Roadhouse Blues

"Roadhouse Blues" is a song by the American rock band the Doors, and appears on the 1970 album Morrison Hotel. It was released as the B-side of "You Make Me Real", which peaked at No. 50 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.[3] "Roadhouse Blues" charted in its own right on the Cash Box Top 100, peaking at No. 76.[4] The song became a concert staple for the group and it has been covered by numerous artists.

"Roadhouse Blues"
Roadhouse Blues.jpg
Single by the Doors
from the album Morrison Hotel
A-side"You Make Me Real"
ReleasedMarch 1970 (1970-03)
RecordedNovember 4–5, 1969
StudioElektra Sound Recorders, Los Angeles
GenreBlues rock[1]
  • 4:04 (album version)[2]
  • 3:49 (single version)
Composer(s)The Doors
Lyricist(s)Jim Morrison
Producer(s)Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors singles chronology
"Runnin' Blue"
"Roadhouse Blues"
"Love Her Madly"
Audio sample

Hailed by sound engineer Bruce Botnick as "the all-time American bar band song,"[5] "Roadhouse Blues"–despite its relatively unsuccessful chart peak–received strong airplay on rock radio stations.[6] The song's title was also considered to be the name of the album, but it was eventually changed.[5]


The song was recorded over two days, from November 4 to 5, 1969. Producer Paul A. Rothchild insisted on several takes, some of which were included on the 2006 remastered version of the album.[7] Morrison, who was intoxicated during the sessions, flubbed several lyrics and kept repeating the phrase "Money beats soul every time".[8]

There was more progress on the second day when resident guitarist Lonnie Mack (then employed as an Elektra Records A&R representative) joined in to play bass; Ray Neapolitan, the regular bassist during the Morrison Hotel sessions, was stuck in traffic.[7][9] Although there has been speculation that Mack also contributed the guitar solo, he confirmed that he had played bass and nothing else.[10] While Mack had stopped working as a professional musician at the time, he decided to return to his career following the session.[11]

Guitarist Robby Krieger is responsible for all guitar parts on "Roadhouse Blues"; Morrison shouts "Do it, Robby, do it!" (especially audible on the official audio proof of DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD where the single vocal track can be separated from other instruments) at the start of the guitar solo. Ray Manzarek switched from a Wurlitzer electric piano to a tack piano (the same type as used on the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations").[7] Ex-Lovin' Spoonful frontman John Sebastian contributed harmonica (listed as "G. Puglese" for contractual reasons).[7]

Alice Cooper claimed that he was the inspiration for the line "Woke up this morning and I got myself a beer", as stated on his Planet Rock morning show.[12]

Other versionsEdit

A live version appeared on the posthumous album An American Prayer and that same version can be heard again on In Concert and Greatest Hits. On this version, Morrison talks for a short while to a female audience member about his Zodiac sign and, with a sudden, ironic twist that causes the audience to erupt in laughter, denounces his belief in it. The song was also featured twice in the movie The Doors; the studio version in the film, and the aforementioned live one over the end credits.

A studio version of the song with John Lee Hooker sharing vocals with Morrison can be found on the 2000 tribute album Stoned Immaculate: The Music of The Doors.[13] A studio rehearsal of the song with Ray Manzarek on lead vocals was recorded on May 6, 1969.[14] This version was finally released on The Soft Parade: 50th Anniversary Edition in 2019.[15] "Roadhouse Blues" was also performed by the surviving members and Eddie Vedder at the Doors' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1993.[16]


The Doors

Additional musicians


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[17]
sales since 2009
Gold 35,000 

  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Status Quo versionEdit

"Roadhouse Blues"
Promotional single by Status Quo
from the album Piledriver
Released1972 (1972)
GenreHard rock
Composer(s)The Doors
Lyricist(s)Jim Morrison

Status Quo, while touring in Bielefeld, Germany, in 1970,[18] heard the Doors' recording shortly after it was released. They were looking for a change of direction, away from their original psychedelic pop style, and were unsure about what to do; after hearing the song in a club, they enjoyed its 12-bar shuffle and thought it would be a good template for future original material.[19] The group recorded a studio version on the 1972 album Piledriver, with bassist Alan Lancaster taking the lead vocal and featuring an extra verse with three-part harmonies, which the Doors' recording did not have.[18] The lyrics differed from the original; for instance, "I should have made you" instead of "Ashen lady".[20] The track was released as a promotional single, with Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave" on the B-side.[18]

The song was a regular feature of Quo's live setlist throughout the 1970s, its performance coming towards the end of the show. It was extended to allow a jam session in the middle, featuring snippets of other songs, including the traditional "The Irish Washerwoman" and "Shakin' All Over".[21][22] A 14-minute version appears as the final track on 1977's Live.[23] In 1992, the live album Live Alive Quo featured Roadhouse Medley, which blended other songs into the main Roadhouse Blues riff.[24]

"Roadhouse Blues" was revived for the "Frantic Four" tours in 2013.[25] In 2014, a deluxe reissue of Piledriver included a 15-minute live version, recorded in 1973.[26]


Additional musicians

  • Bob Young – harmonica
  • Jimmy Horowitz – piano



  1. ^ Luhrssen & Larson 2017, p. 97.
  2. ^ Morrison Hotel (Liner notes). The Doors. Elektra Records. 1970. Back cover. EKS-75007.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ "The Doors Chart History: Hot 100". 2019. Archived from the original on May 7, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  4. ^ "Cash Box Top 100" (PDF). Cash Box. May 16, 1970. p. 4. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  5. ^ a b Weidman 2011, p. 214.
  6. ^ Weidman 2011, p. 200.
  7. ^ a b c d Botnick & Fricke 2006, pp. 1, 3, 7.
  8. ^ Marcus 2012, p. 100.
  9. ^ Densmore 1990, p. 235.
  10. ^ CRL Chapter 05. November 1, 2009. Archived from the original on 2021-12-15. Retrieved October 3, 2016 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ Cianci, Bob (February 11, 2010). "Robbie Krieger - The Doors' Distinctive Fret Master". Premiere Guitar.
  12. ^ "Jim Morrison Quoted Alice Cooper in 'Roadhouse Blues'". Uncut. July 10, 2008. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  13. ^ "Stoned Immaculate: The Music of the Doors". AllMusic. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  14. ^ The Soft Parade (50th Anniversary edition liner notes). The Doors. Rhino Records. 2019.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  15. ^ "The Doors: The Soft Parade – 50th Anniversary [Deluxe edition]". Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  16. ^ "The Doors with Eddie Vedder Perform 'Roadhouse Blues'". Archived from the original on July 21, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  17. ^ "Italian single certifications – Doors – Roadhouse Blues" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved July 18, 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Roadhouse Blues" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  18. ^ a b c Stroud 2017, p. 78.
  19. ^ Rossi, Parfitt & Wall 2005, p. 88.
  20. ^ "Roadhouse Blues". Status Quo. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  21. ^ Stroud 2017, p. 113.
  22. ^ D. Harrison, F. Welch & Adler, p. 291.
  23. ^ "Live! – Status Quo". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Status Quo: Live Alive Quo". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Music review: Status Quo: The Frantic Four Ride Again, Manchester Apollo". The Independent. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Status Quo: Piledriver [Deluxe Edition]". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 January 2018.


External linksEdit