The Doors, Stéphane Thidet, Hanns Eisler… The art of rain


Find the mythical title of the Doors, sublime inspiration from a classic country and last piece recorded by Jim Morrison; the installation of visual artist Stéphane Thidet where everything drips, an allegory of a reality that we can no longer trust; the song first performed by Cliff Edwards in the musical The Hollywood Revue of 1929, by Charles Reisner, in 1929 and which will then have many other interpretations, including that of Gene Kelly; without forgetting the series of variations composed by a fellow soldier of Bertolt Brecht.

For The Doors, a “storm in the desert” by Jim Morrison

The Doors, in concert in Frankfurt (Germany), in 1968, with from left to right: Ray Manzarek (Hammond organ), Jim Morrison (vocals), John Densmore (drums) and Robby Krieger (guitar).

A distant clap of thunder, the harmonics of a ride cymbal that seem to follow the rhythm of the falling drops, a hypnotic bass line and dancing Fender Rhodes strums… Impossible to imagine Riders on the Storm without the famous rainy introduction which imbues the whole song with its drizzly and mysterious atmosphere, inseparable from its score in E minor.

“A Storm in the Desert”, these are the words that the singer Jim Morrison gives as an indication to his companions of the group The Doors, the keyboardist Ray Manzarek, the guitarist Robby Krieger and the drummer John Densmore, to set to music the mystical lyrics he has just laid down on his notebook. THE “Lizard King” (“Lizard King”) himself suggested the addition of sounds of rain and thunder, during the studio sessions which took place at the Doors Workshop in California, in December 1970, during the final sessions of the album THE Woman.

Read the review (2012): A new state of play of “LA Woman”

Nothing is more evocative, in fact, than a storm to tell the story of a lone wanderer. The poet in black leather evokes in particular in his prose “a killer on the road”. It is inspired by a news item that made headlines in the early 1950s: Billy Cook, a 23-year-old hitchhiker, murdered six people, including a young family, during a bloody road trip from Missouri to California. . A dark story that had already served as the plot for the experimental film HWY: An American Pastoral, directed in 1969 by Paul Ferrara. The charismatic Doors singer plays a hitchhiker himself in this fifty-minute metaphysical road movie, shot partly in the Mojave Desert and in Los Angeles.

Musically, the song is initially inspired by a country classic (Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legendperformed by Stan Jones and the Death Valley Rangers in 1948, a superb ghostly ballad on which the Californian quartet regularly jammed during their rehearsals.

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