James Morrison 12/8/43 - 7/3/71
genuinely shy manner and soft, quiet voice was in direct contrast to the always
drunk and/or stoned satyr who sang with such strident urgency, as he appeared
Jim's grade school ambition
was to become a writer. His idols were poets and joumalists including Rimbaud,
Keats and Jack Kerouac.
As a student Jim excelled in
text work and reference work, devouring knowledge in areas of history, science,
psychology, english and the arts, but was troublesome in class. He learned to
make friends fast and not get too close as his father being an Admiral in the
navy and a career man, moved around the country frequently.
Jim went on to get a degree in
Cinematography and actually made a movie. The film was greeted by a minority as
a masterpiece and by several professors as the worst film they had ever seen.
"Wierd" would have been a more appropriate description. Not long after
that he bumped into an old class mate, Ray Manzerak, and decided to join Ray's
band 'Screamin ' Ray Daniels ' - and try out some of his Iyrics. After a
reshuffle in the band Ray and Jim with Robbie Krieger and John Densmore formed
They called themselves The
Doors after Aldous Huxley's 'The Doors Of Perception' and worked for six months
ending up at the most important rock club in Los Angeles, Wiskey a Go Go. By
this time Jim was singing his own heady material and The Doors were fast gaining
a loyal core of fans.
One night Electra Record
Company's president Jac Holzman, and producer Paul Rothschild, dropped in at the
club and signed the band, on the spot, for ten thousand dollars. That summer of
1967 their first album 'The Doors' was released and immediately hailed as a
masterpiece. 'Light My Fire' the single off the album was a smash hit. Their
next album 'Strange Days ' solidified The Doors ' success. -With two albums in
the top ten, headline concerts causing riots and hit singles, Jim achieved his
aim of becoming hero and controversial spokesman, blending poetry and insanity.
The Doors became myth makers,
the group who sang about sex, doom, the revolution and death, and Jim a
performer of enormous capabilities. With his picture on the cover of practically
all teen magazines in America, and heralded 'The King of Acid Rock', 'The King
of Orgasmic Rock ', 'The Ultimate Barbie Doll ' and 'The Lizard King' Jim was
every girl's dream and every boy's self image.
Jim was becoming notorious for
his drug taking, taking and fast living and by the time The Doors third album
'Waiting For The Sun' came out, his popularity had begun to wane as his fans
watched him become drunker and fatter.
Arrests after The Doors' Miami
concert of March 2nd 1969 for "lewd and lascivious behaviour" sparked
a nation wide ban on the group, resulting in exclusion from 16 states, and Jim
began to rebel against the image he had created, shedding his leathers in fear
of another bust. Twelve previous arrests had not left their mark, but this was
the first time his arrest had serious repercussions.
Their next album 'The Soft
Parade'released in the summer of 1969 did not make the impact of the earlier
albums and although 'Morrison Hotel' released in early 1970 redeemed them
somewhat, the future of The Doors was at best, uncertain.
Jim was not unaware of his own
absurdity and the Iyrics of 'Absolutely Live' (1970) belie his disillusionment
"Dead cat in a top hat,
Thinks he's an aristocrat That's crap"
With the f finish of the
bluesy and intermittently successful album 'L.A. Woman', Morrison headed for
Paris. He was probably looking for renewed inspiration in the birth place of
French symbolist poetry and-surrealism.
So Jim met his partner Pamela
in Paris and his restless soul finally found peace when he died in his bath tub
on July 3rd, 1971. Speculations as to the cause of his death abound and their
are some who even proclaim that he is still alive.
Before he went to France he
had recorded a legacy to Doors fans and the world at large with some of his
In 1978 the remaining Doors'
members, Ray Manzerak, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore got together and put his
poetry to music for the latest album 'An American Prayer' In it Jim seems to be
prophesing his own death and welcoming it, through lines such as:
makes angels of us all & gives us wings
we had shoulders smooth as raven's claws
more money, no more fancy dress
other Kingdom seems by far the best
its other jaw reveals incest
loose obedience to a vegetable law
will not go
a Feast of Friends
the Giant Family. "