The Doors

L.A. Woman

Song Review by

: The title track to the final Doors album with Jim Morrison is a composite homage as well as an extended metaphor for what the lyricist saw as the essence of the city of Los Angeles. Many Doors insiders also consider it to be a direct peon to one particular “L.A. Woman” -- Doors publicist Diane Gardner. She became the originalrecipient of several poems from Morrison, the lyrics of which eventually turned up throughout the L.A. Woman album.

The stripped-down and lean instrumentation is indicative of the record as a whole -- which was both rehearsed and recorded at the Doors Workshop -- an office space that the band began renting in early 1968 at 8512 Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles.

The opening of the track is quite unusual as it incrementally builds into a full-throttle journey through the underbelly of the City of Angeles. The instrumental intro begins with Robbie Krieger (guitar) impersonating the sound of an accelerated automobile engine coupled with an ominous stringed dissonance suggesting a ride into the unknown.

Ray Manzarek (keyboards) bubbles the motoring tempo, which is joined by John Densmore’s icy cymbal ride. Before the addition of session great Jerry Scheff’s (bass) equally intimidating bass line, there is also a faintly audible strange and unnerving electronic wailing. And that is just the first 15 seconds.

Once the song is established, the band unleash a reckless gyrating rhythm which propels the musicians through some of their most profound instrumental contributions -- most notably as the track shifts gears into the tango-tinged “I see your hair is burning … ” bridge. “L.A. Woman” is likewise notable for introducing one of Morrison’s alleged alter egos -- Mr. Mojo Risin’.

In 1985, Manzarek directed a film to accompany “L.A. Woman. The video was aired on MTV and included on the Dance on Fire home video.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
L.A. Woman 1971 EastWest / Elektra 7:53
Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine 1972 Elektra 7:46
The Best of the Doors [1985] 1985 Elektra 7:49
Greatest Hits 1996 Elektra 7:47
The Very Best of the Doors 2007 Elektra / Rhino 8:00
The Future Starts Here: The Essential Doors Hits 2008 Elektra 8:00
Behind Closed Doors: The Rarities 2013 Elektra / Rhino 8:48
No Image Elektra / Rhino 7:49