What does Riders on the Storm mean?

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The Doors: Riders on the Storm Meaning

Song Released: 1971

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Riders on the Storm Lyrics

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Riders on the storm
Riders on the storm
Into this house were born
Into this world were thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out on loan
Riders on the storm

Theres a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin like a toad
Take a long...


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    Sep 23rd, 2012 9:40am report

    What this this song is really about is of a guy who is let loose from a mental institution (into this world we're thrown), only to find that someone has been screwing his partner (there's a killer on the road). The felon is suffering from guilt (his brain is squirming like a toad)and so has to take a break from time to time. The felon doesn't understand why he does what he does and therefore feels like an actor out on loan. Indeed he is the real rider on the storm.


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    Jun 6th, 2012 6:40pm report

    Strange but notice how similar the music and rhythm are between Billy Jean and Riders.


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    Apr 7th, 2012 4:32pm report

    Oh shit i missed it on the previous note!!!
    here the killer also seems to signify the (death or mishap as others also said) taking toll on your life any time it wants....
    the songs of morrison has it's charm in so different ways you can hardly write all of those at the same time...
    "so long jimmy..."- 'JAMES BLUNT'


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    Apr 7th, 2012 4:17pm report

    The magic of Morrisson, stating many words with one sign, the word "riders" of the song generated from "Ghost Riders In The Sky," a cowboy song by Stan Jones.(acc to his crew)
    Now coming to meaning it states about life...
    where storm signifying the unending hardship and troubles. If you see minutely you may find that he is trying to draw a lay out of daily life. Into this house where house is our world and we being the son of The god almighty are thrown with nothing to hold (we born with out a thing). 'Like a dog' here is another taunt to god, if we spell god in reverse it turns to be dog and that is also without his loving piece of bone. So here we start our journey.
    the life takes turn at many events and from the beginning it changes a man utterly the same man can turn into killer or a normal man having a quite social life(although a relation to the 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 can be drawn too, but that stops the song to be an universalized one ).And lastly he portrays a man who just lost his love may be even following a breakup. all of these pain cling to our life(storm).and we still play the role on the stage of this world (relation to the Shakespeare quote "All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts")
    and with all these trouble we still ride the life.
    so let's ride...


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    Mar 25th, 2012 3:48pm report

    Jim would often write songs in his head on the long drives to gigs. The killer on the road is a hitchhiker anxious to talk to anyone and this(he is afraid) would distract him from his creative effort and kill the song.
    "Girl you gotta love your man..." is gratuitous mention of the girl back home, commonly done to empower the woman while her man is away.
    The entire theme, (dog without a bone...actor out alone(onstage)..." is the excitement of creative energy in the face of adversity.


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    Mar 14th, 2012 3:09pm report

    it is always about the man, but the woman is the one left behind with the kids,watch the video, it is a great song, but come on.


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    Feb 3rd, 2012 2:17pm report

    I was eleven years old when this hit the air waves,and i remember that it reminded me of the Manson murders,and it still does.It mighta been on Doors mind as well,just a thought


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    Feb 3rd, 2012 2:15pm report

    I was eleven years old when this hit the air waves,and i remember that it reminded me of the Manson murders,and it still does.It mighta been on Doors mind as well,just a thought


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    Jan 10th, 2012 1:15am report

    My humble opinion it is a 100,000 foot overview of the "world" and life. Riders on the storm are human beings as we are born into a chaotic world filled with controversy and power struggles due to the "killer on the road" that individual who could be labeled "satan" for lack of a better reference, is the fearful or jaded or non "Jesus" person (again comparison-Jesus represented love faith, could be Buddha or Allah) so we must not pick up this "stranger or "influential" person or habits into our journey/car as it will kill our spirit -assuming we were born into this world without even a "bone" and our mothers must love "men" to keep us from becoming over aggressive - hunters and the love must continue with the wife "woman gotta love your man" as if in life 2 men struggle symbolically both of their women could prevent the power struggle. For women that do NOT "make him understand" or guide the soul it allows them to become the killer on the road-which means anything aggressive really from greed to firing an employee because they pissed you off. We are all riders on the storm/plant and the peaceful true family dynamic could calme the storm, the storm or chaso of the world that has been around since the world was spinning...my opinion Ricardo Red Hot PR


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    Jan 5th, 2012 1:45am report

    the writeups re his personal demons/addictions etc. ring true on one level but i think there are several more levels of truth in his poetry/song -

    the killer on the road is closer to home than we realize - maybe you or i or dear
    friend- a nice person you've met at starbucks and go for a ride with - in a certain setting - such an alien act more ordinary than we like to believe -
    "his brain is squirmimg like a toad"
    "sweet memory will die"
    fantastic images
    a fantastic poem for the times

    before we got used to the everyday horror of ordinary modern life.


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    Aug 17th, 2011 8:15pm report

    If anyone would care to watch late Bill Hicks's stand up act called "Its just a ride", they would understand this song better as I feel a lot has been derived from this song into his act or maybe out of pure coincidence (our luck), many have tried to deliver this message through their work..

    Trying my hands at understanding this song better-

    Riders on the storm
    riders on the storm
    - our life is like a never ending ride and we are all riders.Its a tough world out there, almost like a storm but we gotta ride through these hurdles anyway.

    Into this house we're born
    into this world we're thrown
    - we are born to certain people, put in certain communities, groups and other divisions but the fact remains, we're all born "alone" and pushed into this world without a warning. It's an individual battle right till the end.

    Like a dog without a bone
    an actor out alone
    - we are left as "desperate" as a dog without a bone and as "purposeless" as an actor out alone.

    There is a killer on the road
    his brain is squirming like a toad
    - our ride wont be so easy, a killer will always beckon in the name of government, politics, religion, drugs, temptations, ego, money, power, greed etc and they have their ways because the evil is constantly manipulating to bring us down.

    Take a long holiday
    let your children play
    - Nevertheless enjoy your ride because that's all that it is. Do everything that makes you genuinely happy.See the world and make children smile.

    If ya give this man a ride
    sweet memory will die
    - If you give into this killer which will be like a temptation of false happiness, you will not enjoy your ride.Life will slip away in petty needs and you will not have one good memory of it to flash before your eyes.

    Girl you gotta love your man
    girl you gotta love your man
    - A woman's love is everything a man ever needs. That is the purpose of life.

    Take him by the hand
    make him understand
    - Only a woman can help a man ride on the right path. It's only her who can make him understand, there is no greater purpose than love in this journey. Everything else is a false reality.

    The world on you depends
    our life will never end
    - Tranquility in the world depends on a woman's love, only she can show a man as a woman and as a mother how to love and be loved and if no man is left untouched, life would be infinite. (These two lines may also largely refer to sex and reproduction, as that is life itself)

    If you are still reading, really appreciate it. Long live dreamers!


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    Jul 20th, 2011 7:15pm report

    "Riders on the storm. Into this house we're born. Into this world we're thrown."

    God has abandoned humanity. Alone, we must somehow keep our ship afloat.

    "Like a dog without a bone. An actor out on loan."

    We are in need of fulfillment.

    "There's a killer on the road. His brain is squirming like a toad"

    Possibly the Devil. His mind is twisted. He may also be the source of the very storm which torments us.

    "Girl you gotta love your man...The World on you depends. Our life will never end"

    Love remains humanities sole hope for salvation and life ever after.


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    Jul 19th, 2011 7:36pm report

    This song is an existential, absurdist portrayal of life. In other words, it's about human existence in a Universe that does not care. This is what I think the song means, though I'm mainly opposed to its viewpoint.

    Riders on the storm
    Riders on the storm

    This refers to human existence: mere riders (and notice, riders, as opposed to drivers) in a violent environment.

    "Into this house were born
    Into this world were thrown
    Like a dog without a bone
    An actor out on loan"

    Our existence is without purpose. We are born and raised in a life in which we have no bearings and have to find our own meaning. Notice the connotation of a dog, making us no better than any other animal. An actor, on the other hand, lives a life of pretending to be someone else, hiding his true emotions and thoughts.

    "Riders on the storm"

    "Theres a killer on the road
    His brain is squirmin like a toad"

    Describing the craziness and irrationality of this world.

    "Take a long holiday
    Let your children play
    If ya give this man a ride
    Sweet family will die
    Killer on the road, yeah"

    Then we are treated with an absurdist Universe that doesn't care that such innocuous actions can have grave repercussions: It's a Universe with no higher power of good.

    "Girl ya gotta love your man
    Girl ya gotta love your man
    Take him by the hand
    Make him understand
    The world on you depends
    Our life will never end
    Gotta love your man, yeah"

    The song builds up to what many consider the ultimate force of good: love. It is built up to be what the world depends on, but in the end, even the actions of love are meaningless, and only serve to spew forth another generation to live in the misery of this world.

    So, bottom line, Riders on the Storm is a hopeless outlook on the absurdity and irony of life, and the pointless toil we put into this existence that serves, in Morisson's opinion, no purpose.


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    Jun 11th, 2011 6:08am report

    This is about existentialism


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    May 12th, 2011 5:30am report

    this song has a menaing far beyond anything that the human mind can comprehend smoke 4 joints and take 4 tabs of acid then listen it'll come to you in time...

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