Apr 19

Cars Hiss By My Window

On this day (April 19) in 1971 the Doors released their sixth studio album, L.A. Woman, which included this song, Cars Hiss By My Window. We were BIG Doors fans in my Philadelphia neighborhood! This is the song where I first learned to play the blues.  (I didn’t realize at the time that it was a very common but slightly altered  I/IV/V blues progression, borrowed from generations of black blues musicians, originating in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s.)

Another interesting thing I didn’t suspect at the time (pre-Google in our pockets!) were the other musical influences: for this recording, the Doors hired Elvis Presley’s bassist Jerry Scheff and Leon Russell’s rhythm guitarist Marc Benno to round out their sound. The band began recording without much material and needed to compose many songs, including this one, on the spot in the studio!  Keyboardist Ray Manzarek recalled that “Jim said it was about living in Venice [Beach], in a hot room, with a hot girlfriend, and an open window, and a bad time…” Listening to this song, I can easily imagine the cars, waves, headlights and beaches of Venice. The ending’s pretty dark, but he was obviously in a pretty dark place in his life.

Three months after the release of L.A. Woman, on July 3, Morrison was found dead in his apartment in Paris at age 27. Morrison was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

I would like to dedicate this performance to my good friend Jim M, quite a coincidence.

Dr. Weiss

PS. Join the Weiss Internet Jam Band!

I’m once again inviting the musicians of my ‘extended family’ of patients and friends to engage in a little audience participation (Todd, Sean, Mike, Will – that means you)! Help me add more layers to this straightforward 3 chord blues song – either with your vocal, percussion, bass, guitar, or even an animation or video.  I’ll take the best submissions (if I get any) and fit them into the mix (I promise I’ll make you sound better than ever with special effects!) Then we’ll see what we come up with!

Simple participation Instructions

You’ll need:

  • headphones,
  • two phones or one computer and a phone

Simply listen to and watch the video above (with your headphones on) and record yourself (with a voice memo app) either singing or jamming!  Don’t forget to clap at the end when directed so we can sync recordings.

Lay down a vocal, play an instrument, have some fun!  Then just bring or send in the audio or video file to us (I recommend dropping it into our Dropbox here) and label it FirstNameLastInitial_PartOfSong. For example, a vocal submission from me would be named RichardW_Vocal.

Remember, you don’t have to be a Jim Morrison or Frank Sinatra – just have fun!   It’s that simple!

Bosendorfer piano sound – For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I’ve ever owned!!