THE DOORS | WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER MORRISON HOTEL & HARD ROCK CAFE

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After shooting the ‘Morrison Hotel’ images for said album, Jim Morrison’s need for drink drove the band down to L.A.’s skid row, where The Doors happened upon a little dive bar called ‘Hard Rock Cafe’. The boys were all piled in John Densmore’s VW van with photographer Henry Diltz, when they collectively spotted the joint with the now famous name on East 5th St. and all said, “Oh, we gotta go in there!”

Side one of  ‘Morrison Hotel’ would end up being named ‘Hard Rock Cafe’, and famously pictured on the back of the album.  The shots taken that day back in December of ’69 are some of my favorite Doors’ pics. Years later photographer Henry Diltz recalled–

“I guess though sometime the next year after the album came out with that picture on the back, they [The Doors] got a call from England and this guy says, ‘Hello. Would you mind if we use that name on the back of your album? We’re starting a cafe over here in London and we would like to use that name.’ And they said, ‘No, go ahead,’ and that was the beginning of it. Now every time I go into a Hard Rock Cafe, whatever city I’m in, I always feel like I should get a free hamburger.”

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December 1969, Los Angeles, CA — The Doors barside at the original Hard Rock Cafe on East 5th Street in Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Sadly, it’s no longer there. — Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis

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December 1969, Los Angeles, CA — The Doors outside the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Los Angeles — Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis

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December 1969, Los Angeles, CA — The Doors drinking with the locals at the original Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles — Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis

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December 1969, Los Angeles, CA — Jim Morrison of the Doors, stands amidst a group of men outside the original Hard Rock Cafe in the skid row area of downtown L.A.  — Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis

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December 1969, Los Angeles, CA — Los Angeles rock band The Doors barside at the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles. The Doors are (L-R): John Densmore, drums; Robbie Krieger, guitar; Jim Morrison, vocals; Ray Manzarek, keyboards. — Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis

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December ’69, Los Angeles, CA — The Doors at the Morrison Hotel — Image by © Henry Diltz / Corbis. The band was denied permission to photograph inside the Morrison Hotel by the proprietors, so they waited ’til no one was looking and snuck in while Henry Diltz snapped the now famous pic from outside the hotel.

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December 1969, Los Angeles, CA —  Rock band the Doors inside the Morrison Hotel during the photo shoot for the album cover of the same name. The Doors are: (l to r) keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, singer Jim Morrison, and drummer John Densmore. — Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis

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December ’69, 1246 South Hope Street, South Park, Los Angeles, CA — Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek outside the Morrison Hotel — Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis

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December 1969, Los Angeles, CA — The Doors at the Morrison Hotel — Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis

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The back of The Doors ‘Morrison Hotel’ album, featuring the original ‘Hard Rock Cafe’ pictured above. — Image by © Henry Diltz

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17 thoughts on “THE DOORS | WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER MORRISON HOTEL & HARD ROCK CAFE

  1. the doors are wanna my all time favorite bands. i hear a lot of ripping on them from critics and friends. i don’t get it. i even had a female record store employee tell me once she did’t like the doors because jim was famous for sleeping with young girls or some nonsense. HELLO every rocker was sleeping with young girls….. doors = amazing. i would love someone to do a story on r. krieger very underrated.

  2. Thanks for this one – VERY interesting! And I agree with Mike – the Doors were GREAT!

  3. they look exactly how I want to look right now! (except for Morrison’s awkward bulging crotch – I am a lady after all)

    great post. X

  4. A wish came true, two weeks ago a thought came to my mind, why there is nothing about DOOR on TSY. I would ask for that but don’t have email or contact info. All the classic goes on TSY, why not DOORS , why not MORRISON.

    The HARD ROCK CAFE information in this GOOGLE world , I never came across, but this is really new to me.

    Again a classy act.

  5. Great post and photos as always….On a completely different subject, however, I have to say this and I don’t think you or your readers will mind, or I hope you don’t.

    Rest In Peace Jane Russell (June 21, 1921-February 28, 2011) You will be missed, but your beauty will live on forever. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, unless your Jane Russell.

  6. u learn someTHING , everyDAY, the barneySbeaner WAS the west hollyWOOD diveBAR he preMEDICATed b4 he went 2 the local STRIPclub 2 finish partYing

  7. Stumbled across your blog last week and have been reading through past posts and I have to say they are great. The Doors were a big influence on me when I was growing up, and I still have a soft spot for them. Thanks for a great piece with wonderful pictures. I love the shot of Morrison outside the cafe with the skid row regulars. Nice.

    Would love to see your take on Ken Kesey.

  8. When I see those pictures, I remember me at my Kinderzimmer, looking twelve times a day at this album-cover. I loved the old drinking faces then, and I love the Bukowski noses now, when I’m fifty years old and look nearly the same.

    you know.

  9. Awesome pictures, but what in god’s name is Manzarek wearing? I’ll give him credit though, it takes a real man to walk around Skid Row in open-toed shoes.

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