Riders on the Storm
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|"Riders on the Storm"|
|Single by The Doors|
|from the album L.A. Woman|
|The Doors singles chronology|
"Riders on the Storm" is a song by American psychedelic rock band the Doors. It was released as the second single from their sixth studio album, L.A. Woman (1971), in June 1971. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., number 22 on the UK Singles Chart, and number 7 in the Netherlands.
Background and composition
"Riders on the Storm" is a psychedelic rock song. According to Robby Krieger, it was inspired by "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend". Also, Jim Morrison mentions spree killer Billy Cook, in passing, during at least one interview. Cook killed six people, including a young family, while hitchhiking to California. In all likelihood, the Cook murders were inspiration for the song's lyric, "There's a killer on the road / His brain is squirming like a toad...if you give this man a ride/sweet family will die ..."
"Riders on the Storm" is played in the E Dorian mode, and incorporates recordings of rain and thunder, along with Ray Manzarek's Fender Rhodes electric piano playing, which emulates the sound of rain.
The song was recorded at the Doors Workshop in December 1970 with the assistance of Bruce Botnick, their longtime engineer, who was co-producing the recording sessions. Jim Morrison recorded his main vocals and then whispered the lyrics over them to create the echo effect. This was the last song recorded by the members of the Doors, according to Manzarek, as well as Morrison's last recorded song to be released in his lifetime. The single was released in 1971, shortly before Morrison's death, entering the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending July 3, 1971, the same week that Morrison died.
Many incorrectly believe that this is the song longtime Doors producer Paul A. Rothchild disparaged as "cocktail music", precipitating his departure from the project. Rothchild actually applied this moniker to "Love Her Madly". Engineer Bruce Botnick was selected to produce the album instead.
Speaking with Krieger and Manzarek, the philosopher Thomas Vollmer argues that the line "Into this world we're thrown" recalls Heidegger's concept of thrownness (human existence as a basic state). In 1963 at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Jim Morrison heard an influential lecture for him, in which were discussed philosophers who critically addressed the philosophical tradition, including Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger.
Ray Manzarek and guitarist Roy Rogers covered this song as an instrumental duet on their 2008 album Ballads Before the Rain.
In November 2009, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame under the category Rock (track).
The song, according to an interview with Ray Manzarek, was only performed live twice: on the L.A. Woman tour at the Warehouse in New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 12, 1970, and in Dallas the night before that. Ray said playing those songs was "magic". This was The Doors' last public performance with Jim Morrison. It was only the second date of the tour, but was also the last, as the tour was cancelled after this concert.
According to the book FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio by Richard Neer, legendary overnight disc jockey Alison Steele would always play this song on Monday nights if it was raining in the city while she worked at New York City's WNEW-FM through most of the 1970s.
- Annabel Lamb covered the song in 1983. It peaked at 27 in the UK Singles Chart of 17 September.
- Cameo covered the song in 1990 as an homage to Jim Morrison's influence on the band.
- New age/electronica music group Dancing Fantasy released a cover off their 1991 album California Grooves.
- Creed also covered this song in 2000 for the album Stoned Immaculate: The Music of The Doors, they also performed this song live at Woodstock 1999 alongside Robby Krieger.
- Nightmares on Wax remixed the song for the limited edition of The Best of The Doors, which appeared in 2000. Three other remixes are on the bonus cd by Baez & Cornell, Ibizarre and SpaceBats.
- Yonderboi used a sample of the song for his track Riders On The Storm / Pink Solidism, found on the 2000 album Shallow And Profound.
- Escape with Romeo covered the song on their 2001 album Come Here White Light.
- Incubus is known to medley into the song while playing "Are You In?" during their live shows.
- Living Legends sampled the song in their song "War Games" from their 2001 album Almost Famous.
- Wednesday 13 covered the song with altered lyrics and an original chorus, retitling it "Welcome to the Strange", on the 2000 Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 album Songs from the Recently Deceased.
- Señor Coconut plays a merengue remix of this song on the 2003 album Fiesta Songs.
- Snoop Dogg covered the song for the 2004 game, Need for Speed: Underground 2, in a remixed version produced by Fredwreck. The cover was dubbed over the original track.
- Rapture Riders, a 2005 officially-released mashup version of the song produced by Go Home Productions, featured Jim Morrison's vocal combined with music and vocals from Blondie's 1981 single "Rapture".
- Bob Sinclar used a small but highly-recognizable portion of 'Riders on the Storm' for his song 'For You' on his 2006 album Western Dream.
- Ray Manzarek & Bal collaborated on an electronic jazz version for their Atonal Head CD, 2006.
- Dezperadoz covered the song in 2008 for the album An Eye for an Eye.
- The Jacka sampled most of the song in 2008 for the single "Storm" featuring Cormega for his album "Tear Gas".
- Infected Mushroom remixed the song, and it appears on the 2009 album, Legend of the Black Shawarma.
- Carlos Santana covered the song on his 2010 album Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time. This version features Chester Bennington (of Linkin Park) on lead vocals and Ray Manzarek (of The Doors) on keyboards, as he did on the original. The lyric "sweet family will die" is changed to "sweet memory will die".
- Wolfmother covered the song live from 2010 to 2011, blending it with their own "White Unicorn."
- Megan Washington's cover of the song was featured in a trailer for season six of the Lifetime series Army Wives.
- Kamyaniy Gist covered this song in Ukrainian (album «70/80», 2015).
- Lisa Bassenge covered the song for her 2015 album Canyon Songs.
- Jazz vocalist Kama Ruby covered this song as a mash-up with Stan Jones' classic western song "Ghost Riders in the Sky" on her third album release, 2017's Mind's Eye.
- "Forty years on, Jim Morrison cult thrives at Paris cemetery". The Independent. July 1, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
... The Doors, who broke fresh ground in psychedelic rock with such hits as 'Riders on the Storm,'...
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- Planer, Lindsay. "'Riders On The Storm' - The Doors: AllMusic review". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
It peaked at a respectable No. 14 shortly after Morrison died in July 1971.
- "'Riders On The Storm' | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – The Doors – Riders on the Storm" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- "Riders On The Storm (Which Specific Rhodes Was Used)???". The Electronic Piano Forum. April 25, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- (in German) Gerstenmeyer, Heinz (2001). The Doors - Sounds for Your Soul - Die Musik Der Doors. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-521-89615-3. ISBN 3-83112057-9.
- Critchley, Simon (June 29, 2009). "Being and Time, part 4: Thrown into this world". The Guardian. Manchester. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
As Jim Morrison intoned many decades ago, 'Into this world we're thrown'. Thrownness (Geworfenheit).
- Korstvedt, Benjamin M. (2010). Listening for Utopia in Ernst Bloch's Musical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-521-89615-3. ISBN 0-52189615-0.
- Bloch, Ernst (1954). The Principle of Hope. 1. p. 3.
[Hope] will not tolerate a dog's life which feels itself only passively thrown into What Is, which is not seen through, even wretchedly recognized.In German: "Sie erträgt kein Hundeleben, das sich ins Seiende nur passiv geworfen fühlt, in undurchschautes, gar jämmerlich anerkanntes."
- Densmore, John (1990). Riders on the storm: my life with Jim Morrison and the Doors (1st ed.). New York City: Delacorte Press. ISBN 978-0-385-30033-9. ISBN 0-38530033-6.
- Staff, IGN (October 22, 2010). "The Doors Most Loved Songs Kick Off Rock Band 3 DLC". IGN. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Snider, Mike (June 10, 2010). "Rock Band 3: What's New, What's Notable". USA Today. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- "Musicline.de – The Doors Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Doors" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 75.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Riders on the Storm". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
- Official Top 100, 11-17 September 1983.
- "California Grooves 1991:Album". Answers.com. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- "Consequence of Sound Presents…Best Fest Covers - Cover Me". Covermesongs.com. 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
- "Rock Classics". Webcache.googleusercontent.com.
- Kama Ruby; Albums and Theatre Projects – Kama Ruby- Singer, Actor, Wellness Practitioner. Retrieved April 18, 2018.