Behind Jim Morrison’s ode to the City of Angels that is The Doors’ “L.A. Woman”

Although some Beach Boys fans might believe that Brian Wilson’s ode to West Coast lovelies “California Girls” was the ultimate west coast song, Jim Morrison wanted to craft a more mature post modern ode to his City of Angels personified inamorata in his quintessential song for Los Angeles, “L.A. Woman.” But what is the meaning behind Jim Morrison’s most personal tribute, he penned to his adopted home city of L.A?

Most Doors fans would believe that the title track from The Doors final 1971 LP was Jim’s lyrical ode to his wife Pamela. In reality, “L.A. Woman” is a lyrical letter to the city that Morrison both loved and loathed. Inspired by one of Jim’s unlikely, other paramours, as Michael McClure, Morrison’s poet friend explained, the inspirations for Jim’s most famous L.A. song when he said in Ben Fong-Torres book The Doors, “A poet doesn’t just hand his work over to people. Diane Gardner was a recipient of a bulk of his work. “L.A. Woman” is Los Angeles but Diane Gardner was a magnet for the concept of “L.A. Woman.”” Gardener herself talked about how she became Jim’s muse for the title track of The Doors last album when revealed to Fong-Torres, “It’s things that happened. “Into your blues, into your blue, blue, blues.” I was always painting him blues in my apartment. “L.A. Woman” was like a description of exactly what happened to us.” But what about Pamela, how did Morrison’s wife feel about Jim’s extracurricular relationship with Gardner? Diane added, “When “L.A. Woman” came out [Pam] said, “Well, at least I got the line, ‘I See your hair is burning,’” she said, “That’s all I get?””

Although Diane Gardner and to some extent Pamela Courson Morrison may have been the original impetus for “L.A. Woman,” The Doors title track was in reality as Jim’s poetic comrade explained above, Morrison’s conflicting emotions about his adopted city of Los Angeles. Everyone has a specific interpretation about Jim’s song. Ray Manzarek’s shared his take on his singers lyrics with L.A. Weekly when The Doors bassist explained, “You arrive looking for a little girl in a Hollywood bungalow. Then it goes to half-time. Motels, money, murder, madness. Film noir L.A. You go through the back alleys of Hollywood, looking for drugs, witnessing a crime. Someone pulls out a roscoe and is blasting right between the eyes. They fall hard and fast, blood splashing everywhere. Then they shoulder the gun and get the fuck out of there. That’s L.A. Woman.”

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