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Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943July 3, 1971) was a singer, songwriter and poet.

Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison

Born James Douglas Morrison in Melbourne, Florida, he was the lead singer and lyricist of the popular American rock band The Doors. He was also an author of several poetry books.

Morrison was the son of Admiral George Stephen Morrison and his wife Clara Clark Morrison, both employed by the United States Navy. He would grow to express drastically different views than those taught to him by his strict, conservative parents.</p>

According to Morrison, one of the most important events of his life came about in 1947 during a family trip in New Mexico. He described the event as follows:

"The first time I discovered death... me and my mother and father, and my grandmother and grandfather, were driving through the desert at dawn. A truckload of Indians had either hit another car or something- there were Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death. I was just a kid, so I had to stay in the car while my father and grandfather went to check it out. I didn't see nothing- all I saw was funny red paint and people lying around, but I knew something was happening, because I could dig the vibrations of the people around me, and all of a sudden I realized that they didn't know what was happening any more than I did. That was the first time I tasted fear... and I do think, at that moment, the souls of those dead Indians- maybe one or two of them-were just running around, freaking out, and just landed in my soul, and I was like a sponge, ready to sit there and absorb it."
Morrison would later revisit this event in the bridge to the song "Peace Frog": "Indians scattered on dawn's highway bleeding/ Ghosts crowd the young child's fragile egg shell mind." Morrison attended Florida State University in the early 1960s, but dropped out and became a "seeker," interested in exploring new avenues and new sensations. He led a bohemian lifestyle in California, attending UCLA's film school, drifting around and sleeping on couches and rooftops, hanging out in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, and voraciously reading books. After graduating UCLA, Morrison read some poems to fellow student Ray Manzarek and they both decided on the spot to start a rock band. To complete the band, two more members, Robby Krieger and John Densmore joined the group. (The name The Doors came from an Aldous Huxley book, The Doors of Perception, in turn borrowed from a line of poetry by William Blake), "When the doors of perception are cleansed/ Things will appear as they are, Infinite". He developed a unique singing voice and a style of poetry leaning heavily on mysticism.
Morrison on Doors album cover
<p>Morrison took for himself the nickname "Mr. Mojo Risin'", ananagram of his name, and which he eventually used as a refrain in his final single, "LA Woman". He was also called "The Lizard King" from a line in his famed epic poem Celebration of the Lizard, part of which appeared on the Doors' 1968 album Waiting for the Sun and which was adapted into a musical in the 1990s.

Even before The Doors formed, Morrison lived by the motto (borrowed from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche) "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom": He indulged in hallucinogenic drugs, drank alcohol in legendary proportions, and indulged in various bacchanalia, sometimes showing up for recording sessions while inebriated (he can be heard hiccuping on the song "Five To One.")

Morrison's performances have influenced many, including Patti Smith. Live shows often possessed shamanistic qualities. To this day, he is widely regarded as the prototypical rock star: surly, sexy and mysterious. The leather pants he was fond of wearing onstage have since become stereotyped rock star apparel.

In 1970 he underwent a neopagan wedding ceremony with writer Patricia Kennealy, but the relationship did not endure.

In the years after the Doors' meteoric rise to fame with their self-titled debut album and its hit single "Light My Fire", however, Morrison's "live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse" lifestyle was catching up with him; he was now a full-fledged alcoholic, and the band was beginning to suffer for it. Morrison's drink and drugs-fueled antics caused rifts with his bandmates and even got them into legal trouble, most notably at a 1969 concert in Miami in which a blind drunk Morrison exposed himself to the audience and simulated fellatio on Krieger as he played.

Morrison moved to Paris in March 1971 with the intention of concentrating on his writing.

Picture of Jim Morrison's headstone in the Le Père Lachaise Cemetery

Jim Morrison died in Paris on July 3, 1971, in his bathtub at the age of 27; many fans and biographers have speculated that the cause of death was a drug overdose, or possibly an assassination by American government authorities. Morrison remarked several times near his death that he was "number 3". Referring to himself as likely to be the third person to die mysteriously after Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The official report listed "heart attack" as the cause of death. Morrison is buried in the famous Le Père Lachaise Cemetery in eastern Paris: because his fans there are generally perceived as nuisances, leaving litter and graffiti behind them, it has been suggested that a new burial site will have to be found.

Some fans believe that Morrison faked his death in order to escape the spotlight. Conspiracy theorists point out that Morrison's longtime girlfriend, Pamela Courson, initially told the press that Morrison was merely "very tired and resting in a hospital", that very few people had actually seen the corpse prior to its burial, and that Morrison, in the months prior to his 'death', had often talked jokingly with his bandmates about "splitting to Africa". Doors drummer, John Densmore, upon visiting Morrison's grave for the first time, is said to have remarked that it was too short. There have even been recent stories surfacing of Jim Morrison being alive and well, and living the life of a cowboy in the Pacific Northwest; filmmaker and auctioneer Gerald Pitts claims to have discovered Morrison living on a ranch in 1998. One can go to this site Jim Morrison A Living Legendand judge for oneself. To further fuel the mystery, in 2002 Manzarek published "The Poet in Exile." This novel relocates a thinly veiled Morrison, Gauguin-like, to the Seychelles islands in a spiritual journey of discovery and understanding.


Stories of his resurrection started almost immediately after his death when the Bank of America allegedly had dealings with a Jim Morrison. In 1975, "The Bank Of America of Louisiana" was published by Zeppelin Publishing Co (supposedly owned by William Casselbury – a Jim Morrison nom-de-plume). The opening words are:

"This is the Story of The reappearance on earth of a dead Hollywood rock star as super hippy, disguised as a mild-mannered Louisiana banker. This book is based on fact, however, there is no warranty that this book is entirely as published herein totally factual, as certain things had to be changed such as names, because if I did not, I would find myself back into the courts. This is a novel novel, that is a phrase in which two words pronounced the same, is used first as an adjective and secondly as a noun. For purposes of judicial review this is a fiction."
Jim Morrison

The website Doors claims the author is WE Casselburry – or that Morrison is Casselberry (there is a Casselberry mentioned but authorship of the book is Morrison).

"I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps "Oh look at that!" Then – whoosh, and I'm gone... and they'll never see anything like it ever again, and they won't be able to forget me – ever." – Jim Morrison

Courson died in Hollywood on April 25, 1974.

The Morrison legend was revived in 1991 with Oliver Stone's biopic The Doors, starring Val Kilmer as Morrison.

Books allegedly authored by Jim Morrison

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Jim Morrison

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