The Doors released their sixth studio album during April of 1971. Less than three months later Jim Morrison was dead bringing to a close one of the most powerful and creative careers in the history of American rock ‘n’ roll. The remaining members would carry on for a spell, but the band would be a shell of its former self.
L.A. Woman builds upon the foundation established by Morrison Hotel. It may be a little slicker and polished in places but the quality is about the same which is consistently excellent. It also has an ominous and moody feeling which dominates the release. The album would be a commercial and critical success. It would become their best selling album since their debut.Rolling Stone Magazine would rank it among their 500 greatest albums of all time.
The album produced two hit singles which perfectly summed up both sides of The Doors. “Love Her Madly” has a nice melodic flavor centered around Manzarek’s keyboards. According to Robbie Kriegerr, “Riders On The Storm” was the last song Jim Morrison recorded. If that is true, he went out on a high note as it was issued as a single after his death. The album cut clocked in at just over seven minutes and takes the listener on a journey, complete with sound effects, through the darker side of The Doors music. The song entered The Grammy Hall Of Fame during 2009.
“The Changling” was a good album opener as Morrison just howls. “Been Down So Long” contains some nice slide guitar by Krieger and the addition of an in studio bass player gives the track a full sound. “L’America” may not totally fit in with the rest of the music as it has a more psychedelic feel but it does have a nice spooky sound. It was nice to hear The Doors interpret John Lee Hooker’s blues classic “Crawling Country Snake” “Hyacinth House” was one of the saddest tracks Jim Morrison and The Doors would record.
The title track, at just about eight minutes, was one of those grand opus’ The Doors were so good at producing. It was a total group effort as the instrumentals by Krieger, Manzarek, and Desmore are all excellent. Morrison’s lyrics make sense as he takes you along for a wild ride after dark.
“L.A. Woman” was the final chapter of Jim Morrison’s recording career. It began with “Break On Through” and several years later ended with “Riders On The Storm.” In between those two tracks resides one of the best catalogues in American rock.