"Riders on the Storm" is a song by American rock band the Doors. It was released as the second single from their sixth studio album and last with singer Jim Morrison, L.A. Woman, 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 seven in the Netherlands.
|"Riders on the Storm"|
|Single by the Doors|
|from the album L.A. Woman|
|The Doors singles chronology|
Background and compositionEdit
"Riders on the Storm" has been classified as a psychedelic rock, jazz rock, art rock song, and a precursor of gothic music. According to guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek, it was inspired by the country song "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend", written by Stan Jones and popularized by Vaughn Monroe. The lyrics were written and brought in to the rehearsal by Morrison. Portion of the lyrics are referring to a hitchhiker killer, while Manzarek noted that some lines express Morrison's love to his companion Pamela Courson. The track is notated in the key of E Minor; the main keyboard riff descends throughout the pitches of Dorian Mode scale, and features a progression of i–IV–i7–IV.
It is popularly believed that "Riders on the Storm" is the song that longtime Doors producer Paul A. Rothchild disparaged as "cocktail music", precipitating his departure from the L.A. Woman sessions, as corroborated by guitarist Robby Krieger. Rothchild himself denied this claim, stating that he actually applied this epithet to "Love Her Madly". Following Rothchild's departure, longtime engineer Bruce Botnick was selected to take over production duties, alongside the Doors themselves.
"Riders on the Storm" was recorded at the Doors Workshop in December 1970 with the assistance of Botnick. Morrison recorded his main vocals and then whispered the lyrics over them to create an echo effect. It was the last song recorded by all four members of the Doors, as well as Morrison's last recorded song to be released in his lifetime. The single was released in June 1971, entering the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending July 3, 1971, the same week that Morrison died.
Speaking with Krieger and Manzarek, the German philosopher Thomas Collmer argues that the line "Into this world we're thrown" recalls Heidegger's concept of thrownness (human existence as a basic state). In 1963 at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Jim Morrison heard a lecture which was influential for him, in which was discussed the philosophers who critically dealt with the philosophical tradition, including Friedrich Nietzsche and also Martin Heidegger. In 2009, Simon Critchley dedicated his column in The Guardian to Heidegger's thrownness and explained it using the aforementioned verse of the song. The connection between the thrownness into the world and a dog's life was anticipated by the anti-Heideggerian author Ernst Bloch in his main work The Principle of Hope (1954–9).
Doors' drummer, John Densmore, released a book in 1990 entitled Riders on the Storm, detailing the story of his life and his times with the group. In November 2009, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame under the category Rock (single). The main concept of the 1986 film, The Hitcher, was based on the lyrical content of "Riders on the Storm".
- Jim Morrison – vocals, whispers
- Ray Manzarek – Rhodes piano
- Robby Krieger – tremolo guitar
- John Densmore – drums
Charts and certificationsEdit
sales since 2009
|United Kingdom (BPI)
sales since 2004
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
Annabel Lamb versionEdit
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2020)
|"Riders on the Storm"|
|Single by Annabel Lamb|
|from the album Once Bitten|
|Released||August 25, 1983|
|Annabel Lamb singles chronology|
In 1983, Annabel Lamb recorded a studio version of the song. It was released as a single from her debut album Once Bitten which peaked at number 27 on the UK Singles Chart. She performed the song later that year on Top of the Pops.
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||98|
|UK Singles Chart||27|
|Swedish Singles Chart||18|
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The Doors, who broke fresh ground in psychedelic rock with such hits as 'Riders on the Storm', [etc.]
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As Jim Morrison intoned many decades ago, 'Into this world we're thrown'. Thrownness (Geworfenheit).
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[Hope] will not tolerate a dog's life which feels itself only passively thrown into What Is, which is not seen through, even wretchedly recognized.In German: "Sie erträgt kein Hundeleben, das sich ins Seiende nur passiv geworfen fühlt, in undurchschautes, gar jämmerlich anerkanntes."
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