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The Doors 8: Morrison Hotel

Keep your eyes on the road
Your hand upon the wheel

Many people think that this song was not composed by the Doors and that it is just a cover.

NO. One of the most famous blues songs of all times was firstly launched by the Californian quartet, being the intro track of their 5th LP, which was titled “Morrison Hotel”.

We have already reached 1970. At that time in the States the anti Vietnam war movement was still growing. Riots, marches, concerts, rallies were taking place daily on almost every American town. The demand? The withdrawal of the American troops from Vietnam. President Nixon tried to calm down the public, signing the Voting Rights Act Amendment, lowering the voting age at 18.

Paul McCartney announced the breaking up of the Beatles, while some months later the great Jimmy Hendrix wasfound dead.

Meanwhile our friends, the Doors, were recording their fifth studio album under the title “Morrison Hotel”, which was completely different from the previous one, the Soft Parade. The Doors, realizing that the experimental sound of the Soft Parade was not very popular, decided to return to their initial blues rock sound. So Morrison returned as the main songwriter and, as always, lyricist.

Music criticists and Doors fans accepted the LP (which was recorded during 9 months) with satisfaction, sending it at the 4th place of the Billboard 500. “Rock Magazine” characterized it as their best album. Were they right?


So, “Morrison Hotel” contained 11 tracks. The most important of them were:

WHAT A SONG!!!!!!!

“Roadhouse blues” is not only one of the greatest Blues anthems but also a song that, along with LA Woman, Riders on the Storm and 3-4 more tracks, is the Doors’ trademark.

Although the most known version is that from “Absolutely live” where Barney Pip, a famous trumpetist, introduces the band with the words “Ladies and Gentlemen, from Los Angeles, California, the Doors”, the song first presented at Morrison Hotel LP.

The song was recorded when Morrison was really bad, always completely drunk and intoxicated, although he offered us a monumental performance. Its basic pattern is written in G major and it was composed not only by Morrison and Krieger, but also by the famous bassist Lonnie Mack.

Next song is the marvellous “Waiting for the sun”. Some may wonder why this track was not included in the homonymous album. Actually, this marvellous song (the best of the album in my opinion) was initially written for that album but it was lately rejected (!!!) by the producers.

Morrison said about the song: “I’d like to do a song or a piece of music that’s just a pure expression of joy. Pure like a celebration of existence, you know? And like the coming of spring, like a sun rising. Just pure unbounded joy. I don’t think we’ve really done that yet.”

The “first flash of Eden” is considered as a metaphor for something that appears to be salvation or enlightenment. All people are desperate to find what they are seeking, so when they think they have found it they immediately “race down to the sea”. All too often, we race down immediately, without contemplating the rationality of our decisions. This is because everyone is desperate to find what it is they are searching for, so if there is any chance that what is sought for has been found, a person will take that chance. 

“You make me real” is not a typical Doors song. It has a hard rock sound, something not usual for that era and especially for the band.

It was the only single of the LP, just reaching the 50th place of Billboard 200, actually being saved by its B-side “Roadhouse blues”.  Music journalist Gillian G. Gaar considered “You Make Me Real” to be weaker than its B-side, “Roadhouse Blues.” Tony Thompson said that “it is not one of the Doors’ great songs and wonders why it was chosen over “Roadhouse Blues” and other Morrison Hotel tracks to be the lead single from the album.”

Like parts of “Roadhouse Blues” and several other Doors songs, “You Make Me Real” was inspired by Morrison’s girlfriend Pamela, incorporating sexual innuendo such as the line “So let me slide in your tender sunken sea.” In the refrain Morrison sings “You make me real, you make me feel, like lovers feel, you make me throw away mistaken misery, make me free, love, make me free” and the song ends with Morrison exclaiming “Make me free.”

Nobody thought that “Peace Frog” would become a Doors classic, as it actually is.

The song’s lyrics came from three poems written earlier by Morrison, titled “Abortion Stories”, “Dawn’s Highway” and “Newborn Awakening”. The title was originally “Abortion Stories”, but at producer’s request Morrison changed it to “Peace Frog”, as he was afraid that the initial title would create some short of controversy.

 “Peace Frog” is praised as one of the album’s highlights. Louder Sound ranked the song among “The Top 20 Greatest Doors Songs”, while Ultimate Classic Rock cited it as Robby Krieger’s third best track for the group. 

In a positive album review of Morrison Hotel, critic Thom Jerek of All Music described “Peace Frog” as “downright funky boogie”, while Sal Cinquemani declared the song as the best track on Morrison Hotel, and “one of the Doors’ greatests.

(to be continued)


Published in Music what we liked