James Douglas Morrison the greatest rock star of all times and creator of songs that simply depict the “love revolution” that was going on in the nation at the time. His voice and his band became a symbol of freedom and happiness expressed in a careless yet extraordinary way. Jim Morrison’s lyrics depict the life of a rebellious and very outgoing soul inspired by philosophy and great minds resulting in some of the greatest songs of all times. Even though the majority of people see Jim Morrison as a party animal, the way he wrote songs and the way he performed on stage can only be described as the work of a “genius”.
Douglas Morrison was born on December 8th 1943 on a small city on Florida’s eastern coast. As a kid, Jim lived in several places because of his dad job in the navy. He was constantly moving from one state to another attending to different school as a result. During his youth, Jim experienced events that change his life forever. The events marked his life in such way that he refers to them in some of his most famous songs.
Even though that Jim Morrison lived a relatively short life, his lyrics and his characteristic performances on stage improvising with self written poetry will always be remembered as well as his peculiar and explosive personality. His achievements as the lead singer and as the member of one of the best bands in history (the Doors) are considered among the most important in music history. The life of this poet, philosopher and very talented singer, got compromised ever since his band became famous in 1967. In the following years his alcohol and drug abuse, which was extremely evident in some of his most famous performances, would be the cause of his death at age 27 in Paris, France.
Jim Morrison’s allegedly died as a result of a heroin overdose, but since there was no autopsy performed on his body the actual reason of his death is still unknown and surrounded by controversy. Whatever the cause of Jim Morrison’s death may be, he will always be remembered as a charismatic, intelligent and very talented “Rock Star”.
Nick name: “Jim Morrison”, “The lizard King” and “Mr. Mojo Risin” (a set of words formed with the letters found in the name “Jim Morrison”.)
Born: December 8th 1943
Place of birth: Melbourne, Florida
Died: July 3rd, 1971, Paris, France
Profession: Singer, poet, musician, philosopher, songwriter, actor, filmmaker
Origin: Irish and Scottish
Known for: being the greatest rock star of all times, his very characteristic improvised poetry while performing on stage, his alcohol and drug abuse, his amazing voice and lyrics, his great band “the Doors”, his erratic and explosive behavior, his death at a relative young age etc. etc.
Childhood and growing years
As part of a family of 5 having a navy officer as the head of the family, James was constantly moving from one state to another. James together with his younger sister Anne and his younger brother Andrew attend to different schools in at least 3 different states. As the event that change James’s life forever, he remembers that once on a family trip he saw a terrible accident on the highway near a Native American reserve which he recalls to have seen the family badly injured of death. This event marked James life in such way that some of his most famous songs refer to this incident.
As student teachers remember James as a bright student that loved to read, one of his teachers in high school during his senior year said that James was the student who read the most than any other student. He was fascinated by the works of authors such as Nietzsche, Rimbaud and James Joyce as well as Greek historian Plutarch and other famous authors. There is an anecdote from another teacher that says that he wasn’t sure that books mentioned by James actually existed, in his disbelief he went to the Library of Congress to check if the books James cited were actually real. To the teacher’s surprise school assignments read by Morrison indeed existed but these books were so old (16th and 17th century) that the teacher had no idea of their existence.
After graduating from high school in Alexandria Virginia, Morrison decided to return to Florida as his dad got transferred to work in another state. Back in Florida Jim lived with his grandparents in Clearwater Florida and attended school at St. Petersburg College. By this stage in Morrison’s life he had already developed a very rebellious attitude as well as a particular appeal for drugs and alcohol. Before graduating from high school, Jim had already discovered alcohol and other drugs that were very common during the 60’s. When Jim was on his early teens, he was a well behaved kid but as soon as he grew older (particularly during his high school years) his behavior radically changed resulting in a disruptive and problematic student. This behavior worsened during the time he lived with his parents. Even though his grandparents didn’t drink alcohol and totally disapprove his grandson way of drinking (specially the way Jim did), Jim would drink heavily nearly every single day and come back home really late at night totally obliterated just to make his grandparents angry. Nearly a year after Jim moved with his grandparents, he transferred from St. Pete College to Florida Seminole University (FSU) in the state’s capital.
While attending university in Tallahassee, Morrison got arrested because of his involvement on a prank after a FSU football game. At the time Jim got arrested he was under the influence of alcohol.
Little after 2 years studying in FSU, Jim became very passionate for films and visual arts. By 1964 following his instincts and one of his FSU professors’s advice, Jim decided to move to California to study in UCLA’s very prestige film school. It was in UCLA where Morrison got his Bachelor’s degree and where his poetry and filming style where considerably influenced. A year after he transferred to UCLA Jim graduated from university, but honoring his attitude as a rebellious young man and his some how careless behavior, Jim refused to attend to his graduation ceremony instead he requested to have his diploma sent to him by mail. This unique ideology of going “against the flow” and against pre established social standards would play a very important roll in Jim’s stereotype as the “greatest Rock Star of all times”.
Even though most people remember Jim Morrison as a party animal on and off the stage, his incredible poetry ability together with his magnificent talent of portraying his ideas an emotions through his songs and lyrics, plus other great talents that are also as remarkable as the others, have inspired hundreds if not thousands of artist all around the world. After graduation Jim pretty much clubbed all his great skills with his reckless behavior while leaving a life with little or no worries to form one of the greatest bands of all times, “The Doors”.
Jim lived with some of his UCLA friends in a building’s rooftop in Venice Beach; in this place Morrison wrote some of his first songs that years later would become extremely famous all around the nation and the world. Some of the most famous songs that Jim wrote in this place include, “Moonlight Drive”, “hello, I love you” among others. As Morrison and his buddies didn’t have a lot of money at the time, the way Jim and his friend lived was very limited, however one of Jim’s UCLA buddies says that canned food and hallucinogen drugs were Morrison’s daily diet (and perhaps for his friends as well) for months. This was the perfect diet containing the right vitamins and inspiration for a song writer and a film maker as well as the right combination for a rock star in the making.
During the 60’s, there were lots of artists of all kinds living in Venice Beach. This L.A. suburb served as Jim’s platform to expand and perfect his radical ideas in music, poetry, art and in his life as he related to people that shared similar ideas and perspectives as Jim did. During the 60’s the nation and the world was going through a rebellious yet very inspiring stage. In the United States particular case, young people of all ages, particularly students, were experiencing a time for exploration, peace, love and inspiration in various ways, a set of ideas that Jim Morrison exploited through his lyrics, through his famous performances on stage and through his life. The big majority of artist at the time sang and composed music in a very similar way that Jim Morrison and The Doors did. The youth was experiencing a stage in their lives in which everything that help them expand their minds, everything that represented their emotions and ideas was happily accepted (drugs, alcohol, music, clothing, etc). Jim Morrison together with other famous contemporary artist utilize this moment as the right time to express themselves, to express their emotions and their lifestyles that were influenced by LSD, Marihuana, alcohol, love, crazy parties, radical ideas, politics, and many other things that characterized the decade.
Jim Morrison and The Doors
In the summer of 1965 was the year in which Jim Morrison together with Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger formed the “The Doors”. Manzarek studied in UCLA film school with Jim becoming the first member of the band. Weeks after in the same summer of 65, the rest of the members joined the band. When the band was formed, all members agreed to name their band “The Doors”, referring to book written by Aldous Huxley name “The Doors of Perception”. This book referred to life as being some how limited without hallucinogen drugs usage and in the contrary, life would be “infinite” by using hallucinogen drugs, or by using these drugs you will be able to “unlock the perception door”. This was the perfect name for a band that would become a symbol for the era as well as for countless generations within the nation and across the world.
Contrary to what most people believe as Jim Morrison being the band’s lyricist, Robby Krieger the guitarist, also made substantial contributions to some of the most famous songs that are generally attributed to Morrison alone. Some of these songs that Krieger some how co-write include, Love me 2 Times, Touch Me, Light my Fire, etc. what Jim did best was to improvise his poetry while on stage and while writing songs with the band members he would propose the beat and rhythm by creating a melody with his own voice.
When The Doors had their first songs ready the band began playing in several gigs in bars around the area. By mid 1966, the band had an important opening performance for a band led by the famous musician Van Morrison. Nearly a year after the band became very famous in the U.S. as well as in other countries when The Doors sign a contract with the record company, Elektra Records. In 1967 The Doors released their first single “Light My Fire” which gave the band almost instant recognition all over the nation. The first single released by the band stayed for more than 2 weeks in the most famous music popularity charts of the decade as the number one song.
In matter of months The Doors as well as the charismatic and good looking singer Jim Morrison became extremely famous by the bands incredible songs and by the singer’s incredible performance on stage. When The Doors became famous Jim Morrison had this characteristic look of a rock star, defined facial features that were extremely appealing by the “groupies” as well as his body, plus his amazing performance on stage that captivate everyone alike. Jim’s characteristic look at the time was the result of having little money by the time he graduated from college and by his peculiar lifestyle that included LSD, alcohol, other drugs and lots of sex.
The same year The Doors became famous, the band was invited to a famous night TV show, The Ed Sullivan Show. This popular show presented the most famous artist and bands at the time. Some of the most outstanding guests of the show included, The Beetles, the legend Elvis Presley and The Jackson 5. When the The Doors were invited as guests to this TV show, the host Ed Sullivan asked Jim Morrison to sing the song “Light My Fire” but changing the lyrics of the song that referred to drugs and other inappropriate words while singing it. As Morrison agreed to sing his band’s first single changing the original lyrics there was a huge commotion in the audience but as he began singing, Mr. Mojo Risin completely ignored the host’s request and sang Light My Fire with its original lyrics. This very characteristic Mr. Mojo Risin’s behavior of doing whatever he felt like made Ed Sullivan extremely aggravated to such extend that he even refused to shake hands with the band members, thus The Doors never again returned to the show. Jim Morrison’s respond to the fact that they will never be invited again to the show was, “I can care less, we already appear on the show”.
The same year the band created the first promotional music video for the single, Break on Through. This was one of the first videos of its kind in which all the band members appeared playing their instruments and in Morrison’s case, singing the song. Although The Doors became very famous with their first album, by the time they released their second album, the band became one of the most famous and successful bands in the U.S. in 1968 and 1969 The Doors released their third and fourth album correspondingly. Approximately 2 years after The Doors signed a contract with the record company began projecting his alcohol addiction on his work. He would come to recording sessions totally “wasted”, also in numerous occasions he arrived late to his gigs forcing band members to improvise to keep the audience calm.
Jim’s behavior and alcohol and drug abuse was becoming a problem for his health, the band and his looks. At the end of the 60’s Morrison’s body wasn’t the same as the body he had when The Doors became famous. By 1969 Mr. Mojo Risin significantly gained weight enabling him to wear his characteristic outfit, leather pants and belts. Having extra weight, he changed his “rock star looks” for something more “casual and comfortable”. In the particular case of the band’s live shows, Morrison’s rebellious behavior fueled by alcohol and drugs would sometimes provoke the audience to riot or to behave recklessly. In one occasion on a gig in Mr. Mojo Risin home state (Miami) he unsuccessfully tried to start a riot, days after, the show the county’s police department had issued a warrant for Jim Morrison’s arrest for an alleged indecent exposure. Nevertheless The Doors drummer denies this accusation. By the end of the 70’s The Doors released their last album in which Jim participated, L.A. woman.
In prior years, the band released The Soft Parade and Morrison Hotel despite the fact that the band split for quite some time. By the 70’s the band was experiencing difficulties as Morrison alcohol and drug abuse worsen and when The Doors producer resigned as he didn’t like the band’s latest album. Besides being the lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison also published 2 poetry books and also he acted in several films. A lot of his poetry work was released after his death and there is still some work that hasn’t been released by the family of Pamela Courson, Jim Morrison’s romantic companion.
Jim was involved in several love affairs specially after his band became famous in 1977. Although Morrison wasn’t faithful to Pamela and their relation was very problematic, both of them stayed together on and off for years until Mr. Mojo Risin died in Paris most definitely for a heroin overdose. Pamela also died of a heroin overdose years after Morrison died. Jim and Pamela never married but according to the laws of a specific state the love life of the couple was enough to consider it a consensual marriage. This legal technicality grant the Courson family the copyrights of Jim Morrison’s artistic legacy.
The death of the “Lizard King”
Jim Morrison had a lot of things going on in his life at the beginning of the 70’s and together with his desire to pursuit his dream of becoming a famous poet he decided to move to Paris with his long term companion, Pamela. For months the couple walked around the city admiring the city’s architecture and living a slower paced life. A little less than 3 months after Jim and Pamela arrived in Paris, The king Lizard died after a night of heavy drinking ending on a heroin overdose. James Douglas Morrison died at age 27 on July 3rd 1971 in Paris, France.
Pamela said that after they returned to their apartment Jim wasn’t feeling well but after he went to the bathroom and cough in several occasion Jim said that he felt better after hearing this, Pamela decided to go to sleep and the following morning she found Jim Morrison laying on the bathtub completely motionless. As the French police didn’t saw any signs of injuries or aggression on Jim’s body, the French police decided not to perform an autopsy which resulted in controversy as the cause of Jim’s death wasn’t officially known.
James Douglas Morrison was buried in Pere Lachaise Cementery in Paris, one of the most visited places by tourist in the city. As Jim had a relative short life, this jim morrison biography honors the life of a very talented and unique individual, “The Greatest Rock Star of all times, period”.