01 Sep 50th-anniversary box set reissue of The Doors’ “L.A. Woman” features 18 previously unreleased recordings
Hear the Doors’ Long-Forgotten, Raw-Sounding ‘Riders on the Storm’ Demo
Outtake will feature on upcoming L.A. Woman reissue
John Densmore vividly remembers the words longtime Doors producer Paul A. Rothchild used to describe “Riders on the Storm”: “cocktail music.” “When he heard it, it was in an early rehearsal and it hadn’t evolved into what it became,” the drummer says of the dramatic track, a cowboy ghost story set to haunting rain and thunder. “But it really is one of our most important songs.”
The full story of the track will finally be told in an upcoming, 50th-anniversary box set reissue of L.A. Woman, the band’s triumphant final record to feature singer Jim Morrison, due out December 3rd. Among the bonus tracks that accompany the newly remastered record are the original demo for “Riders,” which the band cut at Sunset Sound and is premiering here, an alternate version of the tune recorded during the L.A. Woman sessions, and, of course, the final studio rendition. The collection, which contains three CDs and one LP, features 18 previously unreleased recordings in total.
“Just recently, [Doors guitarist] Robby [Krieger] said he felt that L.A. Woman was the most organically formed album we ever did, because most of the songs were initiated from just jamming,” Densmore says. “Whereas Robby would sometimes bring in a completed song like ‘Light My Fire.’”
When the Doors started writing L.A. Woman, only a few months had passed since they’d put out their fifth LP, Morrison Hotel, which had seen the return to a harder, bluesier sound than the pop detours they had taken recently. They wanted to keep the momentum going on L.A. Woman, and together, they wrote “Love Her Madly,” “L.A. Woman,” and “Riders on the Storm,” among other fan favorites on the record, before inviting Rothchild to their rehearsals and eventually recording the rendition of “Riders,” featured here, at Sunset Sound.