I just got into town about an hour ago
Took a look around
See which way the wind blow
Read full Lyrics
Downtown LA with San Gabriel Mountains backdrop c 2007
When Jim Morrison used his name to form the anagram “Mr. Mojo Risin’,” which appears in the lyrics of "L.A Woman," he erected a symbolic monument to his sexuality. (Mojo, for anyone not familiar with the Austin Powers
trilogy, has become synonymous with sexual prowess, although it traditionally refers to a form of hoodoo magic.)
"L.A. Woman" would more aptly be named “L.A. Women
” if Morrison hadn’t had the dual aim of anthropomorphically sexualising his beloved city and turning her into a smouldering vixen that suspects he has betrayed her. “I see your hair is burnin’, hills are filled with fire, if they say I never loved you, you know they are a liar.” But if the city expected total commitment from Mr. Mojo Risin’, She was sadly misguided.
Although California during the late 1960s was the heartland of the hippie revolution, immortalized in songs like “Going to California
” by Led Zeppelin, “California Dreamin'
” by The Mamas and the Papas, and “California Girls” by The Beach Boys, these songs may have been referring to San Francisco, the “eye of the storm” during the Summer of Love. Because of Los Angeles’ vast population - the second biggest in the USA - and its status as the entertainment capital of the world (home to Hollywood, Broadway and Sunset Boulevard), unlike its sister-city, it had a sinister and seedy underbelly. Morrison acknowledges this unhappy fact in his lyrics to "L.A. Woman" when he sings “Drivin’ down your freeways, midnight alleys roam, cops in cars, the topless bars, never saw a woman… so alone ... so alone. Motel, money, murder, madness, change the mood from glad to sadness.” It would seem that his love affair with the city was not always a happy one.
Hollywood Freeway through downtown LA
(thanks, Thomas Pintaric)
Much like their metaphorical equivalent, Morrison’s lonely L.A. women were many. A famous, dark, and inscrutable poet in the City of Angels was bound to find himself a lover or two. In 1965 he met Pamela Courson, his common-law wife to-be, at the L.A. nightclub London Fog located on the Sunset Strip. Courson was an art student at L.A. City College, and in the spirit of the revolution, the couple maintained an open relationship until his death in 1971. In the meanwhile, Morrison became betrothed to his “wife-through-pagan-ceremony,” Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, in 1970. But it was Courson that found him dead in the Paris bathtub the following year, attesting to the binding nature of their fundamental tryst. But their relationship certainly was open: during the preceding years, Morrison also had relationships with teenage fan Judy Huddleston and Mexican exotic dancer/porn star Francesca “Kitten” Natividad, both of whom he met in L.A.
In an interview entitled "Jim Morris & Women" (on Youtube), Natividad, also one-time girlfriend of cult film director Russ Meyer, said, "He liked women that tease and he liked glamorous women. He wanted women that everybody was, you know, looking at.” Smiling, she claimed that “a lot of the girls would say that he’d get on top of them and then he’d fall asleep.” In light of this information, we may guess that when Jim sings “Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light, or just another lost angel?”, the answer would be the latter.
~ Douglas MacCutcheon
L.A. Woman Songfacts
Browse all Songplaces