Morrison Hotel (sometimes referred to as Hard Rock Café from the title of the first side of the LP, whose second side is titled Morrison Hotel) is The Doors' fifth album. It was released in 1970. After their experimental work The Soft Parade was not as well-received as anticipated, the group went back to basics and back to their roots. On this album, there is a slight steer toward blues, which would be fully explored by the band on their next album, L.A. Woman. The strategy worked; even though no major hit singles were drawn from the album, Morrison Hotel reestablished The Doors as favorites of the critics, peaking at #4 on the US album chart, and when they followed with L.A. Woman the next year, they were rewarded with two more US Top 20 hits. The album also became the band's highest charting studio album in the UK, where it peaked at #12.
Additional musicians include John Sebastian (credited as "G. Puglese," for contractual reasons) on harmonica and Lonnie Mack on bass and guitar.
The cover photo was taken at the actual Morrison Hotel located at 1246 South Hope Street in Los Angeles. The band asked the owners if they could photograph the hotel and they declined, so the band went inside when nobody was looking and took the photograph. The rear cover features a photograph of the Hard Rock Café on 300 East 5th Street, Los Angeles. The founders of the later and otherwise unrelated Hard Rock Cafe chain used the name, having seen it on the Doors' album. The original cafe is no longer open for business.
"Indian Summer (Morrison/Krieger)" (Outtake from The Doors' debut album sessions; recorded late August 1966)
"Maggie M'Gill (Morrison/Doors)"
40th Anniversary CD bonus tracks
"Roadhouse Blues" (Takes 1–3, recorded November 4, 1969)
"Roadhouse Blues" (Take 6, recorded November 4, 1969)
"Roadhouse Blues" (Take 1, recorded November 5, 1969)
"Money Beats Soul"
"Roadhouse Blues" (Takes 13–15, recorded November 5, 1969)
"Peace Frog" (False Starts & Dialogue)
"The Spy" (Version 2)
"Queen of the Highway" (Jazz Version)
The 40th anniversary reissues were completely remixed along with being remastered. This practice extended to incorporating vocal and instrumental components which were not part of the original album. As Ray Manzarek said, "There are background vocals by Jim Morrison, piano parts of mine that weren't used, and guitar stingers and solos by Robby Krieger that never made the original recordings, that can now be heard for the first time."
Morrison Hotel was, upon its release, seen by many as a comeback for the Doors following the critical failure of The Soft Parade and the Miami incident of 1969. Dave Marsh, the editor of Creem magazine, said of the album that it was: "the most horrifying rock and roll I have ever heard. When they're good, they're simply unbeatable. I know this is the best record I've listened to ... so far", while Rock Magazine called it "without any doubt their ballsiest (and best) album to date".Circus Magazine praised it as "possibly the best album yet from the Doors" and "Good hard, evil rock, and one of the best albums released this decade".
In the episode "Nobody Knows the Trubel I've Seen" of the television show "Grimm" Captain Sean Renard is shown through a window at the beginning of the episode drinking at a bar named Morrisson Hotel that recreates the cover of the album. The bar recreates the lettering and design of the window of Morrison Hotel.