Jim Morrison by Kelly Larson Essay
Jim Morrison by Kelly Larson
Jim Morrison by Kelly Larson 1943-1971 There are many figures in music that make them a household name, Jim Douglas Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors a popular rock group in the late 60’s who died at a very young age, has made him just this. Jim Morrison was in the only extremely progressive rock bands of that time, experimenting with synthesizers, and new ways to play the otherwise boring guitar; this band the doors was truly something else. Many people thought that Jim was a genius others thought he was a fool. He had very public arrest and court trail about exposing himself to a crowd in 1969 raised increasing questions about his actual death in 1971. Jim Morrison set new ways to write music and poems for the new avant-garde generation that would follow in the years to come. He would inspire some of the most successful musicians many years after his death. In death Jim was perceived more than just a rock star he was now a legend.
Jim Douglas Morrison was born on December 8th, 1943 in Melbourne Florida, what is now cape Kennedy naval base. Jims father Steve Morrison was from Florida; in high school he was a gymnast and a cheerleader. He entered the Second World War but never actually fought. He met Jims mother Clara in Honolulu Hawaii in 1941, at a naval dance. Clara was Steves opposite; he was conservative she was liberal. Soon after they met they married in that same year. After they were married Steve was taught how to fly, he would regularly fly over the pacific. In 1943 Jim was born in one of many naval bases were he and Clara stayed.
After the war ended he returned home to Clearwater Florida, to live nearby his parents and Jim grandparents who were extremely republican and average churchgoers. Lifestyle for Jims early life was hectic they moved frequently a typical military lifestyle; over the point of five years after Jim was born the Morrisions had two more children besides Jim. Although Jim always said his parents and siblings were dead in many interviews they were very much alive at that time. They lived in Washington D.C, and Florida to California.
When Jim was five years old he was in a car traveling along with relatives along the highway near Albuquerque and Santa Fe, Jim had a life changing experience. Jim grandmother Caroline said “We came upon an accident Indians were wailing And crying. Later we thought it was very unusual Because we thought Indians didn’t cry. We thought They were more stoic than that. Jimmy was very Much affected he wanted to do something. We Stopped lance (her husband), jimmy wanted To do more. He was upset, his father finally Had to say, jimmy you dreamed it didn’t happen.
It’s not true; you just had a bad dream. Source 1-P.34 Jim said when they stopped the car dying Indians became reincarnated into his young body. This would forever change Jim Morrison life. He began to take up writing and art when he was seven. Then when he entered junior high he was exposed to new films that blew his mind. Then in 1957, in Alameda California Jim started high school He excelled in writing and art not a surprise to people who knew him. Many teachers noticed how bright Jim was beyond his years. Jim read everything he could get his hands on. Halfway between his sophomore year the Morrisons moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Jim enrolled in George Washington high school; a segrated upper middle class school. Jim began pulling himself into cartooning and writing. He had a girlfriend named Tandy that year, who lived houses three houses down who was extremely tormented by him, but it kept on her toes and it made her like him.
He would say things to shock and embarrass her. Jim had his own room in the basement; he painted, self-portraits, and impressionistic paintings. He filled up notebooks with poems and songs, some songs that were later used with his work with The Doors a band he would later be the singer in. Jim took a IQ test in high school were he scored a 149, but he got b’s in high school because he didn’t care about his grades. Shortly after he graduated from high school Jim broke up with Tammy, and he packed up and enrolled in St Petersburg junior in Clearwater Florida living with his grandparents. When college started Jim began to get severely into alcohol. After one year, passing all of his classes he decided to enroll to Florida State to pursue majoring in theater arts. Jim made very big impressions on everyone he would meet. Jim over the summer retuned to California where his parents and siblings were living since Jim left for college. He fought with his parents that summer because he wanted to live with them but they didn’t want him to but he did anyway and he enrolled in UCLA.
He began to take classes in filming and directing, there thinking it would be something he wanted to do. In fact Jim began involved more into the “party scene” than his studies, he got a D on his first film and it crushed his dreams of begin a filmmaker. During this time he began to write various poems that would become The Lords and New Creatures book. During one of his random parties he met a musician named Ray Manzarek, a man in a jazz band that Jim liked. Jim told everyone he knew he was going to New York after college to be a poet, after college barely graduating Jim didn’t know what to do. Many nights he would spend his night sleeping on rooftops and the beach in California. One day in the august after school got out Ray ran into his friend Jim Morrison and asked him what he’s been doing, Jim said he was writing. Ray asks him to read or sing something he’s written Jim sings off key the song “moonlight drive” a popular Doors’ song, that would in fact make them famous but they didn’t know that yet.
Ray immediately asks Jim if he wanted to start a band with him, Jim agrees. They begin to start this new band with Ray’s two brothers; they name the band The Doors after the book The Doors of Perception. Often very nervous on stage Jim just stood there and didn’t sing very well. After they thought the band wasn’t going anywhere rays brothers lefthe band. Ray and Jim met john Densmore, a drummer Who’s off beat style intrigued Jim and Ray, and then they met Robby Krieger a guitarist in a jazz band at the time, they immediately asked him to join the band. They lacked a bassist but when they had practiced Ray and Jim decided they didn’t need one. They began to play shows and Jims stage freight began to go away faster and faster. They released a demo with 4 songs on a 45-rpm.
They began to become known as part of the California scene, along with the grateful dead and Jefferson airplane. They began to be a house band for the whisky A-go-go, a popular nightclub. They also were signed to Columbia records, although they would never released anything on that label. One night when the doors were playing at the whisky Jim began to sing something he wrote that shocked many people in that building. In the song “the end” a song about the end of a relationship, Jim whispered ” Father, yes son. I wanna kill you mother I wanna “ck you.” source 1, page 70. The doors were immediately fired from the whisky but a reporter wrote about it in the local paper and people were buzzing about the performance for weeks. Columbia records had dropped the band; The Doors thought this was the end for them. In fact it was the only the beginning. The Doors were signed to Electra records, two weeks after Columbia had dropped them.
The Doors began recording their first album with producer Paul Rothchild but many songs were left on the cutting board because they were not needed. Jim never wore shoes when he was recording; the studio was always lit in candles. They recorded their first album The Doors in two weeks. Never knowing it would be a complete success and put them into the media spotlight. After The Doors album was relased it had critical success and the fans were buying it, Jim was instantly a sex symbol. Their first single “Light My Fire” hit number 1, though it was 6 minutes long. The doors had become popular, after a year of touring and publicity, once appearing on the Ed Sullivan show, but not invited back because Jim sang a line he agreed he wouldn’t sing before they went on. They began to record their second album Strange Days, this album would become another hit. Touring had become a big part of Jim met a girl name Pam Zuribca also became a part of his life; he met Pam after a show.
They began a long-term relationship. She once said once that Jim was her soul mate. The Doors began to record their third album Waiting For the Sun, Jim began to capture more of his personal side as he called himself “The Lizard King’, the album did increasingly well again even thought the album was hard to understand but the fans still bought the records then they released The Soft Parade. Often drunk or high Jim on stage would fall or stumble he had slurred speech or wouldn’t sing their popular songs. One night John said he was fed up with the band and said he was quitting but then showed up for practice the next day. The Doors were getting the reputation of an extremely rowdy band that couldn’t be controlled sometimes. Some of the doors fans were teenyboppers who just didn’t get the music they just knew they wanted Jim.
Frustrated Jim said he was leaving the band; ray talked him into staying another six months. Jim had always wanted to be a poet he got to live out that fantasy by publishing a book called The Lords and New Creature Poems, which was originally started in high school. As Jim Morrison began to slip deeper and deeper into drugs and alcohol, the band continued to soar “touch me” a song from the soft parade reached number one in the untied states. In 1969 the doors went into the studio to record Morrison hotel, often very stoned Jim usually didn’t know what he was singing, The Doors and their producer Paul Rothchild got more and more fed up with the band, eventually leaving. Jim’s appearance had changed drastically, he was no longer the tall thin sex symbol he was a fat guy with a beard, this scared away The Doors’ teenybopper fans. With this tour there would become a disaster Jim often was too drunk to even sing falling on stage like a clown.
One night in Miami Jim in a drunken rage continued to say the f word on stage when a police officer threatened him he would go to jail if he used it again. Jim began to ask the audience if they would like to see his penis, the crowd went wild. There was a flash some say he flashed others say he didn’t. Jim was taken into police custody; The Doors were now banned in 6 states. Jim was arranged in October 1970, on the counts of lewd behavior, indecent exposure, public drunkenness, and open profanity, this was a media event, and Jim was proven guilty on all counts. He wasn’t going to be sentenced till the spring of 1971.
The doors still released one more album with Jim Morrison L.a. Woman; the album came out in the summer of 1970. Jim said he was quitting The Doors and fled to Paris with Pam, Pam and Jim were never married though. He became exiled, lost weight and shaved his beard. These not known to him would be his last days. Though many people still don’t know if Jim Morrison really died of a heart attack on July 3, 1971 because only one doctor and Pam actually saw his body there was no autopsy. Could Jim still be alive, to escape his future jail time, or did he really die that day in a bathtub of a heart attack. Shortly after Jim died Pam died also of a heroin overdose. Jim has truly been missed, even though his music remains extremely influential today. His music and poetry will live on forever.