Mojo Risin’,” which is an anagram of “Jim Morrison”.[1]

The song was recorded at The Doors Workshop on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, between December 1970 and January 1971. Morrison recorded his vocal part in the bathroom of the makeshift studio due to the room’s natural reverb. Marc Benno was a second guitarist on the session; Jerry Scheff played electric bass guitar.

The 40th Anniversary edition of the album version begins with a guitar riff of “God Save the Queen”.

In 1985, 14 years after Morrison’s death, Ray Manzarek directed and Rick Schmidlin produced a music video for the song. It was aired on MTV and included in the Doors film Dance on Fire.

A yellow sheet of lined A4 paper with the lyrics of “L.A. Woman” written by Jim Morrison, was auctioned in Berkshire, UK for £13,000 on Aug 4, 2009.[2]

Personnel
Jim Morrison – vocals
Ray Manzarek – Rhodes piano, tack piano
Robby Krieger – lead guitar
Marc Benno – rhythm guitar
Jerry Scheff – bass
John Densmore – drums

Later covers
The Leningrad Cowboys covered the song on their 1988 release 1917–1987.
Billy Idol covered this song on his 1990 album Charmed Life.[3]
A Paul Oakenfold remix of “L.A. Woman” featured in episode #1.02 of Californication.
Jane’s Addiction covered the song as part of the “L.A. Medley” which also contained the songs “Nausea” by the L.A. based punk rock band X and “Lexicon Devil” from Germs.
Particle covered this song with Robby Krieger, the guitarist from the Doors, on their Transformations Live album.
World-music, rock band Days of the New covered the song for the Doors tribute album, Stoned Immaculate: The Music of The Doors.
“Weird Al” Yankovic covered a short segment of the song on his first polka medley, “Polkas on 45”, on his second studio album, “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D.

Touch Me (as made famous by The Doors)

“Touch Me” is a song by The Doors from their album The Soft Parade. Written by Robby Krieger, it is notable for its extensive usage of brass and string instruments as well as a Christmas Music like sound to accent Jim Morrison’s vocals, including a solo by featured saxophonist Curtis Amy. Ray Manzarek played harpsichord and organ on the song; he also interpolated the guitar riff from the 1967 Four Seasons song “C’mon Marianne” in his part. The song is also noted for the last sung line, “stronger than dirt”, which was taken from a 1962 Ajax commercial. The Ajax company sued the Doors for plagiarizing the ad’s trademark tune. The Doors paid the financial damages in a settlement to the Ajax company.

It was released as a single in December 1968 and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in the Cashbox Top 100 in early 1969 (the band’s third American number-one single). The single also did well elsewhere, peaking at #1 in the RPM Canadian Singles Chart and at #10 in the Kent Music Report in Australia. However, despite the band’s commercial success the previous year, “Touch Me” did not chart in the UK Singles Chart.

A remixed version with added bass and compression appeared on a 1974 compilation called Heavy Metal released via Warner Bros. Special Products.

According to Bruce Botnick’s liner notes the song was initially referred to by its various working titles; “I’m Gonna Love You,” from a line in the chorus, or “Hit Me,” a reference to blackjack. The opening line was originally “C’mon, hit me … I’m not afraid,” the line thus reflecting the first person vantage point of a blackjack player.[1] Morrison reportedly[citation needed] changed the lyric out of concern that rowdy crowds at their live shows would mistakenly believe that “hit me” was a challenge to physically assault him.

At the end of the song, Morrison can be heard saying, “Stronger than dirt”, which was the slogan of the Ajax household cleaning company, because the last four notes of “Touch Me” were the same as those in an Ajax commercial and as a mocking criticism of Krieger, John Densmore, and Ray Manzarek wanting to accept an offer from Buick to use “Light My Fire” in a commercial[citation needed]. The deal was aborted when Morrison opposed it. This vocal was omitted on the single version, which was a different mix.