Recording of February 2022: The Doors: L.A. Woman (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

by Tom Fine

The Doors: L.A. Woman (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
Elektra/Rhino R2 659055 (3CD/1LP). 2021. Bruce Botnick/Doors, prods.; Botnick, eng.
Performance ★︎★︎★︎★︎★︎

The Doors flew like a comet across the rock/pop universe, running only four-and-a-half years and six studio albums with lead singer/poet/shaman Jim Morrison. L.A. Woman, their last album, marked a hard turn back to the rock and blues basics from whence they sprang in 1966 as a hot bar band on Sunset Strip. It is a masterpiece, a hit out of the gate that has grown in stature over time. Morrison took a sabbatical shortly before its release, decamped to Paris, and died there as this record climbed the charts.

Like most turns on the Doors' career path, the album started out with drama. The band and producer Paul Rothchild arrived at Sunset Sound, where they had recorded their first two albums with engineer Bruce Botnick. Tensions between band and producer had been brewing for years, and after one full take of "Riders on the Storm," the pot boiled over. Rothchild condemned the song as "cocktail jazz" and walked out. That early version of what became a rock classic is the last track on CD1 of this 50th Anniversary Deluxe reissue. It's indeed flaccid compared to the album version.


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