Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison: The Driven Man who Died too Young

Jim Morrison: The Driven Man who Died too Young

He was considered a rock musician who voiced the fantasies, visions, fears and self-destructive tendencies of the late 1960s: Jim Morrison, who would have turned 80 on 8 December 2023. 🎤

The singer of The Doors, who wrote poetry while he grew up as the son of an officer, was always searching and striving to pass through the gates of perception. We take the opportunity to congratulate him posthumously and explore the mystery of this icon of the psychedelic era.

Icon of hippie culture and musical shaman

Morrison, whose full name is James Douglas Morrison, became famous for his excessive and non-conformist lifestyle as the lead singer of The Doors. His illustrious career only spanned a few years; he left his unmistakable mark for from 1965 until his death in 1971. But these years undoubtedly had it all. Shaman, sex symbol, and legend: Driven by ambition and contempt, Jim wanted to break free from the norms and constraints of the time and create something new. The press turned him into a sex symbol and he became an icon of hippie culture in the late 60s.

 

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Non-conformist pioneers of their time

With “The Doors”, he and his bandmates were visionaries of their time and were at times considered the most influential band in rock music. As the charismatic personality he was, Jim Morrison created multi-layered concept pieces and forms of rock theatre. He was also known for spontaneously reciting poetry at Doors concerts. The magic lay in the symbiosis of mystical, longing lyrics, Morrison’s sonorous voice, and a musical framework that was simply unique at the time. As a singer, Jim was the egocentric poster child. Ray Manzarek was the musical mastermind and played a decisive role in shaping the sound of the band with his electric piano and his Vox Columbia organ.

 

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Drummer John Densmore distinguished himself as a jazz-trained musician and psychedelic percussionist, which was a perfect fit for the surreal, kaleidoscopic sound of the band. He played a small Mod Orange drum set from Ludwig, and also used Gretsch drums and Zildjian cymbals during the early years. His ride cymbal work in particular has been described as some of the most distinctive in classic rock. Guitarist Robby Krieger, whose original career plan was to become a flamenco guitarist, combined influences from classical music, jazz, funk, and rock on his favourite instrument – a wine-red Gibson SG Standard.

Gibson SG Standard HC

Gibson SG Standard HC

 

Defeated by himself

Towards the end, Jim Morrison had difficulties dealing with the cult that surrounded him and sadly lost himself in a swamp of alcohol and drugs. Several scandals paved his way. For example, he dropped his trousers at a concert in Miami in 1969 – bloated and barely responsive. A mass brawl broke out and the police arrested him. A year later, there was a public nuisance trial in which he was initially sentenced to six days in a labour camp, six months in prison, and a fine of 500 dollars. His lawyer appealed and in the end, Jim got off lightly and remained free. However, the result of this spectacle was that radio stations stopped playing his songs and concerts were cancelled.

 

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Wanderer between genius and madness

For many he is a god, for others a personification of the devil. Eyewitnesses tell stories of voodoo-like live shows where people paid tribute to the new messiah. Jim Morrison’s life was extreme and self-destructive, a journey paved with resistance to authority, scandals, anger, and passion until his eventual downfall due to alcohol and drug abuse. The story was made into a biographical and dramatic film in 1991 by director Oliver Stone with Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison and Meg Ryan as Pamela Courson. Although the film is titled “The Doors”, it’s actually more about Jim Morrison and the Doors.

 

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Leaving a legacy in just a few years

Jim Morrison died on 3 July 1971 in Paris. His girlfriend Pamela Courson discovered him lifeless in the bathtub of his hotel room. Although the coroner’s report stated a cardiac arrest as the cause of death, the exact circumstances could never be determined with certainty. The funeral was rushed and no autopsy was performed. Like so many stars who died young, Jim Morrison only lived to be 27 years old. We would definitely have wished him a longer life. Congratulations on his 80th birthday, which he unfortunately did not live to see! Your music remains.


Which is your favourite song by “The Doors”? We look forward to your comments!

Author’s gravatar
Simon's passion for music generated a long time ago, and led him to become a guitarist and self-produce his music with the band Onyria.

7 comments

    Tried to run, tried to hide. Break on through to the other side.

    Not to touch the earth not to see the sun, nothing left to do but Run Run Run, Lets Run.

    half-gallons of wine and six packs of beer. . . . . . .
    hey man, you want girls, pills, grass, come on I’ll show you. . . . . . .

    great shaman ahead of his time in the world spoke the truth humanity wasn’t ready for his visons

    no eternel reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn

    blood on the streets up to my ankles
    blood on the streets up to my knees
    blood on the streets in the town of Chicago
    blood on the rise it’s following me

    I saw Jim Morrison and the Doors live, at the University of Michigan, on October 20th, 1967. Yes, the worst concert in Michigan history, turned out to be the greatest concert of the century. Remarkable how the music mesmerized and hypnotized, but Jim Morrison…he paralyzed me ( and the remaining 50 or so in our Homecoming Dance) .I will give more details in the near future. Thank you, Mr. Morrison. ❤

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