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|Single by The Doors|
|from the album Morrison Hotel|
|A-side||"You Make Me Real"|
|Format||45 rpm record|
|Recorded||November 4–5, 1969|
|Producer(s)||Paul A. Rothchild|
|The Doors singles chronology|
"Roadhouse Blues" is a rock song written by Jim Morrison 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 and it has been covered by numerous artists, particularly by British rock group Status Quo.
It took two days to record the song (November 4–5, 1969) with producer Paul A. Rothchild striving for perfection. Several takes from these sessions were included on the 2006 remastered album. Rothchild 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 ex-Lovin' Spoonful frontman John Sebastian contributing harmonica (appearing under the pseudonym G. Puglese either out of loyalty to his recording contract or to avoid affiliation with The Doors after the infamous 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"). A studio version of the song with John Lee Hooker sharing vocals with Morrison can be found on the Stoned Immaculate: The Music of The Doors album.
A misconception states that Mack contributed the guitar solo on the track in addition to bass guitar. Mack himself stated that he had "played bass". In actuality, guitarist Robby Krieger is responsible for all guitar parts on "Roadhouse Blues" and Mack's contribution is limited to bass guitar, as always officially stated; Jim Morrison shouts "Do it, Robby, do it!" (especially audible on the official audio proof of DVD-Audio and SuperAudioCD where the single vocal track can be separated from other instruments) at the start of the guitar solo. The solo on record is representative of Krieger's fingerstyle playing and is identical to all his Roadhouse Blues solos played in the previous sessions the day before on 5 November 1969. Subsequent interviews with members of The Doors and Rothchild confirm this.
The complete song was fully composed and rehearsed before Lonnie Mack was invited to play bass on "Roadhouse Blues" and "Maggie M'Gill" (Ray Neapolitan, regular bass player during Morrison Hotel sessions, couldn't arrive on time that day due to a traffic jam). Mack had quit touring and was working for Elektra Records at the time, but returned to music after playing bass at the session.
A live version appearing later on the posthumous album An American Prayer and that same version 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.
- Jim Morrison - vocals
- Robby Krieger - guitar
- Ray Manzarek - piano
- John Densmore - drums
- Lonnie Mack - bass
- John Sebastian - harmonica
Status Quo version
|Promotional single by Status Quo|
|from the album Piledriver|
Status Quo first heard the Doors' recording shortly after it was released while touring in Bielefeld, Germany in 1970. They were looking for a change of direction away from their original psychedelic pop style, and were unsure about what to do, but after hearing the song in a club, they enjoyed its 12-bar shuffle and thought it would be a good template for future original material. The group recorded a studio version on the 1972 album Piledriver, with bassist Alan Lancaster taking the lead vocal and featuring an extra verse with three-part harmonies, which the Doors' recording did not have. The lyrics were different to the original, for instance singing "I should have made you" instead of "Ashen lady". The track was released as a promotional single, with Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave" on the B-side.
The song was a regular feature of Quo's live setlist throughout the 1970s, being performed towards the end of the show. It was extended to allow a jam session in the middle, featuring snippets of other songs including the traditional "The Irish Washerwoman" and "Shakin' All Over" with a 14-minute version as the final track on 1977's Live. In 1992, the live album Live Alive Quo featured Roadhouse Medley, which blended other songs into the main Roadhouse Blues riff.
- Alan Lancaster - lead vocals, bass
- Francis Rossi - lead guitar, backing vocals
- Rick Parfitt - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- John Coghlan - drums
- Bob Young - harmonica
- Jimmy Horowitz - piano
Other artists who have recorded cover versions include Deep Purple, Lana Del Rey, Bon Jovi, The Cult, Status Quo, Mahogany Rush, Ministry, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Los Lonely Boys. Live covers have been released by Meat Loaf, Imperiet, Eric Burdon, Eppu Normaali and Creed.
U.S. hard-rock band Blue Öyster Cult released a live version, recorded Dec. 15, 1981 at the Country Club in Reseda, CA, on Extraterrestrial Live, featuring Robby Krieger joining the band on guitar.
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 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.
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- Scott D. Harrison; Graham F. Welch; Adam Adler, eds. (2012). Perspectives on Males and Singing. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 291. ISBN 978-9-400-72660-4.
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- "Crystal Method gives Nike a run for their $". Billboard. 1 July 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2018.