Soul Kitchen

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  • Jeffrey McMeans gave us this account of Olivia's:

    "I lived 150 yards from Olivia's. It was 75 feet south of the corner of Ocean Park Blvd. and Main Street, in Santa Monica. 2618 Main St.

    You walked into the place and there were five or six stools at he counter on your left and 3-4 small tables on the right. When you first walked in, though, there was a Wurlitzer jukebox on your left. When she got to know you, Olivia would show you how to play songs for free.

    She was a little woman, probably not 5 feet, but a heart of gold and quick and easy to smile. She sold you a card for $5 and you got five $1.25 full dinners for that. It was all southern cooking, but I only ate fried chicken. Then, there were a couple or three vegetables you had never seen before and the sweetest piece of corn bread. I can honestly say I ate there hundreds of times as I was going to Santa Monica City College at the time, and where could you find a meal for that price? Nowhere.

    On the wall to the left as you walked in were velveteen pictures of JFK and MLK, Jr. I can smell the food now. The clientele were mostly college-age people. It wasn't until 20 years later that I found out that 'Soul Kitchen' was because The Doors used to go there.

    It was the best of times, then. In 1966, paying no more than $5, I saw The Doors, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, all at The Whisky A Go Go, and also caught Love at a huge party/dance at Chouinard Art Institute in LA. It cost $7 a semester to go to Santa Monica City College and 50 bucks to buy a '50 Chevy. When it broke down, you never fixed it as you just went out and got another one. Once I splurged and spent 65 bucks for a '49 Chevy convertible.

    Back then, we were all outlaws and knew it. Smoking pot was looked down on and cops (pigs) were out to stop us. In fact, society was trying to stop us from having a good time and we were having none of that. Some were doing acid but not me, until New Year's Eve, 1966 and after that, I knew that what they were putting down - like settling down and doing what mom and pop did and following the rules - was not the path I was going to go down. We never had TVs back then because our lives were more happening than anything on TV. I went to all of the beginning rock festivals including The Magic Mountain Festival in Marin County the week before The Monterey Pop Festival, which I also went to. It was the best festival of any of them and I know because I went to Woodstock, too, which was also great.

    I drove Jimi Hendrix to a gig, a free concert on June 25, 1967, the week after he blew all of our minds at Monterey when he burned his guitar. Driving him to this gig, he dug my Russian fur hat. When I got to the gig, I said to myself that I had brought him here, so I would get as close as I could. Jim Marshall took a photo."
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Comments: 25

  • Jeffrey from Simi Valley, CaSoul Kitchen was written about Olivia's Place at 2618 Main St. in Ocean Park(Santa Monica). It was run by Olivia, a little black woman with a great smile and she
    made soul food that cost one dollar for a full meal. I went almost every night in 1965 and 66. Tiny little place with the best vibes and warmth. It was
    in a very rundown part of town in the mid Sixties that is now very upscale. There is The California Heritage Museum on the site now at 2612 Main Street.
    When I lived there in 1966 going to Santa Monica (City) College, I rented a whole floor of a mansion, still there now, for $100. bucks a month.
    In 1970 or 1971, Bill Norton filmed a scene for Cisco Pike there. Olivia’s Place was also the inspiration for the song "Soul Kitchen" by The Doors. It was demolished in 1972 or 1973 as part of a redevelopment project that turned Santa Monica's Main Street into a boulevard of trendy expensive shops and restaurants. "Well, the clock says its time to go... learn to forget, learn to forget, learn to forget... Let me sleep all night in your soul kitchen... I really want to stay here all night..."
  • Natu from Addis Ababa, EthiopiaI light another cigarette
    learn to forget
    learn to forget... Nice one!
  • Sam from Torrance, CaThe organ in the second verse is missing on the original release. It is restored in the 40th Anniversary reissue.
  • Nate from New York, NyThis is not the second longest song on the album. Light my Fire is. But this song is still awesome.
  • Michael from Austin, TxSoul Kitchen was the first song I ever played with a band. The guitarist introduced me to the Doors first album before 'Light my Fire" got airplay. I learned the song by ear. I played with a guitarist and a drummer. I played left handed bass and keys on my dinky 4 octave Mini Compact Farfisa.
  • Roger from Sacto, CaThis song was about an area where the Black GI s spent their R and R, in South Viet Nam during the War. Things were still pretty segragated back then!
  • Kurtis from Portland, OrExcuuuuuuuse me,but in FORRSET GUMP",The Movie,The Jenny on the ledge song was "FREE BIRD" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.The walking in vietnam song (one of many)was "SOUL KITCHEN" by The Doors.Any questions.......
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaIt is about Olivia's in Venice Beach(LA). That was Jim's favorite place to grub becouse it reminded him of home in the south. Great song..
  • Beth from Winston-salem, NcActually, the Doors song featured in Forrest Gump is Love Her Madly. It's when Jenny tries to commit suicide by jumping off the ledge of the apartment building she was in.
  • Nady from Adelaide, Australiawhenever i hear this song i get a hankering for ribs...mmm riiiiibs
  • Ray from Memphis, TnRay Manzerek's backing vocals on the version from their original double live album are fantastic. That song is the best thing on that album.
  • Nady from Adelaide, Australiai hate it when people cover doors songs,it ruins it for me
  • Roy from Granbania, MaThe keyboard riff in this song is very catchy. Although it is similar to the opening riff to When the Music's Over, I like the use of it in this song better. This one's a classic for sure. Great stuff as usual.
  • Michael from Jacksonvillw, FlThere is a line is John Recky's "City of Night" that says, "The neon forrest of LA." This seemed to influence Morrison when he wrote "neon grove."
  • Mark from Byrdstown, TnThis song always seemed to me to be a longing by Jim for some place safe and warm and cozy where he could rest and feed his soul.Even Morrison ,who lived as wild as anybody in rock ever has,must have longed for some warm quiet times once in a while to let his poetic side absorb some much needed energy.
  • Matthew from Los Angeles, CaI think that this song is about a Spanish Restraunt that Jim use to eat at when he was going to UCLA film school.
  • Pete from Peru, NyI think soul kitchen is a metaphor for a woman's vagina........
    But I could be wrong.
  • Ray from Memphis, TnReally love the live version of this song in particular. One of their best.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThank you I didn't remember that. I don't remember that. Apparently there were more Lynyrd Skynyrd songs in that movie too. Sweet Home Alabama." Maybe I don't remember these songs because, I didn't know them at that time.
  • AnonymousAgreed with Andrew. This is the ultimate song. Great to listen to when hooking up with Girls. This song kicks ass!
  • Brettt from Grapevine, TxMorrison stated that the restraunt was poor and having pieces of paper as the menus but it was still a great restraunt
  • Andrew from Cleveland, OhAlthough you sound pretty confident, Stefanie, Soul Kitchen is used in Forrest Gump, as is People Are Strange, and Hello, I Love You. Break On Through (To The Other Side) is just the only Doors song featured on the soundtrack.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScNo Peter> The song that was used in "Forrest Gump" was "Break On Through To the Other Side". I know because Ive seen the movie, and I also have the sound track.
  • Majesta from Waynesboro, VaX covered this song on their "White Girl" album. X, if you don't know, is an early west coast punk band that Ray helped produce for. You can find the version on their anthology, and if you are a HUGE Doors fan like me, I think you will like the cover for its uniqueness.
  • Peter from Providence, RiIf im not mistaken this song is used in Forrest Gump
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