Today marks the 50th anniversary of the release of The Doors‘ sixth album, L.A. Woman.
L.A. Woman was the last album The Doors recorded with their iconic frontman, Jim Morrison, who died in Paris on July 3, 1971, at age 27.
The album reached #9 on the Billboard 200 chart, and yielded two hit singles, “Love Her Madly” and “Riders on the Storm,” which peaked at #11 and #14, respectively, on Billboard’s Hot 100. Among the record’s other memorable songs is the title track, which remains a classic-rock radio staple.
Doors drummer John Densmore tells ABC Audio that he thought it was brilliant how Morrison “wrote metaphorically of L.A. as a woman” in the song.
John explains that with the L.A. Woman album, The Doors continued their return to their blues roots that began with 1970’s Morrison Hotel, which followed the more orchestrated and layered 1969 release, Soft Parade.
The Doors recorded L.A. Woman at their rehearsal space in Santa Monica, California, in just two weeks.
Regarding the band’s approach to making the album, John recalls, “We purposely just said, ‘We’re not gonna do more than a couple takes on everything. We’re going for the passion."”
Densmore says that “Love Her Madly” was chosen as a single by Jac Holzman, president of The Doors’ label, Elektra, although guitarist Robby Krieger, who penned the tune, though it was too commercial.
After “Love Her Madly” became a hit, the atmospheric, serial-killer-themed “Riders on the Storm” was picked as its follow-up.
Densmore says “Riders” came together while the band was jamming on the old country-western song “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” which, he notes, had the “same kind of moody, mysterious [feel].”
John adds that “Riders” “still gives me chills.”
Here’s L.A. Woman’s full track list:
“Love Her Madly”
“Been Down So Long”
“Cars Hiss by My Window”
“Crawling King Snake”
“The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)”
“Riders on the Storm”
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