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The Doors - Riders on the Storm - Lyrics Meaning



This song was released on The Doors' 1971 album, L.A. Woman, which was their last recorded album as a complete band. The lead singer, Jim Morrison, died at 27 years old that same year in Paris, France from an apparent heroine overdose, but there was no autopsy performed to officially rule that as the cause of death. Morrison was interviewed shortly before his death and he stated that during college he would hitchhike to visit a girlfriend. The experience of traveling the open road with no knowledge of who you might meet or what could happen formed the basis for this song. "The storm" in the song represents the tumultuous and potentially violent world that we live in. We as people are riders on that storm and we are restless. The "killer on the road" is an alter-ego that Morrison would scribble about and write stories for that were loosely based on his own traveling experiences.

In the hitchhiker, Morrison portrays two types of individuals. On one hand you have the dangerous drifter, who is a killer and cannot be trusted. "If you give this man a ride, sweet family will die" is the line most identifiable with this character. On the other hand you have the peaceful traveler that represents the good-natured and trusting dynamic. This character is represented with lines such as, "The world on you depends, our life will never end". Morrison's lyrics are definitely open to discussion, but the hitchhiker persona followed him through most of his short life.




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