Riders on the Storm (6:55)

Cover of Greatest Hits

From Greatest Hits and 64 other releases

“Riders on the Storm” is a song by The Doors from their 1971 album, L.A. Woman; it reached number 14 on the charts. According to band member Robby Krieger, it was inspired by the song, “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend”. The song is played in the E Dorian mode, and incorporates real sound effects of thunder and rain, along with Ray Manzarek’s Fender Rhodes electric piano playing, which emulates the sound of rain.

The song’s lyrics allude in part to the notorious spree killer Billy Cook, who posed as a hitchhiker and murdered an entire family. (“There’s a killer on the road… // His brain is squirmin’ like a toad… “) According to a widespread urban legend the song was conceived as an allusion to a tragic accident caused by another car’s reckless driving, ending in several deaths of Navajo tribesmen as his car hit a truck where they were traveling. An alternative version refers the lyrics’ inspiration to a 1930s French Surrealist poem, Chevaliers de l’Ouragan (literally, “Riders of the Hurricane”), by Louis Aragon. It should also be noted that Morrison wrote a screenplay called “The Hitchhiker”, where the main character, Billy, hitchhikes killing a man, a sheriff, and a family.

The song was recorded at the Doors Workshop in December 1970 with the assistance of Bruce Botnick, their longtime engineer who was co-producing the recording sessions. Jim Morrison recorded his main vocals and then whispered the lyrics over them to create the haunting effect.

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  • pqprafaella

    there's a killer on the road

    17 Feb 1:54pm Reply
  • Moonlight_Dawn

    Dark, dreamy.... love the rain and thunder ambience. <3

    16 Jan 4:28am Reply
  • kineticwaves

    Brilliant! JUST BRILLIANT. The man's a POET!

    7 Jan 3:28am Reply
  • raphaelmg94

    Into this house we're born, into this world we're thrown, like a dog without a bone, an actor out on loan, riders on the storm

    5 Jan 1:30am Reply
  • PowersauceBar

    Just like Every Breath You Take by The Police or Indifference by Pearl Jam, mellow yet dark and creepy at the same time. Awesome juxtaposition.

    31 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Alin_

    Hey yo Jim let 'em in, let 'em in.

    8 Dec 2014 Reply
  • wiseblood-

    One of the greatest songs of ALL TIMES!

    6 Dec 2014 Reply
  • djsweetlips1971

    So different from anything heard before or since and so awesome.

    28 Nov 2014 Reply
  • suLeg

    Great song

    28 Nov 2014 Reply
  • elciscokid

    Chica, tienes que amar a tu hombre! Verdad.

    12 Nov 2014 Reply
  • Tymbolic

    Good, but the Creed performance of this at Woodstock '99 is the best IMO

    29 Oct 2014 Reply
  • RAY7654321

    Listening to the 6th and final Doors studio album with Jim on lead vocals " L A Woman". Released in April 1971 and for my money their best. On December 12, !970 at 'The Warehouse' in New Orleans mid concert Jim took the microphone stand and beat the stage repeatedly destroying a section of it, then sat down on stage and did not perform for the rest of the set. After the show Densmore, Manzarek and Krieger met and decided it was time to end their live performances and for Jim to retire, which he did moving to Paris. Mr Morrison died July 3, 1971 at the age of 27 of undetermined causes (later came out it was probably a massive overdose of heroin but no autopsy was ever performed). The end of a promising life and the best band of the era. The last song and the best.

    23 Oct 2014 Reply
  • LastArctica

    best

    13 Oct 2014 Reply
  • muerto14

    Such a great song

    6 Oct 2014 Reply
  • gingertosser

    never tire of this track....one of the greatest Intros of all time surely?

    12 Aug 2014 Reply
  • Mohammedben

    This is my favorite song of The Doors.

    7 Aug 2014 Reply
  • websrfr

    Snoop Dogg does a version of this on "NFS:Underground 2", too bad it was never released.

    24 Jul 2014 Reply
  • bluerthanthezoo

    Este solo de piano. ♥ [2]

    20 Jul 2014 Reply
  • Prowlersfi

    I can listen to this song all day.

    14 Jul 2014 Reply
  • dimi-q

    <3

    25 Jun 2014 Reply
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