Doors – L.A. Woman

I’m not a huge Doors fan but I do like some of their songs…this one I really like.

This song was the title track to the Door’s last album with Jim Morrison released in April 1971. The remaining members released two more albums, Other Voices and Full Circle, which both sold poorly.

The Doors performed this live only once, in Dallas at the State Fair Music Hall on December 11, 1970. The only live recording of this is on the bootleg If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another. The band wanted to bring more musicians along to simulate the studio sound, but Morrison died before they could launch the tour.

This song wasn’t released as a single. The album peaked at #9 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1971.

Keyboardist Ray Manzarek: “A song about driving madly down the LA freeway – either heading into LA or going out on the 405 up to San Francisco. You’re a beatnik on the road, like Kerouac and Neal Cassady, barreling down the freeway as fast as you can go.”

From Songfacts

“Mr. Mojo Risin'” is an anagram for “Jim Morrison.” He repeats the phrase at the end of the song faster and faster to simulate orgasm. Early blues musicians often referred to their “Mojo,” like in the Muddy Waters song “Got My Mojo Working.”

A mojo is a Hoodoo charm, usually a bag filled with items like roots, lodestone, rattlesnake rattles, alligator teeth, charms, coins – whatever does the trick. Different bags would be used for different purposes: If the bag were red, it would be a mojo for love and you would have to put a personal item, such as hair or bit of clothing in order for the mojo to work. If the mojo were made out of a black bag it would be for death. Many white listeners, including Jim Morrison, thought mojo meant sexual energy, and that is how it’s usually interpreted today, in part due to Austin Powers movies. 

Morrison recorded his vocals in the studio bathroom to get a fuller sound. He spent a lot of time in there anyway because of all the beer he drank during the sessions.

The Doors needed extra musicians to record this. Jerry Sheff (famous for his work with Elvis Presley) was brought in to play bass, Marc Benno to play guitar. Sheff and Benno were going to tour with the band, but Morrison’s death canceled those plans.

Morrison got the idea for the “City of Night” lyric from John Rechy’s 1963 book of the same name. The book describes a sordid world of sexual perversion, which Morrison translated to Los Angeles.

They put this together in the studio and recorded it live with no overdubs. It came together surprisingly well. Guitarist Robby Krieger has called it “the quintessential Doors song.”

The first line, “Well, I did a little down about an hour ago,” is a reference to a barbituate, specifically Rorer 714.

Billy Idol covered this on his 1990 album Charmed Life, his version hitting #52 in the US. Idol was in the 1991 Oliver Stone movie The Doors, but had to take a smaller role because of a 1990 motorcycle accident that limited his mobility.

At a press conference to promote the album, Idol explained that he had been playing “L.A. Woman” for years and was a big fan of the song. He would often use it to audition new band members.

The Doors produced this album with Bruce Botnick. Paul Rothchild, who produced their first five albums, did not want to work on this because he didn’t like the songs. He produced an album for Janis Joplin instead.

In 2000, the surviving members of the Doors taped a VH1 Storytellers episode with guest vocalists filling in for Morrison. Perry Farrell, formerly of Jane’s Addiction, sang on this.

Doors drummer John Densmore said in the The Story of L.A. Woman documentary: “The metaphor for the city as a woman is brilliant: cops in cars, never saw a woman so alone – great stuff. It’s metaphoric, the physicality of the town and thinking of her and how we need to take care of her, it’s my hometown.”

Ray Manzarek put his UCLA film studies to use when he made a video for this song that was issued on a collection of Doors material called R-Evolution in 1985. To make the video, Manzarek combined archive footage of the band with new material he shot in Venice Beach, California. The actress Krista Errickson stars as the “LA Woman”; the male lead is John Doe of the band X – Manzarek produced their first four albums and directed two of their videos.

L.A. Woman

Well, I just got into town about an hour ago
Took a look around, see which way the wind blow
Where the little girls in their Hollywood bungalows

Are you a lucky little lady in the city of light
Or just another lost angel, city of night
City of night, city of night, city of night, woo, c’mon

L.A. woman, L.A. woman
L.A. woman Sunday afternoon
L.A. woman Sunday afternoon
L.A. woman Sunday afternoon
Drive through your suburbs
Into your blues, into your blues, yeah
Into your blue-blue blues
Into your blues, ohh, yeah

I see your hair is burnin’
Hills are filled with fire
If they say I never loved you
You know they are a liar
Drivin’ down your freeways
Midnight alleys roam
Cops in cars, the topless bars
Never saw a woman
So alone, so alone
So alone, so alone

Motel money murder madness
Let’s change the mood from glad to sadness

Mister mojo risin’, mister mojo risin’
Mister mojo risin’, mister mojo risin’
Got to keep on risin’
Mister mojo risin’, mister mojo risin’
Mojo risin’, gotta mojo risin’
Mister mojo risin’, gotta keep on risin’
Risin’, risin’
Gone risin’, risin’
I’m gone risin’, risin’
I gotta risin’, risin’
Well, risin’, risin’
I gotta, wooo, yeah, risin’
Woah, ohh yeah

Well, I just got into town about an hour ago
Took a look around, see which way the wind blow
Where the little girls in their Hollywood bungalows

Are you a lucky little lady in the city of light
Or just another lost angel, city of night
City of night, city of night, city of night, woah, c’mon

L.A. woman, L.A. woman
L.A. woman, your my woman
Little L.A. woman, little L.A. woman
L.A. L.A. woman woman
L.A. woman c’mon

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

58 thoughts on “Doors – L.A. Woman”

      1. Did you see Eddie Vedder sing for them? He sounded great…it showed what they could have sounded like if they would have tried back then.

        Like

      2. Doc was his most well-known part, then Morrison, then Iceman. He was a scene stealer. He definitely studied the Kentucky accent. He was a great method actor. It seems that, after Wonderland (playing John Holmes), he went obscure.

        I saw him interviewed on Letterman or Leno. Talk about NO personality. He could barely carry on a conversation. I don’t think he knows what to do with himself unless he is in a character.

        Speaking of method actors, I remember reading or hearing someone interviewing Will Smith after Suicide Squad. They asked him about Jared Leto (The Joker). He said “I never met him.” Leto STAYED in character. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Kilmer seems to be getting better…something was wrong with him for a while I think medically.
        Leto’s joker was the worse I’ve ever seen…yea the guy is out there.

        Like

    1. You know I like them all…great musicians…Jim is not my favorite but I love the musicianship of the others…but saying that…I do like some of their albums and songs.

      Like

  1. I had a lot of friends that took downers, mostly seconals, barbiturates that we called reds, because of the color of the pills, but I was not unfamiliar with the quaalude Rorer 714. In fact I had a combination lock that opened with 773 and I always remembered it because I associated it with taking a quaalude and waiting an hour for it to kick in, thus 714 + 60 = 774.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t grow up until the 80s…I normally didn’t really do drugs but the drug I would have tried is a quaalude…and guess what? They banned the damn things as soon as I got of age to know.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have this album…I really liked it.
      You know…I always wondered why they didn’t seek another singer. I know it was Jim Morrison but the band helped write those songs…they were an excellent band.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same reason INXS & Alice in Chains fell to the wayside…certain sound. The Doors never had another voice like Chicago or Little River Band. INXS tried to move on with another singer and they still disappeared. Hell, Led Zeppelin just stopped for years after Bonham’s death. I think what touring they do now is with Jason.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They only did that 2007 show with Jason… Well the Doors possibly could have gotten by with it a little easier because it was an earlier time and they were only together for 3-4 years.
        Not many bands can do it though…but some have…Van Halen and Black Sabbath

        Like

      3. Yeah! Van Haggar! And, speaking of Bon Scott, earlier, AC/DC pulled it off. Now, Journey has had multiple singers but, they have tried to keep the “Perry Pitch”, working hard to find sound-alike singers.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yea Styx or Journey don’t count…lol because they are only tribute bands now…AC/DC and the others were in their prime and kept going.

        Like

      5. Yes they have…if these bands that are just under the radar now could rise up…we would have some good bands to listen to…in mass appeal

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Hard to believe they sold more with him…now he is a better musican and singer probably…I just didn’t like them as much…I’m not a Van Halen fan but the stuff I like is with Roth…he is a showman…I will give him that.

        Like

      7. I never got into Van Hagar. Roth was their sound. Sammy was great on his own. With them, he wasn’t Sammy…he was Roth 2.0, badly written.

        I wasn’t fond of Roth’s solo material. His magic was with Van Halen.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. If you ever get a chance…read Sammy’s book “Red.” I’m not a fan of his music much but he is a funny guy…and pretty honest it seems.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good song, coincidentally it came on car radio two days ago (not one radio plays much around here) and I listened to it with “new ears” so to speak after not hearing it for a few years. Great work but it struck me if I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have thought it was the doors, it sounded so unlike their early stuff… even Jim’s voice has taken on a different, gruffer, more mature quality.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know if you have seen the doc on David Crosby- Remember My Name- it’s well worth watching.. he mentions not liking The Doors and called Morrison ‘a dork”– I agree with Crosby! … Off Topic- No trade now with Angels? They can sent Pederson to the Pirates!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do want to watch that…a Dork lol.

        What gets me Hans is they weren’t getting much in return. Stripling is a good 4th possibly 3rd pitcher also. It might be because Joc only hits right handed pitchers but he is worth it. The guy has all kinds of power… I’m sure they are looking now.

        Like

    1. Yea he was over the top to say the least…out there. I went through a Doors phase but it ended quickly. I do like some stuff.
      Kilmer did to a good job of him.

      Like

      1. Yep. I was a serious fan of them. He had that “sound”, that voice.

        I think he had been dead for about two weeks when they found him. Heroin addict. He was interviewed shortly before his death. He knew he was in bad shape…talked about not have control of his bowels, couldn’t eat… People mourn loudly over Cobain but, Layne was a huge loss, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve a lot of memories associated with The Doors. I loved their music but didn’t get to see them, which was a real pain as they played at my favourite venue (The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, in London) on a day I couldn’t go! L.A. Woman is one of my favourites of theirs. Yep, Jim Morrison was undoubtedly a complete shit, but the band worked well with him in it. It may be, I suspect, that they did better in the UK than in America – they were certainly very popular here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seeing them live on video is not like seeing them live in person of course but when they were on they were a great band. If Morrison was focused on a certain night…they were great.
      I’ve read about the Roundhouse and how it was restored.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm… the restored Roundhouse is not the greatest thing (well, not if you were there in its earlier days as a venue.) I’m hoping to do a post about it one day in another blog I have. If I do, would you like a link to it?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I sure would. It’s so nice to talk to people like you who were there. This is the reason I started to blog in the first place. I’ll be looking forward to it. They always need to leave some of the past in it while remodeling and many times they don’t.

        I live near the Ryman Auditorium and it was restored. They did a good job on that one. They didn’t modernize it too much. They kept the classic things about it.
        I saw Ringo there a few years ago.

        Like

      3. Thanks – and you! That auditorium near you is amazing. Looks good! I used to live close to the Finsbury Park Astoria which became The Rainbow, where the Beatles played, amongst others. I wish I’d seen them then (or any time really!) but I was probably too young, or at least my parents thought so! I saw The Who there twice. It has a sort of Moorish-style decor in part of it, which I think was kept, but in the 1990s it was taken over by a church.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh the Rainbow…that is where Eric Clapton played with Pete Townshend in the 70s. I’ve heard some of that and loved it. One difference between there and America…America will demolish most buildings. I’m glad they are at least standing there.

        Ok…you just metioned my 2nd favorite band of all time! You have seen the Who with Keith Moon on drums!
        I saw them twice but Keith was long gone. when I saw them.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yeah, it’s a shame you missed Keith – great drummer – and madman! I saw your post of your dream of him. 🙂

        The UK’s also demolished/demolishes a lot of buildings, usually to make way for ugly replacements. When I look now at Google Streetview at places in London that I used to know, I barely recognise them anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Of all the people I wish I could have met…Keith and John Lennon would be at the top. Loved Keith’s drumming.

        That is sad. Very ugly replacements that have no personality. Houses, cars, and buildings tend look all the same now…I liked the personality of past decades.

        I read that the Chelsea Drug Store is a McDonalds now. That really made me sad…and Carnaby Street looks like streets here now. Gone are the polka dots and different designs.

        I do have a goal of going over there one day.

        Like

      7. Yes, sadly it’s now a McDonalds. I used to go there to buy posters (there was a huge room in the basement that sold them). And I still have a small roll of Melinex (which I used to have on my bedroom wall in the late 60, early 70s) because I fell in love with it on the walls there!

        I’ve some posts you’ll like. I’ll fish out the links and give them to you in a new reply to your comment on my blog, shortly.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I remember seeing it A Clockwork Orange as the record shop and other pictures…I loved the building design.

        I would really appreciate that.

        Like

      9. The record shop was really there, like that. I look at the clips from that film from time to time. Clockwork Orange… a movie I saw several times. Don’t think I’d watch it again.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Every few years I watch it…it’s unlike any other movie…it is on the disturbing side.
        That record shop looked really cool. I thought it had to be staged the first time I saw it in the movie.

        Like

      11. Nope, just as it was – long run of these gothic-arched-looking areas of the counter, all round the room. Circular room or at least curved room from what I recall.

        Definitely unlike any other movie. I saw your post on it a few minutes ago and agree that it definitely wouldn’t be made these days. Can you imagine the hysteria there’d be over it?! There was some even then, but not as bad as there would be now.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s