The history of the song Riders on the Storm by the rock band The Doors.

The future leader of the cult rock band The Doors, Jim Morrison, was a student at Florida State University in Tallahassee in the early sixties. At the same time, he closely communicated with a girl named Mary, who lived a few hundred kilometers from him. Jim often hitchhiked to her place, getting into random cars on the deserted night road.

One can only guess what effect these dangerous journeys left on Jim’s psyche, which had never been stable. In any case, in his drawings of that time, the image of a lone traveler, forced to independently confront the difficulties of distant wanderings, often appeared.

The history of the creation of the song Riders on the Storm – The Doors

It is possible that it was from that period that the story of the song Riders on the Storm from the album LA Woman, which the rock band The Doors released in 1971, began.

Robbie Krieger has claimed that Riders on the Storm was inspired by Stan Jones’ Ghost Riders in the Sky. According to another version, the film “Rain Passenger” directed by René Clement became the source of inspiration. It is also said that Morrison got the idea for the song while he was high on the phone while chatting with a friend.

Many believe that the lines about the killer on the road are an allusion to the famous maniac Billy Cook. Allegedly, they are taken from Morrison’s film script, in which he was going to play the role of a hitchhiking murderer.

The special vocal effect of Riders on the Storm was achieved by overlapping vocal parts, sung in full voice and in a whisper. Ray Manzarek simulated the sound of rain on a synthesizer, and sound engineer Bruce Botnick added the sounds of a thunderstorm and a train.

Release and achievements

Riders on the Storm turned out to be the last song that the band members recorded.

It peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty-two on the UK Singles Chart. On July 3, 1971, the day the song entered the Hot 100, Jim Morrison died.

Clip Riders on the Storm

Watch the video for Riders on the Storm by The Doors below.

Cover versions

The song was later recorded by Carlos Santana, Snoop Dogg, Infected Mushroom and others.

Interesting Facts

  • For radio airplay, Riders on the Storm was released in an abridged form, without some of the synth solos.
  • According to unconfirmed reports, The Doors performed Riders on the Storm live only once, on December 12, 1970 at a concert in New Orleans.
  • Eric Red, screenwriter of The Hitcher, said he wrote this story based on Riders on the Storm.
  • Manzarek and Krieger created the group The Doors of the 21st Century (“The Doors of the twenty-first century”), which they did not call Densmore. He sued to stop the former partners from using the name The Doors. His demand was granted, and the musicians renamed themselves Riders on the Storm.

Riders on the Storm Lyrics

chorus:
Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house we’re born
Into this world we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out on loan
Riders on the storm

There’s a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin’ like a toad
Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If I give this man a ride
Sweet memory will die
Killer on the road, yeah

Girl ya gotta love your man
Girl ya gotta love your man
Take him by the hand
Make him understand
The world on you depends
Our life will never end
Gotta love your man, yeah

Riders on the Storm Lyrics

Chorus:
Riders riding in a thunderstorm
Riders riding in a thunderstorm
We were born in this house
We were thrown into this world
Like a dog without a bone
Actor at a temporary job
Riders riding in a thunderstorm

There’s a killer on the road
His brain is writhing like a toad
Take a long vacation
Let the kids have fun
If you give this man a ride
No more good memories
Killer on the road, yeah

Girl you gotta love your boyfriend
Girl you gotta love your boyfriend
Take him by the hand
Let him know
Everything depends on you,
Our life will never end
You gotta love your boyfriend, yeah

Riders on the Storm chords

Em
Riders on the storm
Em
Riders on the storm
Am
Into this house we’re born
Em
Into this world we’re thrown
D
Like a dog without a bone
C
An actor out on loan
Em
Riders on the storm

Song quote

I live in northern California where it rains a lot, so “Riders on the Storm” gets on the radio a lot here. And when it starts, I turn the knob, adding sound.

Ray Manzarek, 2010

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