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RIDERS ON THE STORM (song)

Riders on the Storm

Released June 1971
Format 7″
Recorded December 1970
Genre Psychedelic rock
Length
7:09 (album version)
4:35 (single version)
Label Elektra

Writer(s)
John Densmore Robby Krieger Ray Manzarek Jim Morrison
Producer(s)
Bruce Botnick The Doors

“Riders on the Storm” is a song by American psychedelic rock band The Doors. It was released as the second single from their sixth studio album, L.A. Woman (1971), in June 1971. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., number 22 on the UK Singles Chart, and number 7 in the Netherlands.

“Riders on the Storm” is a psychedelic rock song.[4] According to band member Robby Krieger, it was inspired by the song “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend”. Also, Jim Morrison mentions spree killer Billy Cook, in passing, during at least one interview. Cook killed six people, including a young family, while hitchhiking to California. In all likelihood, the Cook murders were inspiration for the song’s lyric, “There’s a killer on the road / His brain is squirming like a toad … if you give this man a ride/sweet family will die ;…”

“Riders On the Storm” is played in the E Dorian mode, and incorporates recordings of rain and thunder, along with Ray Manzarek’s Fender Rhodes electric piano playing, which emulates the sound of rain.

The song was recorded at the Doors Workshop in December 1970 with the assistance of Bruce Botnick, their longtime engineer, who was co-producing the recording sessions. Jim Morrison recorded his main vocals and then whispered the lyrics over them to create the echo effect. This was the last song recorded by the members of the Doors, according to Manzarek, as well as Morrison’s last recorded song to be released in his lifetime. The single was released in 1971, shortly before Morrison’s death, entering the Billboard Hot 100 on July 3, 1971, the day that Morrison died.

Many incorrectly believe that this is the song longtime Doors producer Paul A. Rothchild disparaged as “cocktail music”, precipitating his departure from the project. Rothchild actually applied this moniker to “Love Her Madly”. Engineer Bruce Botnick was selected to produce the album instead.