April 1971: The Doors End An Era with 'L.A. Woman'

L.A. Woman
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Elektra Records

After a period of creative and personal turmoil, The Doors bounced back with their sixth album, L.A. Woman - a record that would unfortunately be their last with iconoclastic frontman Jim Morrison.

The group had endured some difficult times through 1970. While previous album Morrison Hotel had found them sitting comfortably in the Top 10 of the Billboard album charts for a fifth time, Morrison courted controversy at a Miami concert that ended up with a conviction on charges of profanity and indecent exposure (the latter of which remains contested by some fans). "I think that was the culmination, in a way, of our mass performing career," the singer later told Rolling Stone. "Subconsciously, I think I was trying to get across in that concert—I was trying to reduce it to absurdity, and it worked too well."

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After initial sessions with Paul A. Rothchild proved unsuitable - the longtime producer reportedly decried new tune "Love Her Madly" as "cocktail music" - the quartet picked back up with their engineer, Bruce Botnick, stepping into the producer's chair. Sessions were easygoing, with material developed from bluesy jam sessions. (Adding to the proceedings were some sidemen: rhythm guitarist Marc Benno and bassist Jerry Scheff, who'd recently joined Elvis Presley's TCB Band.)

The resulting album includes several of the band's most beloved songs, from "Love Her Madly" and the blistering title track (which features a just-plain-great anagram of the singer's name: "Mr. Mojo Risin'") plus the epic closer "Riders on the Storm." L.A. Woman took the group back to the Top 10, but its success would soon give way to some tragedy: three months after its release, Morrison was found dead in his Paris apartment, just 27 years old.

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Despite the unbelievable loss to rock and roll, guitarist Robby Krieger has nothing but fond memories of their final work with Morrison. "I'm glad that L.A. Woman was our last album," he said in 2012. "It really captured what we were all about...L.A. Woman is loose, it's live - it sounds almost like a rehearsal. It's pure Doors."

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