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Jim Morrison: Dec 8 1943 – July 3 1971 ~ long live the legend of the Lizard King

July 5, 2011

The face that launched thousands of trips: leader of The Doors, the indubitable Jim Morrison

Yes, 40 years ago on Sunday, the formidable front-man of psychedelic rock powerhouse band The Doors, the self-styled Lizard King, Mr Mojo Risin’ himself or (if you prefer) plain-old Jim Morrison broke on through to the other side in oh-so suspicious circumstances. Laconically cool, effortlessly irresistible to either sex and instantly and eternally iconic, Morrison was arguably both the real deal (a foremost figure of the late ’60s counter-culture with electric talent) and a seductive charlatan (a handsome poet who captivated kids with ideas and moves nicked from Nietzsche, the Beat Poets, Van Morrison and Native American mysticism).

Truth be told, his legend surely would not have endured in the way it has had he not died in Paris aged just 27 (ensuring his membership in the ’27 Club’ – a group of rock musicians who all died at that age, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain). He left us young, sure, but, boy, did he cram a lot into his life – fame (nay, notoriety), devotion, drug addiction and, apparently, a plethora of sexual partners, supposedly numbering fellow rock stars of his era Grace Slick, Nico and Joplin herself.

Anyhoo, if any time is the right time to celebrate the strange days of Jim Morrison then this surely is it, so here follows, peeps, a collection of quotes about and attributed to, rare images of, and (my own favourite) musical performances by that man Morrison – yup, long live the legend of the Lizard King, indeed…

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We could be so good together: Jim Morrison showing off with his girlfriend and/ or common-law wife Pamela Courson, with whom he shared his life before and during his years of  fame 

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Jim read as much and probably more than any student in class, but everything he read was so offbeat I had another teacher, who was going to the Library of Congress, check to see if the books Jim was reporting on actually existed. I suspected he was making them up, as they were English books on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century demonology. I’d never heard of them, but they existed, and I’m convinced from the paper he wrote that he read them, and the Library of Congress would’ve been the only source.~ Jim Morrison’s senior-year English teacher

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Land Ho!: Jim Morrison steps off an aeroplane with the other members of The Doors (left to right: John Densmore, Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek) at the height of their late ’60s success

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“Hey, man, we just did the Sullivan Show” ~ Jim Morrison’s supposed response to the producer of The Ed Sullivan Show in 1967, after the latter told him The Doors would never play the show again because Morrison had not altered drug trip-referencing lyrics when singing the song Break On Through (To The Other Side)

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The end, beautiful friend: the resting place of Jim Morrison in Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris

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‘”ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ (translation: ‘according to his own daemon’, or less literally: ‘true to his own spirit’)~ the Greek inscription on Jim Morrison’s gravestone, erected by his father

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2011 2:26 am

    A wonderful artist, a lovely musician.
    Unfortunately everything about him and The Doors was drug orientated.
    Just like Hendricks, Joplin, Bolan and others, Morrison probably died because of drugs.
    Such a shame that his brilliance and his legend is tainted by his stupidity.

    • July 5, 2011 10:32 pm

      Yes, it’s a pity that Morrison (along with Hendrix, Joplin and others of that era) died so damn young, denying us potentially further top tunes.

      Still, one may argue that, in the years since their deaths, a lot of their appeal has been the fact that they were beautiful and talented young ‘uns who are no longer with us. So, must admit, I sort of both agree and disagree with you. ;)

      Anyhoo, thanks for your comment, Peter…!

  2. October 26, 2011 1:22 pm

    Later half of sixties was a good time for Morrison to be alive. The raging counter-culture with its angst ridden yearnings, primal sexuality, unhinged drunkenness and a wildly seductive notion of enlightenment- was ready for him. He came and lent a veneer of sheer sexiness to the excesses of his era.

    http://modernartists.blogspot.com/2011/09/weird-scenes-inside-goldmine-death-lust.html

    • October 26, 2011 11:23 pm

      He certainly did Dhiraj. One could argue he was a fake, but (in the words of Martin Balsam in Breakfast At Tiffany’s), he was a real fake… ;)

  3. December 14, 2011 10:48 pm

    Hi, I really enjoyed your post. Just wanted to let you know that I republished it on http://www.jimmorrisonproject.com.

  4. Camellia permalink
    March 28, 2012 11:23 pm

    I hope people too remember that Ray, Robbie and John were massively talented musicians, they really were superb and some 40 plus years later their collective genius still shines. I especially love John, one of the best drummers of all time. We are blessed with their music, I love them, and I wasn’t even born then. I want a time machine. RIP Jim x

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