Biography of Jim Morrison
Childhood of Jim Morrison
James (Jim) Douglas Morrison was born in the American town of Melbourne, Florida, in the family of a naval sailor, later Admiral George Morrison and Clara Clark. Jim’s ancestors were Scottish, Irish and English. Jim had a sister, Ann, and a brother, Andrew.
In military families, moving can happen at any time. This fate did not bypass the Morrison family. During one of the moves, four-year-old Jim witnessed an incident that, according to the musician, became one of the key moments of his life. The Morrisons were driving down a road in New Mexico when a wrecked Indian truck blocked the road. Their bloody and broken bodies lay along the road. Jim then first knew death, and this case was subsequently raised more than once by Morrison in his work. A large number of poems, about a dozen songs, are dedicated to the broken truck.
The Morrisons stayed the longest in San Diego, California, where Jim managed to finish school. In 1962, the future rock musician entered the University of Florida, and in January 1964, Jim moved to Los Angeles and entered the film department. During his studies, Morrison managed to make two films.
While studying at the University of Florida, Morrison was interested in the history of the Renaissance, the work of Hieronymus Bosch. Jim’s favorite subject was acting. However, the chosen direction of education quickly got tired of Morrison, and he changed his educational institution, moving to Los Angeles. At the Faculty of Cinematography
UC Jim was more interested in parties and alcohol than education. At the end of 1964, Morrison saw his parents for the last time in his life – he came to visit them for Christmas. Soon he wrote a letter home, in which he said that he planned to form a rock band. The father did not appreciate Jim’s impulse, writing in a reply letter that it was a bad joke. After that, Morrison broke off all relations with the family and, when asked about his parents, invariably answered that they had died. Parents also could not forgive their son, and even many years later, after his death, they refused to give any comments on his work.
Jim Morrison spent his childhood in a military family
The film, shot by Morrison as a graduation work, was not accepted by either the students or the teaching staff of the faculty. This upset Jim incredibly, he even wanted to quit the university two weeks before receiving his diploma, but he was dissuaded from this by the teachers.
Jim Morrison and The Doors
While studying at the University of California, Morrison met Ray Manzarek, with whom they subsequently organized the rock band The Doors. Later, Johnny Densmore and his good friend Robbie Krieger joined the team. The young people named the group after the title of O. Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception, alluding to the opening of the “doors” of perception through the use of psychedelic substances. The title of Huxley’s book, in turn, is also secondary – the writer named the book, impressed by the poem of the English poet William Blake “If the doors of perception were clean …”. The name of the group was proposed by Morrison, it was accepted without any objections.
The first venues where newly minted rock musicians played were local taverns, and the performances of future stars were frankly weak and did not enjoy much success. Added ridicule and timidity of Morrison – at first he was shy of the public and sang mostly with his back to the audience. Morrison already did not know the limits in the use of alcohol and often came to concerts drunk, and sometimes extremely drunk. The musicians were constantly expelled from the clubs with parting words not to appear even at the threshold of the institution, however, the army of female fans of the charismatic Jim saved the situation – calls began to the owners of the institutions asking when “that hairy guy” would perform again in the club. Six months later, the group was invited for the first time to the best club in the Sunset Trip – “Whisky-A-Go-Go”.
Jim Morrison Leads The Doors
On the Sunset Trip, rock musicians are noticed by Paul Rothschild, producer of the Elektra Records label. Despite the fact that Elektra only recorded records of jazz performers, Paul, at his own peril and risk, offered the Dorsam a contract. The debut single of the group – “Break On Through” – failed miserably, taking 126th place in the Billboard charts. However, the second disc of the Dorzovs, Light My Fire, more than made up for the failure of the previous one, topping all the American charts.
In early 1967, the group’s debut album was released, which also occupied the first lines of the charts for a long time and marked the beginning of the so-called “dorzomania”. One of the compositions of the disc turned out to be especially successful. “The End”, which was conceived as an ordinary goodbye song, became more complicated towards the middle, acquiring various deep images. Morrison later said: “I myself do not know what I wanted to say with this song. Every time I listen to it, it seems different to me.”
The Doors as a cultural phenomenon
Morrison’s fascination with narcotic hallucinogens, including LSD, had a huge impact on the work of The Doors. The performances of the group gradually turned into stage acts filled with mysticism and shamanism. Jim Morrison called himself “King of the Lizards” and often imitated a drug trance directly during performances. The group gradually moved from a musical phenomenon to a cultural phenomenon: the sound of the group changed – there were no bass parts, which were replaced by organ and original guitar parts with a certain hypnotic effect. The charisma and unique, deep, mystical lyrics of Jim Morrison contributed to more and more waves of the group’s popularity. Jim’s energy and efficiency truly knew no limits: despite his passion for drugs and alcohol, constant performances and recordings in the studio, the musician managed to study the mysticism and rituals of the Celtic peoples, the culture of the North American Indians, the philosophy of Nietzsche and the poetry of European symbolists.
Jim Morrison drank heavily and used drugs
In 1970, Jim, who was then particularly fond of paganism and black magic, married the witch Patricia Kenneally. The wedding was held in accordance with the old witchcraft ritual of the Celts. During the ceremony, Morrison and Kenneally exchanged ancient amulets – Claddagh rings. Subsequently, Patricia practically did not take them off, they are present in many photographs of the witch. An image of the rings is also featured on the cover of Patricia Kenneally’s memoirs.
Degradation and death of Jim Morrison
After marrying Patricia Kenneally, Jim Morrison’s life went downhill. The musician went downhill like an avalanche: drunkenness became rampant, drugs became a daily norm, indecent behavior in public places led to a series of arrests, during the arrest Morrison fought with the police, etc. From an idol for girls, Jim began to turn into a bearded, dirty fat man. Morrison practically did not write texts and music for the compositions of The Doors, most of the material came out from the pen of Robbie Krieger. The concerts of the Dorzovs no longer resembled that mystical phenomenon with hypnotizing music, with which the group so fascinated fans earlier. Now, the band’s performances were skirmishes between the extremely drunk Morrison and the audience, often turning into fights.
Seeing that the crisis is dragging on, Robbie Krieger persuades Jim to take a vacation and rest. In 1971, the musician and his girlfriend Pamela Courson went to Paris to relax and work on a book of poems.
Jim Morrison died on July 3, 1971 in Paris. According to official data, the cause of the death of the musician was a heart attack, but this version is refuted by many researchers of Jim’s life and work. At various times, versions of an overdose of drugs, in particular heroin, were also put forward in the men’s toilet of the Rock-n-Roll Circus club or the neighboring Alcazar cabaret in Paris, a version of suicide or staging of suicide by FBI agents who fought in those years with members of the hippie movement.
Jim Morrison grave
The only person who was next to Jim at the time of his death was Pamela Courson, the musician’s girlfriend (this fact indirectly refutes the versions of staged suicide and death in the men’s toilet). However, Pamela did not long survive Morrison – three years after his death, she died of a heroin overdose. For three years, Pamela never spoke about what happened to Jim, saying that she would take the secret of his death to the grave.
Jim Morrison is buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The musician’s grave has become a place of pilgrimage for fans of The Doors, who still paint the place of his burial and neighboring graves with lines from songs and poems of their idol and declarations of love for Morrison.
The Doors’ last album was released eight years after the death of the band’s leader. Shortly before the tragedy, Morrison dictated a number of his poems onto tape. Later, the Dorzov musicians wrote the music for these poems and mixed the recordings into the album “An American Prayer”. In the same year, Morrison’s composition “The End” was included in the soundtrack of F. F. Coppola’s cult film Apocalypse Now.
Currently, in the United States of America, Jim Morrison is not only one of the hundred greatest musicians of all time, but is also considered an outstanding poet. Literary critics put Morrison’s poetry on a par with such poets as William Blake and Arthur Rimbaud.
Three years before his death, Jim almost starred in Andy Warhol’s pornographic film I, the Man, but his bandmates dissuaded him from this idea.
During the “era of flowers”, when most performers sang about a bright cloudless sky, innocence and happiness, Morrison’s work contrasted sharply with the entire music scene of those years. The Doors became the most dark and radical mystical rock band of the sixties. Music critics called the group “black confessors of the Great Society”, and Morrison was treated only as a schismatic, the Dionysus of modern art. Their rock was called cruel, arto-rock (a reference to Artaud’s “theater of cruelty”), shock therapy. Morrison for many years became a symbol of rebellion against the cloudlessness and blurred perception of the surrounding reality.
Many generations of rebels still draw inspiration from Jim’s work. Jim said more than once that he was going straight through the hippie era to the gutter. Far from being a naive glorification of life, Jim’s group used the poetic devices of the symbolism of the unconscious in their gloomy, dark texts, saturated with pulsating rhythm and images that are sharply out of the general concept of the text. It was said that Morrison sang as if he were being executed in the electric chair.