Riders on the Storm – Guitar Song of the Week

riders on the storm guitar song of the week header

In articles tagged with “Guitar Song of the Week” I want to showcase one classic rock song that involves some tremendous guitar work and has a certain relevance for rock history. We’ll kick this one of with a great song by The Doors – Riders on the Storm!

Writing “Riders on the Storm”

“Riders on the Storm” is one of the classic songs on The Doors’ album “LA Woman” from 1971. As organist Ray Manzarek remembered, it all started off with a little doodle on his keys. Jim Morrison joined in with the original lyrics on the track, and Ray put in some “dark jazz” tunes on the keys again. The famous hookline that goes on throughout “Riders on the Storm” (E Minor to A Major) was born, and from then on the song just evolved! Guitarist Robby Krieger added his awesome guitar parts to it. Although his guitar is not as prominent in the song as it could be, it just fits in perfectly. That’s a key lesson to take away kids – a guitar does not have to be in the front of a song in order to sound great!

From then on, the song just evolved with its ongoing blues pattern. Morrison’s lyrics add a perfect climax curve to it: from a very calm, but weird setting (rain in the desert? What the…?) to a very dark atmosphere. Two lyric lines I want to highlight, as they’re just extremely well written:

There’s a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin’ like a toad
Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If ya give this man a ride
Sweet memory will die
Killer on the road, yeah

This part basically describes the dark scenario of a hitch-hiker who is out there to kill the family Jim sings about – which is the darkest part of the song. Interestingly, he gets back to a very romantic love-theme in the next passage:

Girl ya gotta love your man
Girl ya gotta love your man
Take him by the hand
Make him understand
The world on you depends
Our life will never end
Gotta love your man, yeah

As Ray Manzarek said – how beautiful is the line that the world depends on one person. Just great and definitely an awesome guitar song.

Okay, enough talk – here’s the song with a great video of Jim Morrison driving around the Mojave Desert:

Another video I want to recommend to you: Ray Manzarek talks about Riders on the Storm and how the whole song was created. Just beautiful!

What do you think? Despite the reduced guitar parts, is this a guitar song you would rate as highly as me?

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