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Album: Morrison HotelReleased: 1970
Doors guitarist Robby Krieger came up with the guitar riff. The lyrics were based on two of Jim Morrison's poems, one called "Abortion Stories," which is where the bloody images came from.
This was written in the studio. After Krieger got the guitar riff, they went through Morrison's notebooks and found the poems to create the lyrics. The first lines they got were "She came, she came, she came, just about the break of day."
The lyrics about the Indians refer to an auto accident involving a group of Indians that Morrison's family came across on the highway. Morrison, who was a child at the time, felt that the ghosts of the Indians took up residence in his soul. This scene is portrayed at the beginning of Oliver Stone's movie, The Doors.
The lyric "Blood in the streets of the town of Chicago" refers to the 1968 democratic convention.
The lyric "Blood in the streets of the town of New Haven" refers to Morrison's arrest in New Haven in 1967. From the stage, the enraged singer explained that he was with a girl before the show, and, "We started talking and we wanted some privacy and so went into this little show room. We weren't doing anything. You know, just standing there talking, and then this little man in a little blue suit and a little blue cap came in there. He said 'Whatcha doin' there?' 'Nothin'.' But he didn't go away, he stood there and then he reached round behind him and brought out this little black can of something. It looked like shaving cream. And then he sprayed it in my eyes. I was blinded for about 30 minutes."
At this point, 3 police officers came onstage and arrested Morrison for breach of the peace, giving an indecent and immoral exhibition and resisting arrest. He managed to strike a crucifixion pose before he was taken away, and some audience members fought with cops.
Krieger recorded a version with Smashmouth for the 2000 Doors tribute album Stoned Immaculate
Radio stations usually play this together with "Blue Sunday," which follows it on the album.
This song was featured in the 1998 movie The Waterboy. (thanks, Adrian - Gettysburg, PA)