Roadhouse Blues

Album: Morrison Hotel (1970)
Charted: 50
  • songfacts ®
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  • Lyrics
  • When Jim Morrison got drunk, he liked to sing blues numbers at The Doors jam sessions. This in one of the songs he came up with at one of those inebriated sessions.
  • If there was an actual roadhouse that inspired this song, it was probably the Topanga Corral, a windowless nightclub in the counterculture enclave of the Topanga Canyon, where Jim Morrison lived. To get to the venue you had to take Topanga Canyon Boulevard, which is full of twists and turns - you really did need to "keep your eyes on the road, your hand upon the wheel."

    The Corral, where Little Feat and Canned Heat played and Linda Ronstadt was often spotted in the audience, burned down in 1986.

    There was a cabin behind the Topanga Corral that many sources say Morrison bought for his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. This could be what provided the line, "In back of the Roadhouse they got some bungalows."
  • John Sebastian from the Lovin' Spoonful played harmonica. He is identified on the album as "G. Puglese" because he was afraid to be identified with The Doors in light of Morrison's arrest at a concert in Miami when he was accused of exposing himself to the crowd. Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure and sentenced to six months in jail, but he died while the case was being appealed. In 2010, Florida governor Charlie Crist granted Morrison a pardon, clearing him of the charges.
  • Guitar great Lonnie Mack played bass. The Doors usually did not use a bass player.
  • Doors guitarist Robby Krieger joined Creed on stage at Woodstock '99, where they performed this. It is on the Woodstock '99 CD.
  • This is the first song on Morrison Hotel. The album was a return The Doors' earlier style. On their previous album, The Soft Parade, they used a lot of strings and horns. Morrison didn't do much on that album because he was drunk for most of it and had nothing to do while all the instrumentation was being worked out. Before The Doors had a record deal, they played many Blues songs in their long club shows.
  • Outtakes from one of Morrison's recording sessions were used to dub his voice into a version of this on the 2000 tribute album Stoned Immaculate, where he duets with John Lee Hooker.
  • In 2000, the surviving members of the Doors taped a VH1 Storytellers episode with guest vocalists filling in for Morrison. Scott Stapp from Creed sang on this.
  • This was released as the B-side of "You Make Me Real."
  • The Doors occasionally recorded old blues songs, but even though this sounds like it could have been one of them, the wrote it themselves.
  • This has been called "the ultimate bar song," and it continues to be played by bar bands everywhere.
  • Doors guitarist Robby Krieger recalled to the NME July 17, 2010 how the album title came about: "Ray (Manzarek, keyboards) had been driving around downtown LA, and he saw this place called Morrison Hotel. So we decided to go down and shoot some photos there, but the guy who owned the hotel wouldn't let us inside it. I guess they thought we were hippies. There were a lot of drunks and bums hanging around that area. Anyway, we snuck in there real quick when he wasn't looking and got the shot that became the cover of Morrison Hotel."
  • The Doors put together a video for this song using footage shot for a tour documentary called Feast Of Friends that was never completed.
  • Status Quo covered this song on their 1972 album Piledriver, and the song quickly became a live favorite for the band. The group was wildly successful in England, and like many UK acts, was influenced by American rockers, often doing successful covers (their version of John Fogerty's "Rockin' All Over The World" went to #3 in the UK). They were never able to conquer America, however, in part because they didn't tour there until 1973.
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Comments: 57

  • Andrea from Australia Ahhhhhh long live Jim Morrison and the Doors. " BRILLIANT " song that is known through all generations
  • Mike P from Old Lyme, CtThere's 2 great facts about this song, one which has been mentioned briefly a couple times and one not mentioned at all. First, I'll address the "woke up this morning and got myself a beer" line. Despite how great this line is, and how many times in my young and dumb youth I sung this out loud to myself and anyone around me when I woke up still drunk from the night before and popped open a beer to start my morning, haha, it's just simply not true. It is, in fact, as a few people mentioned, "woke up this morning and got myself a beard". This is according to Ray Manzarek (who should know since he was there!), in his book "Light My Fire". He states that this song, Roadhouse Blues, is actually about Morrison waking up after nearly 3 weeks of drug induced sleep after a particularly wicked bender he went on, and was shocked to find he had a beard when he woke up, realizing how long he must have been out for this to happen. The Alice Cooper incident is often cited as the source for the "had myself a BEER" line, and it apparently did happen, and Morrison may have allegedly used BEER instead of BEARD sometimes when singing the song due to this incident with Cooper, but the true original lyric is definitely BEARD.

    Also, a great little hidden gem I can't believe no one else has picked up on and commented about yet is the line "Mr. Mojo Risin'!" While this line is somewhat non-sensicle, it makes a lot more sense when you realize it was a clever little trick. The line "Mr. Mojo Risin'!" is simply an anagram of Jim Morrison. Try it out, write all the letters down, and you'll see it's true! Be careful though to write down the letters as they are used in the 3 words in the song - Mr and not Mister, and Risin' not Rising with the g. Pretty cool, eh? Neat factoid! Someone told me that in college 15 years ago and I realized he was right and thought to myself, hehe, good ol' Jim, what a clever bastard!!!
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkWhat a knock-out of a song! Roadhouse Blues is still a favorite song of mine. I first heard it on their "Morrison Hotel" album in 1970 when I came home from the Army and Vietnam. In 'Nam, The Doors were very popular & their songs were played on AFVN radio there. I think I heard "Roadhouse Blues" for the first time in 1970 on an "underground FM" radio station out of Kansas City. Talking about wild, weird, and spaced-out "underground music"----they had it & then some LP cuts from The Doors, Beatles, Frank Zappa, the Wild Wonderful Wart Hogs, etc. Anyway, I love this song even now. I was saddened recently to hear that we lost Ray. What a great talent! He is missed. And Morrison is still missed, after all these years. It seems that I still do hear rumors of sightings of Jim Morrison somewhere across the USA. Strange days, indeed.
  • Natu from Addis Ababa, EthiopiaThe first The Doors song I've ever heard and it was love at the first hear.
  • Jr from Bloomington, InI've woken up many a time and got myself a beer (or beard if I had not shaved for a while. Ha). Great song from a great band.
  • David from Woburn, MaThis is one of the greatest rockers ever recorded, and the best part is, there are so many to choose from! First, the original which is of course legendary in its own sense. Next, there are, what, 50 different live cuts of this? My personal favorite comes off the "American Prayer" album that was later featured on "Greatest Hits." It's the one recorded at Felt Forum where Jim addresses the crowd about his Zodiac sign and wanting to have a good time. And finally the "Stoned Immaculate" cut with one of the greatest bluesmen ever, John Lee Hooker. That version is just so filthy it's amazing. I'm sure they're having a beer together in hell right now (in the wise words of Mark Twain, go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company!)
  • Marc from New York, NyJim exclaims "Do it Lonnie, Do it!"-to Lonnie Mack who played the Lead guitar & solo on this track from Morrison Hotel.
  • Mike from San Diego, CaI also like and answer to the question posted by William of Laurel Canyon, CA.

    I Morrison singing "Do it, Robbie, do it"?
    Or is it as some other lyrics quote it as, "Do it, Lonnie, do it" or even "Do it honey, do it"?

    I've always thought it was, "do it, Robbie" sing Robbie Krieger's solo that follows.
  • David from Youngstown, OhMorrison Hotel was remixed and remastered in 2007 and includes numerous takes of Roadhouse Blues done on Nov. 4 and 5, 1969. Also, the "official version" of Roadhouse Blues on the remixed and remastered version includes additional vocals, guitar and piano.
  • Nady from Adelaide, Australia"Woke up this morning and I got myself a beer!" what a legend
  • Joeywalnuts from Miami, Flthis is one of the reasons that the doors are my favorite band ever... they can hit you with the blues, classic rock sound or just some very nice melodies to relax... got to love jimbo
  • Rose from Philadelphia, Paeverytime i hear this it's like the first time all over again!!a good way to start my day!!only bad thing it makes me want to forget everything and just go on down to THE ROADHOUSE !
  • Susan from Toronto, CanadaApparently the improvisation is Jim obscuring some sexual talk "eacha puna" is "eat your p...[fill in the blank]"
  • Mark from Byrdstown, TnThis song is on most every Doors CD I got.They must have really loved it and I do too! The scream Morrison usually gave out to start this song off is just bone jarring and I love it every time!

    ..'the future's uncertain and the end is always near'---that about says it all, doesn't it?
  • Tim from Austell, GaLittle know fact about this song, Lonnie Mack didn't just play bass. He also played the lead guitar in the middle. Robby wasn't too good on this at the time but worked on it for the live shows later. To avoid embarrassment, Lonnie was simply credited with the bass.
  • Dani from Hamburg, Nyi love when jim improvises in a song....he would sing what he felt like at the time....great song!!jim's spirt is with his music, peace
  • Dmytro from Kharkiv, EuropeVery good song, especially the last line of the text. By the way, we can hear this song in the film "Roadhouse" with Patrick Swayze.
  • Chenel from Salamanca, NyI agree with Anthony from Tucson. (all the way at the bottom). It's a definite shame music cannot be produced like this today. I mean, I'm sure it's possible but Jim Morrison is a true poet. He had such life and spirit with his music. Hahaha, by the way, my mom said this song describes me perfectly. I have no idea why, but I won't complain.
  • Parasuraman from Trivandrum, IndiaI really enjoy this song especially the incoferent mumbles in the middle. They're a great subversion of the piece bien fait!
  • Parasuraman from Trivandrum, IndiaThis is one of the best songs I know. I particularly like the incoherent mumblings in the middle. A great subversion of the Piece bien fait which is a piece bien fait itself!
  • Eric from Milford, PaThe line "I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer" was inspired by Alice Cooper. Him and Morrison were talking at the recording studio just before Jim went to go record this song. He asked Alice about his day and he responded "Ehh.. Woke up this morning.... got myself a beer."
    Morrison decided to use the line in the song.
  • Dhani from Wausau, WiPersonally, I love it when Jim just starts making up his own words in the middle of the song. They aren't words at all just some ramblings..only Jim Morrison could pull off such a thing and make it sound good.
  • Mark from Los Angeles, CaIt's not: "Well, I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer.", but "Well, I woke up this morning and I got myself a beard." This according to Ray Manzarek.
  • Jonathon from Clermont, FlThis is definitely the best bar song ever, and one of my favorites from the Doors. Pretty sure he's giving a shout out to Lonnie Mack before that solo, but it might just sound that way.
  • Elie from London, Englandthis song is so raw and powerfull and amazing and hey how could it not be when being sung by the best band in the universe
  • William from Laurel Canyon, CaAmazing song, blows my mind every time I listen to it. Question: In the studio version of this song right before Robbie's guitar solo does he say "Do it Robbie do it," or "Do it Lonnie do it?"
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScFor those of you who don't know the Jim Morrison/John Lee Hooker and scott Stap versions of this song are different. I know this becuase, I previewed Stoned Immaculate, the doors tribute album on amazon.com.
  • Veronica from Melbourne, AustraliaWhatever mood i'm in (e.g) angry, happy or sad,
    I can listen to the doors, and i'm only 12.
    All my friends at scool think i'm wierd because i love the doors,and because i borrow books from librarys on the doors, the think i'm even more wierd. when people at school make fun of me (for a reason unrelated to the doors) i just can't wait to go home and listen to the doors because it makes me feel better
  • Emily from Philadelphia, PaAlice Cooper claims on his late-night radio show (on wmgk 102.9, in the Philadelphia area) at the line "I woke up this morning and grabbed myself a beer" was credited to him. Apparently, he was describing his morning to Morrison, who stopped and wrote down the line in a notebook after Alice said it.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThe live version is pretty cool and funny. At least the one I've heard. It's on a greatest hits compilation that they released. don't know the title of it though.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScYou probably find a similarity in those songs, because they sound similar Johnny. You're not the only one.
  • Tj from Tumut, Australiaone of the best drinking songs in the whole of the time music has been around
  • D from Many, MaListen to to "You make me real" (Morrison Hotel). About half way through, you can hear him singing "you gotta roll, baby roll" in the backround, faintly.


    >>actually waking up in the morning and grabbing a beer puts a hurtin on a fella after a while.
    - Dennis, Moncton, - -<<

    Hence the picture of the butterfly on the LA Woman album. See "When the Music's Over"
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis song is good anywhere. You can play it wherever you want, whenever you want. I for some reason compare it to "THE WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat.) Why is that?
  • Cowticket from Indiana, InI beleive this is the doors at their best, an excellent drinking/blues song. Also I like to listen to this song when I am driving long distances. I would also like to suggest, if you like this song you may like Jonathan Edwards - Shanty, which sounds strikingly similar. Thanks.
  • Dennis from MonctonI have been drunk singing this song on more than a hundred occasions at least. I love blues and actually waking up in the morning and grabbing a beer puts a hurtin on a fella after a while.
  • Mike from Sacramento, Caoh man oh man I'm older And for the first friggin time I get a real chance to finally listen to the Doors/Morrison I have been working a day (slave job) and doing Indie film productions and ya da ya yada I'm driving my car for another film shoot so I put in this cd the classics doors and wo wo wo wo I was like whoa? !! and made a few phone calls asking around is this singer alive still? and was very sad to hear he passed on,road house blues and LA Woman are in my book totally incredible I really do not think we will ever come across a fella like him (morrison) and well there is this one other guy I'm watching cause I think his mojo has not risen yet but let's look and see what Johnny Lang has got to offer the world I feel he has stories to tell still yet! who knows for now I'm playing the Doors cd to death ! LoL
  • Brandon from Saskatoon, Canadathis is such a cool and moody song. it's such a party song. I wonder if it'd be good for drinking to......
  • Mike from Harrison, Nythe live version is much better than the, well, non live version.

    i like it a lot better anyway. its got more feeling and i think this song sounds better with the amount of feeling the live version has!!
  • Barry from New York, NcThe Doors played the legendary Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970 as well as Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Who, Sly & The Family Stone, Ten Years After, Richie Havens and many others. At the festival, "Roadhouse Blues" was their encore. A bootleg cd called PALACE OF EXILE erroniously placed "Roadhouse Blues" before "Light My Fire."
  • D from Many, MaI'm talking about the live recording that is
  • D from Many, MaWhat just about makes the song and sends chills up my spine every time I hear them, are the changes in his voice's inflection as he sings "Let it Roll, baby, roll...". [Agreed on the question: "How come the current music can't be as good as this?". Perhaps people forgotten their dreams and have gone back to sleep for a while].
  • Don from Philadelphia, Pa"The future's uncertain, and the end is always near" I love this line, it's so true.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI always thought it was "Passionate lady. Give up your vows."
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScProbably mmy fave doors song too! The live version on The best Of the Doors cd is awesome! I like the guitar riff at the beginning, you know the intro! It's pretty cool, and the song is just one of those you wanna dance to! I love it!
  • Paul from Rothesay, Nb, CanadaYou can also hear a rockin' live version of this
    song off Blue Oyster Cult's "Extra-Terrestial Live" album, featuring Robbie Krieger on guitar.
  • Dan from London, Englandiv got the live version on my ipod and basically the guitar riff begins and then jim does one of his characteristic screams and the noise of girls screaming actually deafens the music for a moment anyway its worth getting
  • Jayme from San Clemente, CaHey...this song rules but umm he says 'ashen lady....give up ur vows' what doest that mean? i always thought it was Passion lady???
  • Loretta from Liverpool, Englandthe flecktones covered this, but it didn't sound anything like this original masterpiece-- almost a totally new song!!
  • Renzis from Holland, United States"Well, I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer" You're damn right Rhett, that line just captures the whole essence of being free.
  • Ryan from Salt Lake City, Utthis is the BEST song ever by the Doors Jim Morrison is awlays alive in musical spirit
  • Rhett from Melbourne, AustraliaWell, I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer. - what a line! what a song! this song captures the brillance of Morrison. He was truely a god.
  • Anthony from Tucson, AzIt's a shame music today isn't near this level. Today it is more about the image and not the music. Morisson was a passionate, incredible frontman, his image came naturally. But it shows you, we are still talking about this song now, i wonder if the same will be true in 40 years about today's music.
  • Luke from Somonauk, IlI agree with the 3 of you,this is an excellent song.(How come the current music can't be as good as this?)
  • Brian from Paoli, InMy favorite Doors song too, good bar song.
  • Terri Lynn from Heart's Desire, Canadamay not be one of the more famous doors songs but definatly one of my personal favourites. it has a great beat and is a perfect song to sing along to.
  • Jojo from Hawkes Bay, New ZealandOne of my all time favourites, always makes you want to get up and dance.
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