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L.A. Woman by The Doors

Album: LA WomanReleased: 1971
  • "Mr. Mojo Risin'" is an anagram for "Jim Morrison." He repeats the phrase at the end of the song faster and faster to simulate orgasm. Early blues musicians often referred to their "Mojo," like in the Muddy Waters' song "I Got My Mojo Workin'." A mojo is a voodoo charm, usually a bag filled with various plants and items. Different plants would be used for different purposes. If the bag were red, it would be a mojo for love and you would have to put a personal item, such as hair or bit of clothing in order for the mojo to work. If the mojo were made out of a black bag it would be for death. Many white listeners, including Jim Morrison, thought mojo meant sexual energy, and that is how it's usually interpreted today, in part due to Austin Powers movies. (thanks, Kevin - Martinez, CA)
  • Keyboardist Ray Manzarek explained the song's meaning to Uncut magazine September 2011: "A song about driving madly down the LA freeway - either heading into LA or going out on the 405 up to San Francisco. You're a beatnik on the road, like Kerouac and Neal Cassady, barreling down the freeway as fast as you can go."
  • Morrison recorded his vocals in the studio bathroom to get a fuller sound. He spent a lot of time in there anyway because of all the beer he drank during the sessions.
  • The Doors performed this live only once, in Dallas at the State Fair Music Hall on December 11, 1970. The only live recording of this is on the bootleg If It Ain't One Thing, It's Another. The band wanted to bring more musicians along to simulate the studio sound, but Morrison died before they could launch the tour. (thanks, Tony - Westbury, NY)
  • This was the title track to the last Doors album before Jim Morrison died. The remaining members released two more albums, Other Voices and Full Circle, which both sold poorly. (thanks, Jim - Hopatcong, NJ)
  • The Doors needed extra musicians to record this. Jerry Sheff (famous for his work with Elvis Presley) was brought in to play bass, Marc Benno to play guitar. Sheff and Benno were going to tour with the band, but Morrison's death canceled those plans.
  • Morrison got the idea for the "City of Night" lyric from John Rechy's 1963 book of the same name. It describes a sordid world of sexual perversion, which Morrison translated to Los Angeles.
  • They put this together in the studio and recorded it live with no overdubs. It came together surprisingly well. Guitarist Robby Krieger has called it "the quintessential Doors song."
  • The first line, "Well, I did a little down about an hour ago," is a reference to a barbituate, specifically Rorer 714.
  • Billy Idol covered this on his 1990 album Charmed Life, his version hitting #52 in the US. Idol was in the 1991 Oliver Stone movie The Doors, but had to take a smaller role because of a 1990 motorcycle accident that limited his mobility.
    At a press conference to promote the album, Idol explained that he had been playing "L.A. Woman" for years and was a big fan of the song. He would often use it to audition new band members.
  • The Doors produced this album with Bruce Botnick. Paul Rothchild, who produced their first 5 albums, did not want to work on this because he didn't like the songs. He produced an album for Janis Joplin instead.
  • In 2000, the surviving members of the Doors taped a VH1 Storytellers episode with guest vocalists filling in for Morrison. Perry Farrell, formerly of Jane's Addiction, sang on this.
  • Doors drummer John Densmore said in the The Story of L.A. Woman documentary: "The metaphor for the city as a woman is brilliant: cops in cars, never saw a woman so alone - great stuff. It's metaphoric, the physicality of the town and thinking of her and how we need to take care of her, it's my hometown."
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Comments: 81

Love this song love The Doors. Too bad Morrison's dead. And yes, Mr. Mojo Risin unscrambled is Jim Morrison. Did not get that at first.Anna - New Oxford, Pa
A fitting epitaph for the Doors & Morrison.Jim - West Palm Beach, Fl
I believe Jim was singing his love for LA along with his love for Pam. 'I see your hair is burning' i think is a reference to Pam. My favorite Doors song by a mile!Ali - Blackpool, United Kingdom
Its about LA , Jims& Doors Hometown... The begin lyrics are interesting and although misheard a lot, Well I did a little Down about an hour ago. But also the part: Motel, Money, Murder Madness has changed the mood from glad to sadness..... I think Jim refers to the infamous ,,Manson Murders,, in 1969. Jim was feeling real bad about that, as Jay Sebring was Jims Hairdresser. Also slayed at the Sharon Tate houseHanz - Rotterdam, Netherlands
Im sure it is ,,Well I did a little Down about an hour ago......Took a look around, in wich way the wind blowed. And as for the ,,Motel ,... Money,....... Murder madness did changed the mood from glad to sadness. I think Morrison refers to the Tate/LaBianca Murders in Aug.1969. Charles Manson. His Hairdresser&Friend Jay Sebring was murdered too in the Sharon Tate house in L.A. Later on somewhere in the 90''s ,Ray Manzarek made an official VideoClip for L.A.Woman wich shows the old LA-Times Newspapers from Manson & the Murders in that particulair part of the song. In 1969 those Murders had a Big Impact on LA at the time.Hanz - Rotterdam, Netherlands
Cos he's an old blues man and he thinks that we understand but clearly we don't understand looking at all these comments. My god i wish people would think before they press send lmao, but they have entertained me tonight i haven't laughed this much in a long time.Marie - Durham, United Kingdom
Has anyone read the lyrics above its hilarious lmao =0) Someone buy a lyrics book and get them corrected i would do it but i cant be bothered to type and its no good lookin on google cos they are all wrong to.Marie - Durham, United Kingdom
City of Night after the book of the same name! Well I Did a little down refers to barbituate and in no way can be heard as I just got into town!Lindsay - Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Motel, money, murder, madness probably refers to the strange case of Sam Cooke's death! Jim was a great fan of Cooke's and would have been shattered when he was shot in a sleazy LA motel after an argument about a prostitute who stole his money! Sadly we will not know if this is true. But a great song and a fitting 'bluesey' salute.

One indisputable fact: Mr Mojo Risin when the letters are re-arranged spell Jim Morrison-Yes please check!
Lindsay - Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Its also my favourite but why does anybody feel the need to dissect it to the final degree? The point you are missing is that Jim Morisson didn't give a f--k which is why his music was so different and original. He didn't spend hours poring over irrelevant garbage to find his lyrics, they just popped out of his head depending on what kind of drug/alcohol combination fuelled him at the time. Get real and get a lifeAl - London, United Kingdom
I see your hair is burning / Hills are filed with fire. I believe he is refering to Pamela Courson who was a redhead. Redhead = hair is burning
Hills are filled with fire = Freckled breasts.
Walter - Granby, Ct
And if you read "No One Here Gets Out Alive", it says Jim hated downers and more so that Pamela took them.Jay - Baltimore, Md
Seriously, misheard lyrics, I did a down about an hour ago? The lyrics are in " No One Here Gets Out Alive" and they're handwritten by Jim himself. Nowhere does it say,downer,darlin' or any women's gonna have to do?Jay - Baltimore, Md
' Di-got in da town bout an hour ago ' - He's sayin it like that - Sing it along, it fits.

Thought he was saying 'city tonight' before i read the lyrics instead of 'city of night'.


Long song (8min) but you never get bored, its very energetic and alot happening musically. Its seems to be over quickly.


L.A Woman - Brilliant Song!!!!!
Ian - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
L.A. Woman doesn't refer to anyone but a place. He loved being able to leave his hotel get whiskey and find a girl to take back to his room. Unfortunately, I fear most of these girls were unable to 'stimulate' him and were probably sent away crying and fearful.Helvira - Sherman, Tx
The actress who played the hooker in the L.A. Woman video is Krista Errickson. Her john was played by John Doe, bass player and founder of the L.A. punk band X.Mike - Kanata, On
Mr. Mojo Risin does not stand for Jim Morrison's sexual mojo.. it may as well, but that was not its original intent. "Mr. Mojo Risin" is the letters to "Jim Morrison" mixed up.. I saw this in the movie, "When You're Strange".. I strongly recommend it. Love this song!!!Ned - Lawerenceville, Ga
Yeah its been said before but the first line is actually "Well, I just got into town about an hour ago " Geez,it cant be ALL about drugs.Geo - Buesno Aires, Argentina
Does anyone know the name of the girl who who was the hooker in the la women video?Graham Salmon - Melbourne, Australia
While the dispute about the first line is new and interesting to me, I find it amazing to see no discussion of JM's vocal trick at the end, when ridin' ridin' becomes right in right in. After all, he's talking about mojo rising.... Also, the song seems clearly to reference Pamela as she had already exited to Paris, "city of lights," leaving Jim in a metaphorical city of night. I believe Jim unknowingly predicted his death by linking City of Night with City of Lights, where "The End" of his life occurred.Cassa - L.a., Ca
Well Mitch, doesn't Stephen Davis' book count as a "published lyric"? Apparently, he is prone to error, seeing as how "just got into town" was written in Morrison's own hand. Sorry the drunk bastard didn't sing it clearly enough for you the first time around, but it is more decipherable later on in the song. Listen for your "j" then.Tim - Washington, Dc
On page 400 of Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend
by Stephen Davis it does indeed say he said "Did a little downer 'bout an hour ago", despite the published lyrics saying otherwise. Plus, if you actually listen to the song, you don't hear any 'j' sound that would indicate he said "just".
Mitch - Chicago, Il
Hey for all you Harvard graduates, This song is about LA, as in Los Angeles. He talks about Hollywood etc..It is not about Louisana..Let's get real. It is a masterpiece..So enjoy..Jim - Long Beach, Ca
this song is sounds it best when your speeding on the highway at night blasting it at full volume...preferable driving into a city. yes!Nick - Seattle, Albania
Weird. Very weird. I don't know how anybody thought "did a little down" was the lyrics to the song. It's "Just got into town". It's on every lyrics website online. Not only that, but it's on The Doors Perception Box Set. Someone even came up with a reference from those lyrics. How false.Robert - Hesperia, California, Ca
D in MN and Stephan in Canada, listening to this song does not make you want a beer, you crave a beer because you guys are drunks!!Og - Los Angeles, Ca
Great song.
Morrison's sardonic content really set this apart, and his raspy vocals really fit.
Probably my favorite Doors song, and there are many that I like.
Oldpink - New Castle, In
The song is actually about a woman named Linda Ashcroft who Morrison had a relationship with the 4 years before his death. There are references to her red hair (I see your hair is burnin') and the LA Woman is a play on the initials of her name, L.A. She says that her and the city of LA where his only true loves.Sarah - Columbus, Oh
Love this song! This song made me pack up and buy a ticket for la!! What a citybit of a difference than what we're used to in Ireland!! Well, i just got into town about an hour ago.........Bill W - Wexford, Ireland
It's "I just got into town about an hour ago" it's not anything to do with Jim "doing a little down" it's all there in his hand written lyrics in the Jim Morrison Scrapbook.Nady - Adelaide, Australia
This has always been one of my my favorite songs. The Doors brought you to places with their music that most groups today only wish they could!!!!!!Mary - Oakhurst, Nj
Susan from Toronto: you're nit-picky. (You asked.) You have to try and get past things like that in rock songs, or else you're going to end up with a long list of grievances. ("I can't get no satisfaction," "We don't need no education," ...) Rock stars don't have to be grammatically correct - that's why they became rock stars. Don't mean to pick on you though. Fortunately you're able to love the song in spite of that lyric.Jeff - Bethesda, Md
la women was pot listen to the sung at the beginning of the sung closeJo - Strong City, Algeria
I love this song, but (call me nit-picky) why couldn't Jim have been grammatical and sung "you now that they are LIARS," rather than the ungrammatical "you know they are a LIAR." The rhyme is still close enough to "fire" to work. Love the song, but that grammatical lapse bugs me!Susan - Toronto, Canada
On some strange way it's a love song, and it's for Pam.I agree about drink and this song, somehow they are going together... one of the best songs ever!
P.S. think that Mr. Mojo Risin was really risin at the time he wrote song...
Vanja - Novi Sad, Serbia
From the book "The Doors-- The Complete Illustrated Lyrics" by Danny Sugerman the first lines to "L.A Woman" are :
'well I just got into town about an hour ago

took a look around, see which way the wind blow'.

Nothing about downers or anything like that...altho the way Morrison sometimes slurred and screamed his words it's not always easy to figure out the words.

Cool song....the engine sound at the beginning is just so cool turned up really loud and then the building drum beat kicks ass.Densmore is the greatest rock drummer of all time.
Mark - Byrdstown, Tn
If the ?little downer? referred to in the first line was in fact a barbiturate, then it wasn?t a Rorer 714. I believe it must refer to a 714 because barbiturates are notorious for rendering even young men impotent for the duration of their desired effects. On the other hand, The Rorer 714, aka Quaalude (methaqualone), Sopor, Parest ( aka methaquaalude), etc is not a barbiturate, and in most males does not interfere with erection at a dose required to produce the desired downer effect, i.e., one pill on an empty stomach. This drug also had the quality of erasing inhibitions, especially the girl?s inhibitions, so it was a favorite for sexual purposes. It?s an extraordinarily powerful drug that was new to the market, wrongly believed to be non-habit forming, and popularly prescribed by physicians when first released. It's insoluble in water and has such a nauseating taste that it was impossible to sneak into a drink unnoticed. I equate it to oral heroin? a lot of fun but very dangerous.Dan - Greenville, Sc
I agree this song is about La and pam,any morrison lover must understand pam was his muse and 95% of his(that he wrote ) song are about pam. AND IT IS JUST GOT INTO TOWN AN HOUR AGO -read up folksAmber - Hudson Falls, Ny
What is a better anagram than Mr. Mojo Risin'?Michael - Jacksonvillw, Fl
Ok ppl i have a book and it has jim morrison's original lyrics in his handwriting to L.A. woman and it says "Well i just got into town about an hour ago" it is wrote about los angeles nad his true love Pamela Courson.. now you can sit here and argue but let me say this u are wrong!!Gypsy - Los Angeles, Ca
I will have to agree with Samuel from Becker, MN about stop trying to give the credit to Louisiana. The part about 'I see your hair is burnin, hills are filled with fire' is about huge fires in LA at the time. and about 'did a little downer bout an hour ago' instead of 'just got into town bout an hour ago' i read that he had to change it because of the drug reference. so, like on the ed sullivan show, he sang HIS lyrics anyway. drug refernces werent an issue for Jim.Dhani - Wausau, Wi
First of all: Tommy from Shreveport, LA, stop trying to give Louisiana credit.

Second: this is one of the greatest songs ever made by The Doors... in my opinion.
Samuel - Becker, Mn
Jim later joked that, if he ever disappeared into Africa the way his hero Arthur Rimbaud had, he would use "Mr Mojo Risin" as an identification if he ever wanted to contact anybody.Joey - Tampa, Fl
The song isn't addressed to a person but the city itself & it's Jim's somewhat saddened summary of the sprawling town he has loved so well. The woman's hair - the hills of L.A.- are burning. There's nothing but Blues in the suburbs. All of those alleys & highways lead to loneliness. & in four beautifully concise words, Jim sums up the underbelly vibe of all of Los Angeles; Motel, Money, Murder & Madness.Joey - Tampa, Fl
Drive the 101 "Hollywood" freeway on a Saturday night and hear this song come on the radio. Then, you will understand exactly what this song is about; especially in September, when the Santana Winds are blowing and you can smell the brushfires burning.Benny - Seal Beach, Ca
L.A. Woman was the last Doors album released before Jim Morrison's death. The album's style is arguably the most blues-like of the band's catalogue. Most of the tracks were recorded live, except for a few overdubbed keyboard parts by Ray Manzarek. L.A. Woman is an anagram for Nola Wan an Oriental Transexual Mojo allegedly had an affair with in the early months of 1970.Tom - New York, Ny
>>I don't know why but when I listen this song, I need to drink a beer.
- stephan, st georges, Canada<<<

When I listen to this song, I need to have a half-empty bottle of whiskey infront of me...
D - Many, Ma
i think its the version of also sprach zarathustra by nietzsche.) its my best song on the world...Ozan - Istanbul, Turkey
i think its the song version of 'also sprach zarathustra' by nietzsche.) its my best song on the world...Ozan - Istanbul, Turkey
isnt the line "I just got into town about an hour ago"? sometimes misheard as "Well, I did a little down about an hour ago"Alec - Bethel Park, Pa
In regards to Wasil from CT:

Hollywood bungalows in Connecticut? I don't think so. Also, how many freeways does Connecticut have? and, lastly, why the hell is it called LA WOMAN if the chick is from Connecticut?
Jenny - Amarillo, Tx
In regards to Tommy from Shreveport, La:

Why does he say "driving down your freeway?" or "see the little girls in their Hollywood bungalows" if he is singing about New Orleans? This is clearly a song about Los Angeles, not New Orleans. Also "Hills are filled with fire," refers to the Hills in LA. I never knew New Orleans to have such prominent hills as L.A. does. Furthermore, "another lost angel" refers to Los Angeles.......aka "The City of Angels." Other than that, I suppose it could work for New Orleans.
Jenny - Amarillo, Tx
I think this is a great song.....I think all you arguing about what the song means is stupid.....who cares what the song means....Jim morison didnt even know what he wanted it to mean when he wrote it because he was proably drunk...which i think is classic jim morison....This is a great song and the doors need to be more reonized and more appriciated....they are underrated.....Ray Manzarek on the keyboard just tops it off....one of the best bands in history....YEAH GO DOORS!!!
-Chris Galea,,,,Paradise, CA-
Chris - Paradise, Ct
I don't know why but when I listen this song, I need to drink a beer.Stephan - St Georges, Canada
I'm reading City of Night by john rechy. I can see that he got some of his ideas for this song from that book. Its a good one by the way, if homosexuality doesnt bug you.Car - Tulsa, Ok
No, no, no. It's La Woman, about New Orleans Louisiana. Home of voodoo thus the Mr. Mojo Risin. "took a look around to see which way the wind blows' refers to the fact that the wind in New Orleans has both the Gulf of Mexico breeze as well as the west to east jet stream breeze. "Drive thru your suburbs Into your blues" refers to the many small blues night clubs that exist on the outskirts of town since the prohibition days and the City of Lights-City at Night...the town never sleeps....New Orleans.Tommy - Shreveport, La
by the way, is it Robby Krieger or Marc Benno who played the guitar parts ? the song's amazing.....nothing gets closer to it....I firmly believe that The Doors as a band shud be given more credit than Jim Morrison... but Morrison was great too...Kk - London, Me
HARTFORD CONNECTICUT RULES AND JIM MORRISON LOVED IT THERE!!!!!Wasil - Hartford, Ct
Jim Morrison: "Yeah, that's why I was kind of interested in woman as they, to me, were the apt metaphor for my poems, you know. "L.A. Woman" was, then, a poem about a woman, but it was also about Los Angeles which I thought was a city that had very feminine qualities. Very highly intuitive, feminine qualities, which I was rather captivated by. Or captured by, if you will.

http://special.waiting-forthe-sun.net/Pages/OtherSide/interview.html

Just so you know that this song wasn't written about CONNECTICUT.
Stacy - Ashtabula, Oh
Everyone here is wrong about what they think Jim Morrison is talking about when he wrote this song.....Surprisingly its not about L.A. Its about Albany Avenue in Hartford Connecticut. Jim loved writing about Connecticut especially Hartford and New Haven.Wasil - Hartford, Ct
Well I did a little downer about an hour ago....Lov this song sooo much. I always get happy listening to it. Jim´s vocals are just great although I know that he was (unusually) drunk while recording this. You´ve gotta love that man. And I do not think that Jim´s Mojo is sexual, at the time he was always drunk and very depressed and I think that he lost interest in sex and the drugs. All the stuff he loved so much in the beginning of his career as a rock star/poet. He was known as "hollywood´s biggest mercy f**k" because all the young girls (REALLY YOUNG) felt so bad for him but he somtimes got violent and abusive, though I don´t think that happened very often. But like most artists he often suffered. Love him so much, he was almost this sort of "tragic hero", who helped me understand the meaning of freedom.

Rest in peace Jim and I hope you know that you are loved and admired by many people.
Auðurv. - Reykjavik, Iceland
Bethany is right. He changed the lyrics too "I just got into town..." but you can clearly hear that he says "I took a little downer 'bout an hour ago", or maybe "I took a little down about an hour ago". Listen to it and you will know for sure.
-tim, philly, pa
Tim - Philadelphia, Pa
I saw D21C play in North Bay, Ontario about 2 weeks. This had to be the best song they played, it was just awesome. Glad to see that the other guys can keep rocking out, too bad about having to change their name though.Dj - Coniston, Canada
The studio session for LA Woman took place in November 1970, and the piano part was overdubbed in January of 1971. Other than that, the LA Woman LP contained very few overdubs.Barry - New York, Nc
well i just got in town about an hour ago took a look around see which way the wind blows where the lil girls in the hollywood bungalos are you a lucky lil lady in the city of light ( paris) or just another lost angel in the city of night(l.a.) jim was always torn between paris and l. mr mojo risin is his anagram for him dropping out and using a different name.Shawn - So. Portland, Me
well actually the first line to the song was "well i took a little downer 'bout an hour ago" and the had to change it to "well i just got into town about an hour ago" because of the drug refrenceBethany - La, Ca
Mr. Mojo Risin is all the letters of Jim Morrison's name.Jordan - Renton, Wa
Yeah. It is a great song, and the album is great also.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Chris from Nashville is right. this is my favorite Doors song, just a tribute to Jim's hometown.Josh - Las Vegas, Nv
I think you are all worng about the meaning of the song. I think the song is talking about the actual city of los angeles. "Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light Or just another lost angel?" this line coupled with "Drive thru your suburbs Into your blues." is talking about the positives and negatives of the city. How there are the suburbs where the people who have made it in the city live, but also "blues" or ghettos of the city. The Mojo risin part confuses me becuase I dont really know the intended use of the word, becuase obviously the word has a differnet meaning then when it was orginally used, than at the time morrison wrote the song. If you look at the rest of the lyrics it is compltly and 100% describing LA. "Drivin' down your freeway." Im mean come on, I think its pretty obvious.Louis - San Diego, Ca
My favorite line form this song (althought most of the rock) is "motel money murder madness" It reminds me of the game clue, everyone is the killer.Karl - Portland, Or
I agree with Adrian of Wilmington, Delaware! I especially like to hear this song when I'm driving on the interstate in Birmingham, Alabama or any big city for that matter!Kathy - Jasper, Al
liam lynchs "united states of whatever" has the exact same bass line as the intro to this song.. .weirdMatt - Moose Jaw, Canada
Actually you are all wrong. The opening line to L.A. Woman is, "well i just got into town about an hour ago, took a look around see which way the wind blow." If you don't believe me, go out and buy The American Night: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison Volume 2. Then read the Lyric verse section, specifically page 114.

Chris, Nashville, TN Christopher.lively@wku.edu
Chris - Nashville, Tn
During the LA County fair this year they had different bands playing, and one was called "The Doors of the 21 Century", which were the remaining Doors performing. Just random tidbit number 437.Kelly - Burbank, Ca
of course, this song has two of my favorite misheard lyrics of all time...1) "I did a little darlin' 'bout an hour ago" for "I did a little down about an hour ago" and 2) "Any woman's gonna have to do..." in place of "L.A. Woman, Sunday afternoon..."Marvin - East Brady, Pa
Legend has it that Jim drank 30+ beers before recording this song, thus recording it in the bathroom not only because he like the echo it gave, but probably because he needed to pee every three seconds...YEAH JIM!!!Jeff - Wyckoff, Nj
Early blues musicians did not refer to their sexual energy as their mojo. A mojo is a voodoo charm. Usually a bag filled with various plants and items. Different plants would be used for different purposes. If the bag were red, it would be a mojo for love and you would have to put a personal item, such as hair or bit of clothing in order for the mojo to work. If the mojo were made out of a black bag it would be for death. Listen to Muddy Waters' song I Got My Mojo Workin. He is obviously not talking about his sexual energy......Just thought you should know.Kevin - Martinez, Ca
This song just cruises like a car with the top down on an empty highway. Definitely one of the Doors' best.Adrian - Wilmington, De
Very big song for the day. It's still my favorite @ full volume ! Yeah!!!!Pete Chilstrom - Lancaster, Ca
I believe the song was about a woman in LA maybe a fast girl. This is a groovin song. it's my favorite

Mr. Mojo Risin -- Jim Morrison
Desirae - Harrison, Oh