Thursday, November 17, 2016

17 Rue Beautreillis

L.A. Woman (AM10)
Artist: The Doors
Produced by:  The Doors, Bruce Botnick
Released: April 19, 1971
Length: 48:24
Tracks: 1) The Changeling (4:21); 2) Love Her Madly (3:21); 3) Been Down So Long (4:21); 4) Cars Hiss By Your Window (4:12); 5) L.A. Woman (7:49); 6) L'America (4:37); 7) Hyacinth House (3:11); 8) Crawling King Snake (5:00); 9) The WASP, Texas Radio and the Big Beat (4:16); 10) Riders on the Storm (7:09)
Players: Jim Morrison – vocals; Ray Manzarek – Hammond organ, keyboards; Robbie Krieger – guitar; John Densmore – drums

Jim Morrison departed this mortal coil in a French bathtub just months after the release of The Doors' most enduring album - as Rimbaud would have done or Verlaine (had they thought of it). Songs like "Been Down So Long" and "Cars Hiss By My Window" sound so authentically bluesy you could almost forget that Morrison had more women than you've ever met, while FM rockers like "Love Her Madly" and "L.A. Woman" smugly rub your face in it. You can pretend that it's equally tragic when someone dies no matter how good their latest work, but we know, you and I, that dying just after you've dropped a kickass blues-rock album is so much cooler; Morrison's performance all the better in his hell-bound rush to disaster. L.A. Woman was no precursor to a faked death. "Love Her Madly" and "L.A. Woman" are among the most accessible songs in The Doors catalog: rootsy, bluesy, and all so ridiculously trippy; the band, so wow, so polished; not to mention that creepy, ragged daydream of a finale, "Riders on the Storm," Jim's ultimate psychedelic road trip. 

The rumors of Morrison's death still abound, and there are many who can picture him clearly, carrying on in Arthur Rimbaud's footsteps, working the land in Africa, free of all his demons and adoring fans. Me, I'll buy into that scenario, but only metaphorically.

Pere LaChaise
On March 11, 1971, Morrison met up with Pam Courson in Paris for a Doors sabbatical; the goal, to get clean, to lose weight, to reconnect with his muse. Three months later, on the morning of his death, July 3, 1971, in their apartment at No. 17 Rue Beautreillis, Jim stayed up listening to old Doors albums, trying to suppress a coughing fit. When he came to bed, he woke Pamela, complaining that he felt sick, and when he threw up a small quantity of blood, Courson suggested they call a doctor. Jim, instead, asked Pam to run him a bath. The last thing she remembed hearing  was Jim asking, "Are you there, Pam? Pam, are you there?" Courson awoke a little after 6am with Jim's side of the bed empty. She found him submerged in the water; a smile on his face. Morrison was dead.