|Single by The Doors|
|from the album Morrison Hotel|
|A-side||"You Make Me Real"|
|Recorded||November 4–5, 1969|
|Genre||Blues rock, boogie rock, hard rock|
|Writer(s)||Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore|
|Producer||Paul A. Rothchild|
|The Doors singles chronology|
"Roadhouse Blues" is a rock song written and recorded by the American rock band The Doors. The song, which appeared on the B-side of "You Make Me Real", 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, a live version appearing later on the posthumous album An American Prayer and that same version, which has been called "probably one of the best live performances of any song", 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. The line "Woke up this morning and I got myself a beer" was inspired by Alice Cooper as stated on his Planet Rock morning show.
According to the book, Light My Fire by Ray Manzarek, a bandmate of Morrison's, the song refers to Morrison's waking after an alleged three weeks of drug-induced sleep and the actual lyric sung is "woke up this morning and I got myself a beard".
The song took two days to record (November 4–5, 1969) with the producer Paul A. Rothchild striving for perfection. Several takes from these sessions were included on the new 2006 remastered album. Rothchild can be heard instructing the band members on their musicianship, notably when he exclaims to Robby Krieger about his introductory guitar riff that "we're going to the roadhouse, Robby, not the bathroom!" Surprisingly, he does not comment on Morrison, who is apparently intoxicated, "going into full blues singer mode" 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 harmonicist John Sebastian (appearing under the pseudonym G. Puglese out of loyalty to his recording contract or to avoid affiliation with The Doors after the 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"). Morrison's shout of "Do it, Lonnie! Do it!" just before the guitar solo is often misquoted as "Do it, Robby! Do it!" (Robby Krieger).
Mack had borrowed Krieger's guitar to develop some blues guitar lines. Mack also played the lead guitar solo on the track, but was only credited as bassist, so as to not embarrass Krieger. Krieger copied some of Mack's lines in later takes. It is unknown which take of "Roadhouse" made the final cut.
Status Quo discovered The Doors' version whilst touring Germany in 1970, and it quickly became an integral part of the band's setlist, fitting their change in musical direction. Their arrangement added an additional verse and featured slightly different lyrics. A studio version appeared on the album Piledriver, while a live version appeared on the album Live!. The band still perform the song regularly today.
Blue Öyster Cult performed the song on their Extraterrestrial Live album, with Robby Krieger joining the band. Creed played the song at Woodstock '99 and were joined on stage by Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. This version of the song was released on a bonus version of the Creed album Human Clay. The song was also covered by Mahogany Rush on the What's Next album. Ministry performed a cover on their final album, The Last Sucker. The Jeff Healey Band performs the song in the movie Road House. Frankie Goes To Hollywood cover it on the b-side of their 1986 single "Rage Hard". Elkie Brooks covered the song on her 2005 album Electric Lady. Robby Krieger joined Stone Temple Pilots at the House of Blues in 2000 for a performance of this song. He again joined STP onstage on March 18, 2010 to play the song as the encore for STP's performance at the SXSW music festival at the Austin Music Hall. STP frontman Scott Weiland also performed live covers of it with Velvet Revolver.
The song was played by the surviving Doors and Eddie Vedder at The Doors' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1993. In addition, a bootleg recording of this song performed by Vedder and others surfaced in 2001.
The jam-bluegrass group Railroad Earth covered the song twice during the summer of 2008, once at High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, California, and again at Yarmony Grass in Copper Mountain, Colorado. The latter performance featured over 20 musicians on stage, including most of the members of the jam band The String Cheese Incident. They also covered the song in December 2009 at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, and in May 2010 at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Swedish band Imperiet have also done a cover of "Roadhouse Blues" at a concert at Orionteatern in Stockholm in 1985.
It was in the stage repertoire of Eric Burdon from 1989 to 1998. He performed it also with Robby Krieger in 1990 and 1991. A live version he recorded with the Brian Auger band was released on "Access All Areas" in 1993. Live versions he recorded with his "I band" were released on Official Live Bootleg#1 and with his "New Animals" on the DVD Live at the Coachhouse.
Finnish rock band Eppu Normaali has covered the song on their 1980 live album Elävänä Euroopassa.
The Crystal Method did a remix of "Roadhouse Blues". It can be found on their albums Community Service II and Drive: Nike + Original Run. It was featured also in the short-lived TV show Drive. In 2010, it was used as the promotional song for the third season of FX's Sons of Anarchy.
- The Doors Discography. 60s Web Radio.
- "Billboard Singles". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
- The Doors. Jack Feeny Reviews.
- The Doors, Morrison Hotel Remastered Liner Notes, Page 1, Bruce Botnick, 2006
- The Doors, Morrison Hotel Remastered Liner Notes, Page 7, David Frickle, 2006
- The Doors, Morrison Hotel Remastered Liner Notes, Page 3, Bruce Botnick, 2006
- Fresh Air from WHYY, July 31, 2008 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93120157
- Topanga Corral, the site of the Roadhouse venue that served as the inspiration for the song
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics