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Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)


The Doors

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This is a cover of a German opera song written in 1929 by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. It was used in a controversial 1930 German operetta called The Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahogany.
The themes of materialism, despair, and illicit pleasures from the operetta this was taken from would be revisited often by The Doors. The song took on a more literal meaning over the years as Jim Morrison's drug and alcohol problems became public knowledge.
The Doors got the idea for this from an album of German songs their keyboard player, Ray Manzarek, had.
In 2000, the surviving members of the Doors taped a VH1 Storytellers episode with guest vocalists filling in for Morrison. Ian Astbury sang on this track, and in 2002 joined Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger when they toured as The Doors of the 21st Century. He fronted their group, which changed names after a lawsuit filed by original drummer John Densmore, until 2007, doing about 150 shows.
A verse was omitted from the 1929 original. It started: "Show me the place to the next little dollar."
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Comments (30):

We're not talking about a Jagger or a Lennon. We are talking JIM MORRISON! According to the source "Nobody gets out of here alive" Jim Morrison used to hate rock and roll and used it as a vehicle for his poetry and art. I once asked my teacher why the "Soft Parade" (the beginning) sound like heaven. He replied that Jim Morrison had studied the archetypes of man and each song will somehow appeal to everyone. A Bombay psychologist told me that the songs have different meaning to different people.

Is the student of Rimbaud just talking about whiskey you buy at the corner store or the girl at the club? Or has all hell broken out and we just have to get to
"the next whiskey bar" just to survive?
- Jojo69, Bethlehem, PA
If you check out youtube you will find the song Whiskey Bar/Alabama Song from The 3 Penny Opera posted. There are a number of different people who sang this song. Check out the info about the opera. Yes Ben in encintias, the verse was show me the way to the next little boy...a whore house was shut down in the play. The girls were leaving...suticases packed and walking and singing this song...Tom in Hallstead PA...this song was written WAY before any of the Doors were even born.
- Valerie, Eureka, CA
At Live at the Matrix insted of saying "Show me the way to the next little GIRL" he says "BOY" and ray in the back round Sounds a little fruty but they were just implying that in San Fransico 1967 there were alot of Femeinem Guys if you know what i mean
- Jesse, San Antoino, TX
James james morrison morrison
weatherby geroge dupree
took great care of his mother
tho he was only 3
said james james morrrison morrison
'mother', he said, said he. 'don't go down to the end of the town,if don't go down with me.'
- Valerie, Eureka, CA
The idea actually came from Dorothy Fujikawa, Ray's then girlsfriend (and now wife), partly because they were playing in a bar on Sunset next to the Whisky-a-gogo, where they would rather have played.
- Eric, Maastricht, Netherlands
We all have songs that we used to sing when we were really little. Mine was "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus (now re-gaining fame as Miley's dad. At least unlike some celebrity parents he's raising her right.) But my friend's was this song. Her dad's a huge Doors freak... I wish my dad had good taste in music. Anyone else have a dad that actually enjoys the music of Barry Manilow??? Someone please commiserate!
- Marissa, Akron, OH
*Im pretty sure I got the words wrong but thats just how I hear it:)*
- nady, adelaide, Australia
I've got a snippet of a concert on my mp3 and Jim includes the Mck the Knife bit- "Well he shows his pretty teeth yeah, and he shows them pearly whites, but Mack he is a sailor and he keeps them outta site, you know he keeps them outta site mmyeah, their white white white white white white yew! Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar....and so on, back door man usually followed. ilove jimmorrisonmorethanyoucoulddream
- nady, adelaide, Australia
Ok, this probably sounds weird, but every time my friend and I hear this song, we start laughing and thinking of fat munchkins dancing. I laugh every time! I just can't help it. It actually got me in trouble once because I couldn't stop laughing in Spanish class. I love the Doors, and I love this song, but it is a very funny song. And what's not funny about fat munchkins dancing around?
- Naioka, Sptsyltuckey, VA
The Doors have got to be one of my favorite bands period. When I was in France in 2001, after touring the cemetary where Jim was buried, I was drinking wine in a bistro and the waiter mentioned Show Me The Way To The Next Whiskey Bar. I just thought it was really funny.
[Long Live The Lizard King]
- Lance, Malibu, CA
The Alabama song or Whisky bar is actually a song written by Brecht. But the doors did play it whilst performing in the London fog and it supposedly symbolised where they wanted to be at that present time which was the Whisky a 'go go
- andrew, adelaide, Australia
The Kurt Weill version sure is different, i have it on vinyl, its kind of mystical, its out there. But far different from the doors version. Weill's wife said once that she liked the version that the doors put out. The doors set a great mood here.
- Tristan, Philadelphia, PA
Search for Bertold Brecht, a german anti-nazi poet and you will find what you seek...
- Only1out10liveStr8, In Your Uterus..., United States
The David Bowie version of this song sounds like a train wreck. I've never heard the opera version but if it sounds that bad I believe The Doors did a superb job making it enjoyable. I didn't even recognize the german influence until I read it on here.
- Brian, Houston, TX
I can see the influence of German songs on this. It sounds almost like a German drinking song, and has that "oom-pah" beat and sound to it most German music has.
- Patrick, Bremen, GA
i could swear that they play this song in the godfather? or am i wrong? i love listening to this song before bed
- Madalyn, Greensburg, PA
who here reads the book all bout Jim M. called "no one here gets out alive" cause i am a super doors freeak
- Steve, Winnipeg, Canada
Another Great Doors song ...Can't help but laugh when I hear it
- Mike, Hueytown , AL
When I first heard this song as a teenager I thought Jim Morison himself had penned it and thought 'Wow, what a mystical baddass he was!' Whoops.
If you like this song, you may like the opera it came from too. I know I do.
The original composers (Weill & Brecht)wrote another song that would be reborn a hit decades later later: 'Mack the Knife' performed by Bobby Darin.
- Jennifer, Los Angeles, CA
I once saw a feature of various singers performing Kurt Weill songs, and David Johansen of The New York Dolls sang lead on this, acting drunk in an old convertible with several other guys acting drunk and like they were up to no good. Ah, just looked it up on and it's called September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill. I wonder what Alabama meant to Kurt Weill???
- fyodor, Denver, CO
When I hear this song, I'm reminded of this strange film short I saw on the old "Saturday Night Live" years ago. It was titled "Babies In Makeup" (spelled out using toy blocks) and this song was the songtrack. It featured all these little babies wearing heavy makeup and costumes. It was vaguely disturbing and I'm sure it wouldn't get past a producer today. It was rather amusing though
- irishcougar, Chicago , IL
Never Heard The david "bowie" version. Interesting?
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
Manzarek's girlfriend actually convinced the Doors to remake the original version of opera she liked a lot,and that's how the song was made.
- Elanor, Zagreb, MO
This song has also a version brought by David Bowie
- arne, gent, Belgium
I'd rather stumble to the next Whiskey Bar and find a little girl
- ioyuhoih, Philly, PA
The lyrics from this song was taken from the German play "Mahagonny Songspiel". The original lyrics were Oh, show us the way
to the next pretty boy!
Oh, don't ask why; oh, don't ask why!
For we must find the next pretty boy,
For if we don't find the next pretty boy,
I tell you we must die!
- ioyuhoih, Philly, PA
drink along song
- Colin, Litchfield, CT
In the original opera version, the line "Show me the way to the next little girl." is something like, "Show me the way to the next little boy." This is because in the opera, it was sung by women.
- Ben, Encinitas, CA
< - Tom, Hallstead, PA>> No other comments? well, I guess it's just you and me, Tom :)

All I would add is that I heard Bowie do the song WITH the part about the next little dollar. I thought it was his own little addition till about 19 seconds ago.

cool song. Kind of like 'Mothers Lament'
- william, phoenix, AZ
This song was written while before the Doors became well known. They were playing at a bar called The Fog. The Whisky bar was the "hot spot" on the strip at that time and they were saying that they want to play there (bands like the Byrds, and Love played there at the time)
- Tom, Hallstead, PA
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