"People fear death even more than pain. It's strange that
they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of
death, the pain is over. Yeah, I guess it is a friend". - Jim
Lead singer for the rock group the Doors, Jim Morrison was the poster-boy for the mind-bending, outlandish lifestyle of the 1960s in his brief but brilliant career. James Douglas Morrison was an American singer, songwriter, poet, writer and film maker. He is best known as the lead singer and lyricist of The Doors and is widely considered to be one of the most charismatic frontmen in rock music history. Jim Morrison was also the author of several books of poetry and the director of a documentary and short film. His 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 onstage. No singer before or since has had such a gift for embodying and dramatizing the search for self. Jim Morrison ate up every deep, dark aggression in the room, and sent it back in the emotional colors of his art. He was a natural. Jim Morrison claimed the only thing he did for stardom was stop getting haircuts.
James Douglas Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida, on December 8, 1943. He was the son of George Stephen Morrison and his wife Clara Clark Morrison, both employed by the United States Navy. His father was a strict military officer, who served as an admiral. Jim was raised by his conservative parents but would grow to express drastically different views than those taught to him. According to Jim Morrison the most important event of his life came 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."
After finishing high school in Alexandria Virginia, Jim Morrison took several classes at St. Petersburg Junior College and Florida State University before pulling up roots in 1964 and heading for the West Coast. By 1966 the twenty-two-year-old Morrison was enrolled in film classes at UCLA, but a friendship with fellow student Ray Manzarek would sideline any plans he had of becoming a filmmaker. After graduating UCLA, Morrison read some poems to Ray and they both decided on the spot to start a rock band. Shortly thereafter, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger joined. The Doors took their name from the title of Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception (a reference to the 'unlocking' of 'doors' of perception through psychedelic drug use), Huxley's own title was a quote from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which Blake wrote that "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite." A long-term gig at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go on Hollywood's Sunset Strip allowed the Doors to develop their stage presence, and it eventually drew the attention of talent scouts searching for new recording acts. Not the least of the group's attractions was Jim Morrison, who sang in a husky baritone, wore skintight pants, and went even further than Elvis Presley had in incorporating sexually suggestive movements into his onstage performances. With lyrics like "Come on baby, light my fire," Morrison drove young women wild. 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 Morrison 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 Morrison took for himself the nickname "Mr. Mojo Risin'", an anagram of "Jim Morrison", 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 album Waiting for the Sun. Caught up in a wave of popularity, the young band found itself carried into a new world, where drugs, alcohol, and sex played a major role. Morrison, whose status as a celebrity had begun almost overnight, found it difficult to handle the change: his growing dependence on alcohol would dim his talent in the years that followed, and the superstar status made him believe he was immune to normal authority. By the release of their second album, Strange Days, The Doors had become one of the most popular rock bands in the United States. Their blend of blues and rock tinged with psychedelia included a number of original songs and distinctive cover versions. In 1968, The Doors released their third studio LP, Waiting for the Sun. Their fourth LP, The Soft Parade, was released in 1969. It was the first album where the individual band members were given credit on the inner sleeve for the songs they had written. After this, Jim Morrison started to show up for recording sessions inebriated. He was also frequently late for live performances. As a result, the band would play instrumental music or force Manzarek to take on the singing duties.
By 1969, the formerly svelte Jim Morrison gained weight, grew a beard, and began dressing more casually, abandoning the leather pants and Concho belts for slacks, jeans and T-shirts. Searching to recover a sense of himself, Jim Morrison went back to the poetry that he had loved while a college student. In 1970 he published his first book of verse, The Lords [and] The New Creatures, which had been privately printed the year before. With the finish of the bluesy and intermittently successful album 'L.A. Woman', Jim Morrison headed for Paris. He was probably looking for renewed inspiration in the birth place of French symbolist poetry and-surrealism. Jim Morrison 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 Jim Morrison's death abound and their are some who even proclaim that he is still alive. Jim Morrison's grave remains one of the most visited sites in all of Paris.