For the second installment of this feature, I have decided to showcase someone who was born into a world that wasn’t quite ready for him yet.
Someone who was a poet first, and then a music star. Someone who was probably far too intelligent for their own good – their keen understanding of the world they lived in, the system and the restrictions of life driving them to drink and drugs. And boy, was this guy a mean drunk!
To me, Jim is a character who was fiercely intelligent, shy, creative and sensitive but a little flaky with a mean streak a mile wide. Sadly, he was gone before I was even born but his work lives on and the world is still fascinated with him. I came to discover him through The Doors music, but soon went onto his poetry – although I love both.
So what it is about Jim Morrison that endures?
Firstly, his works in music, film and his writings.
Then, he’s a member of the J27 club (a club you really don’t want to be in).
His death was mysterious and there are those who would say that Mr Mojo Risin’ simply changed his looks, faked his death and walked away from it all to live a quieter life.
There was trouble wherever he went – court cases, airplane incidents, arrests…
The fact that he was beautiful didn’t hurt.
And there were the women in his life : if you were female and unlucky enough to get involved with him, you’ d better have been prepared to fight it out with his other women! And there were plenty of them.
Left to right : Long time live in love Pamela Courson, Janet Irwin (the infamous ‘Tiffany’ from the book Strange Days), Patricia Kennealy (Jim’s ‘wife’), Pamela Des Barres (professional groupie). Yes, he had a type….pretty redheads!
Here’s the wikipedia low-down on The Lizard King:
James Douglas “Jim” Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) was an American singer-songwriter and poet, best remembered as the lead singer of Los Angeles rock band The Doors. From a young age, Morrison became infatuated with the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Rimbaud and Jack Kerouac, emphasising his high intellect and ability to incorporate their work into his lyrics, making him one of the most artistic and influential singer-songwriters of all time, along with his songwriting partner in The Doors, Robby Krieger. Unfortunately, in his later life, Morrison developed an alcohol dependency which led to his death at the age of 27 in Paris. He is alleged to have died of a heroin overdose, but as no autopsy was performed, the exact cause of his death is still disputed.
Morrison was well known for often improvising spoken word poetry passages while the band played live. Due to his wild personality and performances, he is regarded by critics and fans as one of the most iconic, charismatic, and pioneering frontmen in rock music history. Morrison was ranked number 47 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”, and number 22 on Classic Rock Magazine’s “50 Greatest Singers In Rock”. Morrison was known as the self-proclaimed “King of Orgasmic Rock”
I think his life is one worthy of reading about, and I have read many books by people who knew him very well, to people who wrote mostly fictional accounts of their life with him. The fact that the (living) ladies he was involved with still fight over him today is testament to what it must have been to have known and loved Jim and have him touch their lives.
For some awesome information about where he lived, click here.
To view the changing state of Jim’s grave in Paris, click here. Following vandalism, graffiti etc the grave is now protected by security but you can still visit and pay your respects. The photos in the link are a fantastic visual of the way the grave site has changed since the 70s. Wherever he is now, I hope he is at peace with the world.
I’m recommending these books to give you a broad scope of the many different accounts of Jim available out there. Each book paints a different picture of Jim, but somewhere in among all of these books, accounts, recollections and interviews the real man emerges and you can form your own opinion about who this enigmatic person really was.
Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison – Patricia Kennealy-Morrison
Your Ballroom days are over, baby – Janet M Erwin (free online magazine)
No One Here Gets Out Alive: The Biography of Jim Morrison – Jerry Hopkins
Light my fire : my life with The Doors – Ray Mazarek
Riders on the storm : my life with Jim Morrison – John Densmore
Wonderland Avenue : Danny Sugerman
I’m with the band – Pamela De Barres
Angels dance and angels die – Patricia Butler