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12.16-RIDERS ON THE STORM (Doors)

Doors

LISTEN

[Intro]

Riders on the storm (2x)
Into this house we're born,
Into this world we're thrown.
Like a dog without a bone,
An actor out on loan,
Riders on the storm.

There's a killer on the road,
His brain is squirmin' like a toad.
Take a long holiday,
Let your children play.
If you give this man a ride,
Sweet memory will die.
Killer on the road.

[Break]

Girl, ya gotta love your man. (2x)
Take him by the hand,
Make him understand:
The world on you depends.
Our life will never end.
Gotta love your man.

[Break]

[Repeat 1st verse]

Riders on the storm (4x)

[Coda]


Like the Rolling Stones, The Doors had more or less abandoned psychedelic music by 1968. The only exception was a poor pastiche of a track in 1969 called The Soft Parade. Instead, they had moved in their last two albums toward roots rock and the blues. L.A. Woman would be the last album The Doors recorded with Jim Morrison before his death. Riders on the Storm, the last cut on L.A. Woman, would be the last song the original group would record together. Like the Stones, the psychedelic cut was saved for the last track of an album that had little do with psychedelia.

The song features musique concrete with the use of thunder and hard rain throughout the track. Ray Manzarek sometimes imitates the falling rain on electric piano. The melody Morrison sings is childlike, which makes some of the darker lyrics creepier. He double tracked his voice with a whisper to add a further eerie feeling. By this time the world knew about the Charles Manson murders, and the lyric about the “killer on the road” out hitch hiking tended to evoke him. [The freedom of hitchhiking, the way most of the American hippies probably got to San Francisco, was beginning to be snuffed out by fear, and after the first fuel crisis in 1973, by greed: “Ass, Grass, or Gas” became the slogan on bumper stickers in the mid-1970s. By the end of the decade the widespread practice among American (usually White) youth had been snuffed out for the most part.] Morrison generally speaks the lyrics instead of singing them, breaking into melody only on the final repetitive chorus.

The rest of the Doors accompany Morrison in a laid back fashion, without a bit of flash, and without intensity or excitement, only a touch of tremolo on the electric guitar. The chord structure bears some resemblance to Bass Strings by Country Joe and the Fish. The lyric’s contemplation of the meaning—or lack thereof—of life and death (“an actor out on loan”) sounds as if it takes place at a cocktail lounge, with extensive breaks that fail to hold the attention and push the song dreamily into extended play of over seven minutes.

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