L.A. Woman

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L.A. Woman
Studio album by The Doors
Released April 19, 1971 (1971-04-19)
Recorded December 1970 – January 1971 at The Doors' Workshop in Los Angeles, CA
Genre Blues rock, psychedelic rock
Length 48:24
Label Elektra
Producer The Doors, Bruce Botnick
The Doors chronology
Morrison Hotel
(1970)
L.A. Woman
(1971)
Other Voices
(1971)
Singles from L.A. Woman
  1. "Love Her Madly"/"(You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further""
    Released: March 1971
  2. "Riders on the Storm"/"The Changeling"
    Released: June 1971

L.A. Woman is the sixth studio album by American rock band, The Doors, and was released on April 19, 1971 on Elektra Records (see 1971 in music). The album was the last to feature the group's lead singer, Jim Morrison, who unexpectedly died at the age of 27 three months following the album's release. It saw the band continue to integrate elements of blues rock back into their music, a trend they set with their past album, Morrison Hotel. In addition, it saw long-time record producer Paul A. Rothchild depart from group activities, after a fallout involving the band's musical direction. He was replaced by the Doors' sound engineer, Bruce Botnick, following his departure.[1]

Upon release, the album peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200[2] and reached number 88 on the UK Albums Charts[3] It was preceded by "Love Her Madly" single in March 1971, which reached the Top 20 in the Billboard Hot 100. An additional single in support of the album, "Riders on the Storm", was also released to success on the Billboard singles charts, and managed to chart in the UK Singles Chart. Music critics Richie Unterberger and David Quantick have both noted that L.A. Woman is arguably one of the Doors' best albums, citing Morrison's unwavering enthusiasm in his vocal performance, and the return to the band's stripped-down, blues rock roots.[4][5]

Background[edit]

The Doors returned to their blues rock origins, following the criticism stemming from their album, The Soft Parade. Morrison Hotel, marked the band's change in musical direction, noted in a Jazz & Pop magazine review which stated the album was "A return to the tight fury of early Doors music".[6] For the album, the band continued along the lines of the music featured in Morrison Hotel, attempting to avoid the complex orchestration that The Soft Parade centered around.[7] However, early into recordings for L.A. Woman, Rothchild, who had guided the band through five albums, exited from further developments. Rothchild found himself in conflict with the band's musical direction, and the issue spilled over while they were conducting rehearsals. According to Rothchild, Robby Krieger's composition, "Love Her Madly", was "the song that drove me out of the studio". Rothchild felt that The Doors were not taking the recordings seriously enough, with Morrison being late to the sessions, and the lack of enthusiasm from the rest of the band. John Densmore later admitted that the group performed poorly in the rehearsals, but stated that they later improved upon their issues when Rothchild left.[7] From that point on, the Doors co-produced the album along with their sound engineer, Botnick.[8]

In the final stages of recording, the Doors embarked on a brief tour that only included two scheduled performances. On December 12, 1970, the band performed for the last time with Morrison in New Orleans, Louisiana at a venue known as the Warehouse. The previous concert was completed with no issue, however, at the Warehouse, Morrison failed to recall the lyrics to the last song of the set list, "The End", and, in frustration, left the mic stand to sit on the drum set. After a nudging by Densmore, Morrison walked to the mic, and repeatedly smashed it onto the stage, until it splintered and Morrison abruptly left.[9] In an account by Ray Mazerak he said "[Jim] put his arm around Vince [Treanor]'s shoulder and just stood there, at the mic, looking out at the audience as we finished the final chorus of 'The End.' We would never play that song with Jim Morrison ever again." It was reported before going on stage, Morrison drank a whole case of beer and ingested opium.[10] Following the cut-short performance, the band mutually decided further touring was impractical, making the two concerts the only live showings of the band's new material.[9] A manager and accountant of the venue, George Freidman claims to be in possession of a two-track soundboard recording of the concert, and plans to eventually release the recordings at an unspecified time.[10][11]

After Rothchild's departure, the Doors and Botnick organized their two-story Doors Workshop building at 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, California into a makeshift recording studio. This enabled the band to construct a more comforting and relaxed setting, while avoiding the expenses of recording in an Elektra studio. A mixing console, previously owned by Elektra, was installed into the upstairs of the Workshop, while studio monitors, microphones, and keyboards were set downstairs. To compensate for the lack of an insolated vocal booth, Morrison recorded within the facility's bathroom with the same microphone used on The Door's latest tour.[12] Again, the band initated the sessions without prepared material, so they were required to compose tracks, mainly through jam sessions, in the studio. A common theme within the compositions pertained to life in Los Angeles, and, by extension, the US. Morrison, unlike on past recording sessions, appeared on time, and reduced his alcohol consumption; however, he was coughing more than usual as Morrison had not yet fully recovered from the pneumonia he was suffering from since the spring of 1970.[8]

For recording, the Doors hired Elvis Presley's bassist, Jerry Scheff, and rhythm guitarist, Marc Benno to round out their sound.[8] Scheff, in particular, became a staple in the studio as he performed on every track except "L' America". The songs were completed in a few takes on 8-track, almost spontaneously, and, overall, the album was finished within six days. The change in pace boasted a positive effect on Morrison, who disliked having to conduct several takes. With vocals being recorded simultaneously as the instrumentals, Morrison was consistently involved. Most of the album had a raw, live sound with few overdubs, aside from the keyboards played by Ray Manzarek. As Botnick stated, "The overall concept for the recording session was to go back to our early roots and try to get everything live in the studio with as few overdubs as possible".[7][13] Mixing for the album was completed at Poppy Studios between February and March 1971 by which time Morrison had relocated to Paris, France.[14]

Release[edit]

L.A. Woman was released on April 19, 1971 on the Elektra label (stereo EKS 75011).[15] It peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200, during a stay of 36 weeks and reached number 88 in the UK, spending one week on the UK Albums Charts.[2][3] The album's front cover was intially released to the US and UK with curved-corner sleeves and embossed text.[16] Photography was credited to Wendell Hamick. According to Jac Holzman, then the president of Elektra Records, "I wasn't sure there would be another album ever, so I had Bill Harvey create a collector's cover. The Doors' faces were printed on clear film. The backing color of the inner sleeve could be changed and would affect the mood of the package. This is the first album on which Jim is bearded. His photo is on the right, no bigger, no smaller than the others, just another guy in the band".[17] Three months following the album's release, Morrison was found dead on July 3, 1971. There had been discussions between Morrison and the band for future recording, however he never had the opportunity to return to the US to take part in possible developments.[18][19]

The album was preceded by the "Love Her Madly" single, which was released in March 1971 and charted at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a stay of 11 weeks, but failed to chart in the UK. An additional single taken from the album, "Riders on the Storm", was released in June 1971, and reached number 14 on the Billboard chart, while managing to peak at number 22 in the UK chart.[2][3]

Botnick later produced and mixed a new 5.1 Surround version of the album, which was released on DVD-Audio on December 19, 2000. It was produced from the original eight-track analog 1" master tapes.[20]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[21]
Robert Christgau A–[22]
Rolling Stone favorable[23]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide 5/5 stars[24]
Slant 3.5/5 stars[25]

In 2003, L.A. Woman was ranked at 362 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[26] When the list was revised in 2012, to accommodate a number of albums released since 2003, the album was repositioned at number 364.[27]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by The Doors (Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore), except where stated. 

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "The Changeling" (written by Jim Morrison) 4:21
2. "Love Her Madly" (written by Robby Krieger; the 40th Anniversary Mix includes a longer fade-out making it 3:38) 3:20
3. "Been Down So Long" (written by Jim Morrison) 4:41
4. "Cars Hiss by My Window" (written by Jim Morrison; the 40th Anniversary Mix includes an additional verse making it 4:58) 4:12
5. "L.A. Woman" (written by Morrison; the 40th Anniversary Mix includes the guitar intro "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (Samuel Francis Smith, Thomas Arne) making it 7:59) 7:49
Side B
No. Title Length
6. "L'America"   4:37
7. "Hyacinth House" (written by Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison) 3:11
8. "Crawling King Snake" (Anon, arr John Lee Hooker) 5:00
9. "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" (written by Jim Morrison) 4:16
10. "Riders on the Storm" (The 40th Anniversary Mix has a shorter fadeout during the storm) 7:09

Personnel[edit]

The Doors
Additional musicians
Technical

Chart positions[edit]

Album
Year Chart Position
1971 Pop Albums 9
Singles
1972 L.A. Woman / Riders on The Storm UK Position
1971 "Love Her Madly"
B-side: "(You Need Meat) Don't Go No Further"
Pop Singles 11
1971 "Riders on the Storm"
B-side: "Changeling"
Pop Singles 14

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[28] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[29] 3× Platinum 300,000^
France (SNEP)[30] 2× Platinum 600,000*
Australia (ARIA)[31] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[32] Platinum 100,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[33] Gold 25,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[34] Gold 25,000x
Germany (BVMI)[35] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[36] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Discography - L.A. Woman". thedoors.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Doors - Chart Positionings". billboard.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "DOORS - Official Charts". officialcharts.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ Richie Unterberger. "L.A. Woman - Review". allmusic.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  5. ^ David Quantick. "The Doors L.A. Woman – 40th Anniversary Edition Review". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  6. ^ John Densmore. "Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors". google.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Rick Weldman. "The Doors FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Kings of Acid Rock". google.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c Jeff Giles. "44 Years Ago: The Doors Release L.A. Woman". ultimateclassicrock.com. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Sterling Whittaker. "44 Years Ago: Jim Morrison Plays Final Show With the Doors". ultimateclassicrock.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "December 12, 1970 (Saturday) Warehouse New Orleans, Louisiana". thedoorsguide.com. Retrieved May 1, 2015. 
  11. ^ "A Warehouse in New Orleans". mildequator.com. Retrieved May 1, 2015. 
  12. ^ Stephen Davis. "Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend". google.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  13. ^ Grell Marcus. "The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years". google.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Doors Studio Sessions". thedoorsguide.com. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Doors Studio Albums". thedoorsguide.com. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  16. ^ "L.A. Woman 1971 vinyl release, front cover". 
  17. ^ Jac Holzman, Gavan Daws. "Follow the Music: The Life and High Times of Elektra Records in the Great Years of American Pop Culture". 
  18. ^ Ray Broadus Browne, Pat Browne. "The Guide to United States Popular Culture". google.com. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Jim Morrison - Biography". biography.com. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  20. ^ L.A. Woman (DVD-A booklet). The Doors. Elektra. 2000. 62612-9. 
  21. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "L.A. Woman – The Doors | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  22. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: Album: The Doors: L.A. Woman". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  23. ^ Meltzer, Robert (May 27, 1971). "[L.A. Woman review]". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  24. ^ Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John, eds. (1979). The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1st ed.). Random House/Rolling Stone Press. p. 109. 
  25. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (April 18, 2007). "The Doors: L.A. Woman | Album Review | Slant Magazine". Slant. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time". rockonthenet.com. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  27. ^ "L.A. Woman entry on The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". rollingstone.com. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  28. ^ "American album certifications – The Doors – L.A. Woman". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  29. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Doors – L.A. Woman". Music Canada. 
  30. ^ "French album certifications – Doors – L.A. Woman" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select DOORS and click OK
  31. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2001 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  32. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1991–1995". Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano. ISBN 8480486392. 
  33. ^ "Austrian album certifications – The Doors – L.A. Woman" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter The Doors in the field Interpret. Enter L.A. Woman in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  34. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (The Doors; 'L.A. Woman')". Hung Medien. 
  35. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Doors; 'L.A. Woman')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  36. ^ "British album certifications – Doors – L.A. Woman". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter L.A. Woman in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]