Australian charts: 1971
Riders on the Storm reached no 10 on the Go-Set National Top 40 in November 1971.
According to guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek, “Riders on the Storm” was inspired by the country song “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend,” written by Stan Jones and popularised by Vaughn Monroe. Portions of the song’s lyrics were allegedly inspired by spree killer Billy Cook, whom Morrison referenced in a 1970 interview with The Village Voice, citing Cook as an inspiration for his short film HWY: An American Pastoral.
This was the last song Jim Morrison recorded. He went to France and died a few weeks later. The single was released in June 1971, shortly before Morrison’s death.
The song can be seen as an autobiographical account of Morrison’s life: he considered himself a “Rider on the storm.” The “killer on the road” is a reference to a screenplay he wrote called The Hitchhiker (An American Pastoral), where Morrison was going to play the part of a hitchhiker who goes on a murder spree. The lyrics, “Girl you gotta love your man” can be seen as a desperate plea to his long time girlfriend Pamela.
This song is also on our Spotify playlist.
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