The Doors’ “L.A. Woman” Turns 40

the doors la woman album cover The Doors L.A. Woman Turns 40

Forty years ago this month, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Doors[/lastfm] released their final studio album before [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jim Morrison[/lastfm]’s untimely death. L.A. Woman was an instant success and has aged its way to “classic” status.

Rhino Records is releasing 2,500 special vinyl copies of the “L.A. Woman” single in select music stores around the country to celebrate Record Store Day April 16. Check out the Record Store Day website to see if “L.A. Woman” can be found near you.

Morrison left the world with a bang, and so did The Doors with L.A. Woman. Knowing how hard and fast Morrison lived his life, the album’s title track is almost a fitting conclusion to the band’s catalog. They recorded just about the entire song in a live take, which encapsulated the band’s furious live energy perfectly.

Perhaps the most distinctive section of the song is the coda, where Morrison belts “Mr. Mojo Risin'” over and over again building up to the outro. “Mr. Mojo Risin” is actually an anagram of “Jim Morrison,” a fitting title to find scrambled within the name of one of classic rock’s wildest stars.

Unfortunately for Morrison and the band, the mojo didn’t last much longer…

la woman front The Doors L.A. Woman Turns 40

The opening line, “Well I did a little downer ’bout an hour ago,” is a reference to barbiturates, the same type of pill that contributed to [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jimi Hendrix[/lastfm]’s tragic death, and a drug which Morrison took in large amounts during recording sessions and over much of his career leading up to his own demise.

They would only perform the song live once, in their second-to-last concert in Dallas in April 1971 soon after the album was released, before Morrison broke down and moved to France, where he died that same July. The Doors were gone before anyone knew how to judge them.

The album L.A. Woman also featured Doors staples “Love Her Madly” and “Riders on the Storm,” but it’s the furious fun of the title track that best exemplifies Morrison’s fiery presence, and the remarkable synergy of the instrumentation of Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore.

Now that the album is nearing its 40th anniversary, it’s great that Rhino Records realized the recognition it deserved. Fans of The Doors will have to live with L.A. Woman as the band’s final work…But what an amazing work it is.

Listen to “L.A. Woman” below:



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