Jim Morrison 1968

Jim Morrison in 1968. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Jim Morrison
Birth name James Douglas Morrison
Also known as Mr. Mojo Risin' (anagram of "Jim Morrison"), The Lizard King
Genres psychedelic rock, acid rock, blues rock, hard rock
Occupations musician, songwriter, poet, filmmaker, actor
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1963-1971
Labels Elektra, Columbia
Associated acts The Doors. Rick & the Ravens

James Douglas "Jim" Morrison (December 8, 1943 - July 3, 1971) was the lead singer and lyricist of American rock band The Doors, as well as an American poet.[1]



Morrison would often improvise poem passages while the band played live, which was his trademark. He is widely regarded, with his wild personality and performances, as an iconic, charismatic and pioneering frontman in rock music.[2] Morrison was ranked number 47 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time",[3] and number 22 on Classic Rock Magazine's "50 Greatest Singers In Rock".[4]


James Douglas Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida, to future Rear Admiral George Stephen Morrison and Clara Morrison. Morrison had a sister, Anne Robin, who was born in 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and a brother, Andrew Lee Morrison, who was born in 1948 in Los Altos, California. He was of Irish and Scottish descent.[5] Morrison reportedly had an I.Q. of 149.[6][7]

In 1947, Morrison, then 4 years old, allegedly witnessed a car accident in the desert, where a family of American Indians were injured and possibly killed. He referred to this incident in a spoken word performance on the song "Dawn's Highway" from the album An American Prayer, and again in the songs "Peace Frog" and "Ghost Song."

Morrison believed the incident to be the most formative event of his life,[8] and made repeated references to it in the imagery in his songs, poems, and interviews. His family does not recall this incident happening in the way he told it. According to the Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, Morrison's family did drive past a car accident on an Indian reservation when he was a child, and he was very upset by it.

The book The Doors, written by the remaining members of The Doors, explains how different Morrison's account of the incident was from the account of his father. This book quotes his father as saying, "We went by several Indians. It did make an impression on him [the young James]. He always thought about that crying Indian." This is contrasted sharply with Morrison's tale of "Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death." In the same book, his sister is quoted as saying, "He enjoyed telling that story and exaggerating it. He said he saw a dead Indian by the side of the road, and I don't even know if that's true."

With his father in the United States Navy, Morrison's family moved often. He spent part of his childhood in San Diego, California. In 1958, Morrison attended Alameda High School in Alameda, California. He graduated from George Washington High School (now George Washington Middle School) in Alexandria, Virginia, in June 1961. His father was also stationed at Mayport Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jim was inspired by the writings of philosophers and poets. He was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, whose views on aesthetics, morality, and the Apollonian and Dionysian duality would appear in Jim’s conversation, poetry and songs. He read "Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks" (Parallel Lives). He also read the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, whose style would later influence the form of Jim’s short prose poems. Jim was also influenced by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Patchen, Michael McClure and Gregory Corso. Jim’s English teacher once commented, "I felt that Jim was the only one in the class who read Ulysses, and understood it." Honoré de Balzac, Jean Cocteau, and Molière also interested Jim, along with most of the French existentialist philosophers.

Jim’s senior-year English teacher said that, "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." [9]


Morrison went to live with his paternal grandparents in Clearwater, Florida, where he attended classes at St. Petersburg Junior College. In 1962, he transferred to Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, where he appeared in a school recruitment film.[10] While attending FSU, Morrison was arrested for a prank, following a home football game.[11]

In January 1964, Morrison moved to Los Angeles, California, to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He attended Jack Hirschman's class on Antonin Artaud in the Comparative Literature program within the UCLA English Department. Artaud's brand of surrealist theatre had a profound impact on Morrison's dark poetic sensibility of cinematic theatricality.

Morrison completed his undergraduate degree at UCLA's film school and the Theater Arts department of the College of Fine Arts in 1965. In an early display of rebellion, he refused to attend the graduation ceremony, his degree diploma being mailed to him. He made 2 films while attending UCLA. First Love, the 1st of these films, made with Morrison's classmate and roommate Max Schwartz, was released to the public when it appeared in a documentary about the film Obscura.

During these years, while living in Venice Beach, Morrison became friends with writers at the Los Angeles Free Press. Morrison was an advocate of the underground newspaper until his death in 1971. He later conducted a lengthy and in-depth interview with Bob Chorush and Andy Kent, both working for the Free Press at the time (January 1971), and was planning on visiting the headquarters of the busy newspaper shortly before leaving for Paris.[12]

The DoorsEdit

In the Summer of 1965, after graduating from UCLA, Morrison led a bohemian lifestyle in Venice Beach. Living on the rooftop of a building inhabited by his old UCLA cinematography friend Dennis Jakobs, he wrote the lyrics of many of the early songs the Doors would later perform live and record on albums, the most notable being "Moonlight Drive" and "Hello, I Love You". According to Jakobs, he lived on canned beans and LSD daily for several months.

Morrison and fellow UCLA student Ray Manzarek were the first two members of The Doors, forming the group during that same Summer of 1965. They actually met months earlier as fellow cinematography students. The now-legendary story claims that Manzarek was lying on the beach at Venice; accidentally encountered Morrison,he was impressed with Morrison's poetic lyrics, claiming that they were "rock group" material.

Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger then joined. Krieger auditioned at Densmore's recommendation and was then added to the lineup. All 3 musicians shared a common interest in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Meditation practices at the time, attending scheduled classes, but Morrison was not involved in this series of classes, claiming later (prior to the famous Hollywood Bowl show in July 1968) that he "did not meditate".

The Doors took their name from the title of Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception (a reference to the "unlocking" of "doors of perception" through psychedelic drug use). Huxley's own title was a quotation from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which Blake wrote: "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite."

Although Morrison is known as the lyricist for the group, Krieger also made significant lyrical contributions, writing or co-writing some of the group's biggest hits, including "Light My Fire", "Love Me Two Times", "Love Her Madly" and "Touch Me".[13] On the other hand, Morrison, who didn't write songs using an instrument, would come up with melodies for his own lyrics, with the other band members contributing chords and rhythm. He didn't play any instrument live (except for maracas on a few occasions) or in the studio, but he played the piano on "Orange County Suite".

In June 1966, Morrison and The Doors were the opening act at the Whisky a Go Go on the last week of the residency of Van Morrison's band Them.[14] Van's influence on Jim's developing stage performance was later noted by John Densmore in his book Riders On The Storm: "Jim Morrison learned quickly from his near-namesake's stagecraft, his apparent recklessness, his air of subdued menace, the way he would improvise poetry to a rock beat, even his habit of crouching down by the bass drum during instrumental breaks."[15] On the final night, the two Morrisons and the two bands jammed together on "Gloria".[16][17][18]

The Doors achieved national recognition after signing with Elektra Records in 1967.[19]

In 1967, Morrison and The Doors produced a promotional film for "Break on Through (To the Other Side)", their initial single release. The video featured the members of the group playing the song on a darkened set with alternating views and close-ups of the performers while Morrison lip-synched the lyrics. Morrison and The Doors continued to make music videos, including "The Unknown Soldier", "Moonlight Drive", and "People Are Strange".

The single "Light My Fire" eventually reached number 1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart.[20]

By the release of their next album, Strange Days, The Doors were among 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, such as their rendition of "Alabama Song", from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's operetta, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. The band also performed a number of extended concept works, including the songs "The End", "When the Music's Over", and "Celebration of the Lizard King".

In 1967, photographer Joel Brodsky took a series of black-and-white photos of Morrison, in a photo shoot known as "The Young Lion" photo session. These photographs are considered among the most iconic images of Jim Morrison and are frequently used as covers for compilation albums, books, and other memorabilia of the Doors and Morrison.[21]

Later, The Doors appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, a popular Sunday night variety series that had introduced The Beatles and Elvis Presley to the nation. Ed Sullivan requested 2 songs from The Doors for the show, "People Are Strange", and "Light My Fire". The censors insisted that they change the lyrics of "Light My Fire" from "Girl we couldn't get much higher" to "Girl we couldn't get much better"; this was reportedly due to what could be perceived as a reference to drugs in the original lyric. Giving assurances of compliance to Sullivan, Morrison then proceeded to sing the song with the original lyrics anyway. He later said that he had simply forgotten to make the change. This so infuriated Sullivan that he refused to shake their hands after their performance and had a show producer tell the band that they would never do The Ed Sullivan Show again. Morrison reportedly said to the producer: "Hey man. We just did the Sullivan Show."[22]

In 1968, The Doors released their 3rd studio album, Waiting for the Sun. Their 4th album, 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, 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 singer gained weight, grew a beard, and began dressing more casually, abandoning the leather pants and concho belts for slacks, jeans and T-shirts.

During a 1969 concert at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami, Morrison attempted to spark a riot in the audience. He failed, but a warrant for his arrest was issued by the Dade County Police department 3 days later for indecent exposure. Consequently, many of The Doors' scheduled concerts were canceled.[23] Drummer John Densmore denied Morrison ever exposed himself on stage that night.[24]

In 2007 Florida Governor Charlie Crist suggested the possibility of a posthumous pardon for Morrison, which was announced as successful on Dec. 9, 2010.[25][26]

Following The Soft Parade, The Doors released the Morrison Hotel album. After a lengthy break the group reconvened in October 1970 to record their last album with Morrison, L.A. Woman. Shortly after the recording sessions for the album began, producer Paul A. Rothchild – who had overseen all their previous recordings – left the project. Engineer Bruce Botnick took over as producer.


Morrison befriended Beat Poet Michael McClure, who wrote the afterword for Danny Sugerman's biography of Morrison, No One Here Gets Out Alive. McClure and Morrison reportedly collaborated on a number of unmade film projects, including a film version of McClure's infamous play The Beard, in which Morrison would have played Billy the Kid.[27]

Morrison's best-known but seldom seen cinematic endeavor is HWY: An American Pastoral, a project he started in 1969. Morrison financed the venture and formed his own production company in order to maintain complete control of the project. Paul Ferrara, Frank Lisciandro, and Babe Hill assisted with the project. Morrison played the main character, a hitch hiker turned killer/car thief. Morrison asked his friend, composer/pianist Fred Myrow, to select the soundtrack for the film.[28]

Private lifeEdit

Morrison's familyEdit


Morrison's early life was a nomadic existence typical of military families.[29] Jerry Hopkins recorded Morrison's brother, Andy, explaining that his parents had determined never to use corporal punishment on their children. They instead instilled discipline and levied punishment by the military tradition known as "dressing down". This consisted of yelling at and berating the children until they were reduced to tears and acknowledged their failings.

Once Morrison graduated from UCLA, he broke off most of his family contact. By the time Morrison's music ascended to the top of the charts in 1967 he had not been in communication with his family for more than a year and falsely claimed that his parents and siblings were dead (or claiming, as it has been widely misreported, that he was an only child). This misinformation was published as part of the materials distributed with The Doors' self-titled debut album.

In a letter to the Florida Probation and Parole Commission District Office dated October 2, 1970, Morrison's father acknowledged the breakdown in family communications as the result of an argument over his assessment of his son's musical talents. He said he could not blame his son for being reluctant to initiate contact and that he was proud of him nonetheless.[30]

George Morrison was not supportive of his son's career choice in music. One day, an acquaintance brought over a record thought to have Jim on the cover. The record was the Doors self-titled debut. The young man played the record for Morrison's father and family. After hearing the record, Jim's father wrote Jim a letter telling him "to give up any idea of singing or any connection with a music group because of what I considered to be a complete lack of talent in this direction."[31]

Women in his lifeEdit

Morrison met his long-time companion,[32] Pamela Courson, well before he gained any fame or fortune,[33] and she encouraged him to develop his poetry. At times, Courson used the surname "Morrison" with his apparent consent or at least lack of concern. After Courson's death on April 25, 1974, the probate court in California decided that she and Morrison had what qualified as a common-law marriage (see below, under "Estate Controversy").

Morrison's and Courson's relationship was stormy, with frequent loud arguments and periods of separation. Biographer Sugerman surmised that part of their difficulties may have stemmed from a conflict between their respective commitments to an open relationship and the consequences of living in such a relationship.

In 1970, Morrison participated in a Celtic Pagan handfasting ceremony with rock critic and science fiction/fantasy author Patricia Kennealy. Before witnesses, among of them a Presbyterian minister,[34] the couple signed a document declaring themselves wedded,[35] but none of the necessary paperwork for a legal marriage was filed with the state. Kennealy discussed her experiences with Morrison in her autobiography Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison in an interview reported in the book Rock Wives.

Morrison also regularly had sex with fans and had numerous short flings with women who were celebrities, including: Nico, the singer associated with The Velvet Underground; a 1-night stand with singer Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane; an on-again-off-again relationship with 16 Magazine's Gloria Stavers; and an alleged alcohol-fueled encounter with Janis Joplin. However, rock musician and rock star expert, Alice Cooper, declared on his syndicated radio show that Jim was scrupulously true to Pamela on tour, eschewing all sexual encounters. Linda Ashcroft in her book Wild Child: My life with Jim Morrison details her life with Morrison as well. Judy Huddleston also recalls her relationship with Morrison in This is The End...My Only Friend: Living and dying with Jim Morrison. At the time of his death there were reportedly as many as 20 paternity actions pending against him, although no claims were made against his estate by any of the putative paternity claimants.


Morrison flew to Paris in March 1971, took up residence in a rented apartment on the rue Beautreillis on the Right Bank, and went for long walks through the city,[36] admiring the city's architecture. During that time, Morrison shaved his beard and lost some of the weight he had gained in the previous months.[37] The last studio recording was with 2 American street musicians  — a session dismissed by Manzarek as "drunken gibberish".[38] The session included a version of a song-in-progress, "Orange County Suite", which can be heard on the bootleg The Lost Paris Tapes.

Morrison died on July 3, 1971.[39] In the official account of his death, he was found in a Paris apartment bathtub by Courson. Pursuant to French law, no autopsy was performed because the medical examiner claimed to have found no evidence of foul play. The absence of an official autopsy has left many questions regarding Morrison's cause of death.

In Wonderland Avenue, Danny Sugerman discussed his encounter with Courson after she returned to the U.S. According to Sugerman's account, Courson stated that Morrison had died of a heroin overdose, having breathed in what he believed to be cocaine. Sugerman added that Courson had given numerous contradictory versions of Morrison's death, at times saying that she had killed Morrison, or that his death was her fault. Courson's story of Morrison's unintentional ingestion of heroin, followed by accidental overdose, is supported by the confession of Alain Ronay, who has written that Morrison died of a hemorrhage after snorting Courson's heroin, and that Courson nodded off instead of phoning for medical help, leaving Morrison bleeding to death.[40]

Ronay confessed in an article in Paris Match that he then helped cover up the circumstances of Morrison's death.[41] In the epilogue of No One Here Gets Out Alive, Hopkins and Sugerman write that Ronay and Agnès Varda say Courson lied to the police who responded at the death scene, and later in her deposition, telling them Morrison never took drugs.

In the epilogue to No One Here Gets Out Alive, Hopkins says that 20 years after Morrison's death, Ronay and Varda broke silence and gave this account: They arrived at the house shortly after Morrison's death and Courson said that she and Morrison had taken heroin after a night of drinking. Morrison had been coughing badly, had gone to take a bath, and vomited blood. Courson said that he appeared to recover and that she then went to sleep. When she awoke sometime later Morrison was unresponsive, and so she called for medical assistance.

Courson died of a heroin overdose 3 years later. Like Morrison, she was 27 years old at the time of her death. Contrary to initial reports circulating in 1974, she is not buried with Morrison, but rather her cremated ashes are interred in a wall at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, CA USA, with the plaque bearing the name "Pamela Susan Morrison".

In the epilogue of No One Here Gets Out Alive, Hopkins and Sugerman also claim that Morrison had asthma and was suffering from a respiratory condition involving a chronic cough and throwing up blood on the night of his death. This theory is partially supported in The Doors (written by the remaining members of the band) in which they claim Morrison had been coughing up blood for nearly two months in Paris. None of the members of the Doors were in Paris with Morrison in the months before his death.

According to an outside individual who witnessed the funeral at Pere Lachaise, a woman by the name of Madame Colinette who was at the cemetery that day mourning the recent loss of her husband, the ceremony was "pitiful", with several of the attendants muttering a few words, throwing flowers over the casket, then leaving quickly and hastily within minutes as if their lives depended upon it. Those who attended included Alain Ronay, Agnes Varda, Bill Siddons (manager), Courson, and Robin Wertle (Morrison's Canadian private secretary at the time for a few months).

In the originalst version of No One Here Gets Out Alive published in 1980, Sugerman and Hopkins gave some credence to the rumor that Morrison may not have died at all, calling the fake death theory “not as far-fetched as it might seem”.[42] This theory led to considerable distress for Morrison's loved ones over the years, notably when fans would stalk them, searching for evidence of Morrison's whereabouts.[43][44] In 1995 a new epilogue was added to Sugerman's and Hopkins's book, giving new facts about Morrison's death and discounting the fake death theory, saying “As time passed, some of Jim and Pamela [Courson]'s friends began to talk about what they knew, and although everything they said pointed irrefutably to Jim's demise, there remained and probably always will be those who refuse to believe that Jim is dead and those who will not allow him to rest in peace.”[45]

File:Paryż père-lachaise morison.JPG

In a July 2007 newspaper interview, a self-described close friend of Morrison's, Sam Bernett, resurrected an old rumor and announced that Morrison actually died of a heroin overdose in the Rock 'n' Roll Circus nightclub, on the Left Bank in Paris. Bernett claims that Morrison came to the club to buy heroin for Courson then did some himself and died in the bathroom. Bernett alleges that Morrison was then moved back to the rue Beautreillis apartment and dumped in the bathtub by the same two drug dealers from whom Morrison had purchased the heroin. Bernett says those who saw Morrison that night were sworn to secrecy in order to prevent a scandal for the famous club,[46] and that some of the witnesses immediately left the country. There have been many other conspiracy theories surrounding Morrison's death[47][48] but are less supported by witnesses than are the accounts of Ronay and Courson.[49]

Morrison's death at age 27 included him in a phenomenon called the 27 Club, along with Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Morrison's friend Alan Wilson of Canned Heat, and Kurt Cobain.

Grave siteEdit

Jim Morrison Grave Sander Lamme

Morrison's grave at Père Lachaise, Paris. Photo by Sander Lamme. Licensed under Creative Commons, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Morrison is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, one of the city's most visited tourist attractions.[50] The grave had no official marker until French officials placed a shield over it, which was stolen in 1973. In 1981, Croatian sculptor Mladen Mikulin placed a bust of Morrison and the new gravestone with Morrison's name at the grave to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death;[51] the bust was defaced through the years by cemetery vandals and later stolen in 1988.[52] In the 1990s Morrison's father, George Stephen Morrison, placed a flat stone on the grave. The stone bears the Greek inscription: ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ, literally meaning "according to his own daemon" and usually interpreted as "true to his own spirit".[53][54][55] Mikulin later made 2 more Morrison portraits in bronze but is awaiting the license to place a new sculpture on the tomb.

Estate controversyEdit

In his will, made in Los Angeles County on February 12, 1969, Morrison (who described himself as "an unmarried person") bequeathed his entire estate to Courson, also naming her co-executor with his attorney, Max Fink; she thus inherited everything upon Morrison’s death in 1971.

When Courson died in 1974, a battle ensued between Morrison’s and Courson’s parents over who had legal claim to Morrison’s estate. Since Morrison left a will, the question was effectively moot. Upon his death, his property became Courson’s, and on her death her property passed to her next heirs at law, her parents. Morrison's parents contested the will under which Courson and now her parents had inherited their son’s property.

To bolster their position, Courson’s parents presented a document they claimed she had acquired in Colorado, apparently an application for a declaration that she and Morrison had contracted a common-law marriage under the laws of that state. The ability to contract a common-law marriage was abolished in California in 1896. California's conflict of laws rules provided for recognition of common-law marriages when lawfully contracted in foreign jurisdictions — and Colorado was among the 11 U.S. jurisdictions that still recognized common-law marriage.

Artistic influencesEdit

File:Jim Morrison Memorial Berlin1.JPG

As a naval family the Morrisons relocated frequently. Consequently Morrison's early education was routinely disrupted as he moved from school to school. Nonetheless was drawn to the study of literature, poetry, religion, philosophy and psychology, among other fields.

Biographers have consistently pointed to a number of writers and philosophers who influenced Morrison's thinking and, perhaps, behavior. While still in his teens Morrison discovered the works of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He was also drawn to the poetry of William Blake, Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. Beat Generation writers such as Jack Kerouac also had a strong influence on Morrison's outlook and manner of expression; Morrison was eager to experience the life described in Kerouac's On the Road. He was similarly drawn to the works of the French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Céline's book, Voyage au Bout de la Nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) and Blake's Auguries of Innocence both echo through one of Morrison's early songs, "End of the Night". Morrison later met and befriended Michael McClure, a well known beat poet. McClure had enjoyed Morrison's lyrics but was even more impressed by his poetry and encouraged him to further develop his craft.

Morrison's vision of performance was colored by the works of 20th-century French playwright Antonin Artaud (author of Theater and its Double) and by Julian Beck's Living Theater.

Other works relating to religion, mysticism, ancient myth and symbolism were of lasting interest, particularly Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. James Frazer's The Golden Bough also became a source of inspiration and is reflected in the title and lyrics of the song "Not to Touch the Earth".

Morrison was particularly attracted to the myths and religions of Native American cultures.[56] While he was still in school, his family moved to New Mexico where he got to see some of the places and artifacts important to the Southwest Indigenous cultures. These interests appear to be the source of many references to creatures and places such as lizards, snakes, deserts and "ancient lakes" that appear in his songs and poetry. His interpretation of the practices of a Native American "shaman" were worked into parts of Morrison's stage routine, notably in his interpretation of the Ghost Dance, and a song on his later poetry album, The Ghost Song.

Jim Morrison's vocal influences were Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, which is evident in his own baritone crooning style used in several of the Doors songs. It is mentioned within the pages of No One Here Gets Out Alive by Danny Sugerman, that Morrison as a teenager was such a fan of Presley's music that he demanded people be quiet when Elvis was on the radio. The Frank Sinatra influence is mentioned in the pages of The Doors: The illustrated history, also by Sugerman, where Frank Sinatra is listed on Morrison's Band Bio as being his favorite singer. Reference to this can also be found in a Rolling Stone article about Jim Morrison, regarding the top 100 rock singers of all time.


Morrison began writing in adolescence. In college, he studied the related fields of theater, film, and cinematography.[57]

He self-published 2 volumes of his poetry in 1969, The Lords / Notes on Vision and The New Creatures. The Lords consists primarily of brief descriptions of places, people, events and Morrison's thoughts on cinema. The New Creatures verses are more poetic in structure, feel and appearance. These books were later combined into a single volume titled The Lords and The New Creatures. These were the only writings published during Morrison's lifetime.

After his death, 2 more volumes of Morrison's poetry were published. The contents of the books were selected and arranged by Morrison's friend, photographer Frank Lisciandro, and girlfriend Pamela Courson's parents, who owned the rights to his poetry. The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison Volume 1, titled Wilderness, upon its release in 1988 became an instant New York Times best seller. Volume 2, The American Night, released in 1990, was also a success.

Morrison recorded his own poetry in a professional sound studio on 2 separate occasions. The earlier was in March 1969 in Los Angeles and the second was on December 8, 1970. The latter recording session was attended by Morrison's personal friends and included a variety of sketch pieces. Some of the segments from the 1969 session were issued on the bootleg album The Lost Paris Tapes and were later used as part of the Doors' An American Prayer album, released in 1978. The album reached number 54 on the music charts. The poetry recorded from the December 1970 session remains unreleased to this day and is in the possession of the Courson family.


File:DBP 1988 1362 Jugend Jim Morrison.jpg


Wallace Fowlie, professor emeritus of French literature at Duke University, wrote Rimbaud and Jim Morrison, subtitled "The Rebel as Poet – A Memoir". In this he recounts his surprise at receiving a fan letter from Morrison who, in 1968, thanked him for his latest translation of Arthur Rimbaud's verse into English. "I don't read French easily", he wrote, "...your book travels around with me." Fowlie went on to give lectures on numerous campuses comparing the lives, philosophies and poetry of Morrison and Rimbaud.


The Doors (1991) Official Movie Trailer

The Doors (1991) Official Movie Trailer

  • The Doors (1991), A fiction film by director Oliver Stone, starring Val Kilmer as Morrison and with cameos by Krieger and Densmore. Kilmer's performance was praised by some critics. Members of the group criticized Stone's portrayal of Morrison, and noted that numerous events depicted in the movie were pure fiction. (Citation needed)


Morrison remains a popular and influential singer-songwriter as The Doors' catalog has become a staple of classic rock radio stations. To this day he is widely regarded as the prototypical rock star: surly, sexy, scandalous and mysterious.[58] The leather pants he was fond of wearing both on stage and off have since become stereotyped as rock star apparel.[59]

Iggy and the Stooges are said to have formed after lead singer Iggy Pop was inspired by Morrison while attending a Doors concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[60] Pop's popular songs "The Passenger", is said to be based on a Morrison poem.[61] After Morrison's death, Pop was considered as a replacement lead singer for The Doors; the surviving Doors gave him some of Morrison's belongings and hired him as a vocalist for a series of shows.

Eddie Vedder, lead singer of Pearl Jam,[62] Layne Staley, the late vocalist of Alice in Chains, Scott Weiland, the vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, James LaBrie of Dream Theater, as well as Scott Stapp of Creed, claimed Morrison to be their biggest influence and inspiration. Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver have both covered "Roadhouse Blues" by the Doors. Weiland also filled in for Morrison to perform "Break On Through" with the rest of the Doors. Stapp filled in for Morrison for "Light My Fire", "Riders on the Storm" and "Roadhouse Blues" on VH1 Storytellers. Creed performed their version of "Roadhouse Blues" with Robbie Krieger for the 1999 Woodstock Festival.



  • The Lords, and The new creatures: Poems (1969). New York: Simon & Schuster, 1969, 1985 ISBN 0-7119-0552-5; London: Omnibus, 2012.
  • An American Prayer (1970) privately printed by Western Lithographers.
    • Jim Morrison's 'An American Prayer' (unauthorized edition). Baton Rouge, LA: Zeppelin, 1984 ISBN 0-915628-46-5. (The authenticity of the unauthorized edition has been disputed.)
  • The Original Published Poetry of Jim Morrison. London & New York: Omnibus, 1985.
    • also published as The Only Published Poetry of Jim Morrison. London & New York: Omnibus, 1985.
  • Wilderness: The writings of Jim Morrison: Volume 1. New York: Vintage, 1989.

Collected editionsEdit

  • The American Night: The Writings of Jim Morrison: Volume 2. New York: Villard, 1990. ISBN 0-670-83772-5


  • The Lost Diaries of Jim Morrison: Coming of Age, Book I of III( edited by Marshal Lawrence Pierce). Louisiville, KY: Wasteland Press, 2003.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[63]

The Doors - "When You're Strange A Film About The Doors" (Official HD Theatrical Trailer)

The Doors - "When You're Strange A Film About The Doors" (Official HD Theatrical Trailer)

Doorstown Jim Morrison and The Doors Documentary 2013 TRAILER

Doorstown Jim Morrison and The Doors Documentary 2013 TRAILER

Audio / videoEdit


  • The Doors Are Open (1968)
  • Live in Europe (1968)
  • Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1968)
  • Feast of Friends (1969)
  • The Doors: A Tribute to Jim Morrison (1981)
  • The Doors: Dance on fire (1985)
  • The Soft Parade, a Retrospective (1991)
  • Final 24: Jim Morrison (2007), The Biography Channel[64]
  • The Doors: No One Here Gets Out Alive (2009)
  • When You're Strange (2009)
  • Doorstown (2003)


The Doors - Riders On The Storm (ORIGINAL!) - driving with Jim

The Doors - Riders On The Storm (ORIGINAL!) - driving with Jim

Music (with The Doors)Edit

  • The Doors (1967)
  • Strange Days (1967)
  • Waiting for the Sun (1968)
  • The Soft Parade (1969)
  • Morrison Hotel (1970)
  • L.A. Woman (1971)
Jim Morrison - An American Prayer (The poem)

Jim Morrison - An American Prayer (The poem).

Spoken wordEdit

  • An American Prayer (LP; with music by The Doors). Los Angeles: Elektra, 1978; (CD)New York: Elektra, 1995.[63]

See alsoEdit



James Douglas Morrison Poetry

James Douglas Morrison Poetry

Jim Morrison And The Doors Poem The Ghost Song

Jim Morrison And The Doors Poem The Ghost Song

Jim Morrison Poetry Trip

Jim Morrison Poetry Trip

Jim Morrison Poetry Session February 3rd, 1969

Jim Morrison Poetry Session February 3rd, 1969


  • Dylan Jones, Jim Morrison: Dark Star, (1990) ISBN 0-7475-0951-4
  • Linda Ashcroft, Wild Child: Life with Jim Morrison, (1997) ISBN 1-56025-249-9
  • Lester Bangs, "Jim Morrison: Bozo Dionysus a Decade Later" in Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader, John Morthland, ed. Anchor Press (2003) ISBN 0-375-71367-0
  • Patricia Butler, Angels Dance and Angels Die: The Tragic Romance of Pamela and Jim Morrison, (1998) ISBN 0-8256-7341-0
  • Stephen Davis, Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend, (2004) ISBN 1-59240-064-7
  • John Densmore, Riders on the Storm: My Life With Jim Morrison and the Doors (1991) ISBN 0-385-30447-1
  • Dave DiMartino, Moonlight Drive (1995) ISBN 1-886894-21-3
  • Wallace Fowlie, Rimbaud and Jim Morrison (1994) ISBN 0-8223-1442-8
  • Jerry Hopkins, The Lizard King: The Essential Jim Morrison (1995) ISBN 0-684-81866-3
  • Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman, No One Here Gets Out Alive (1980) ISBN 0-85965-138-X
  • Patricia Kennealy, Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison (1992) ISBN 0-525-93419-7
  • Frank Lisciandro, Morrison — A Feast of Friends (1991) ISBN 0-446-39276-6, Morrison — Un festin entre amis (1996) (French)
  • Frank Lisciandro, Jim Morrison — An Hour For Magic (A Photojournal) (1982) ISBN 0-85965-246-7, James Douglas Morrison (2005) (French)
  • Ray Manzarek, Light My Fire (1998) ISBN 0-446-60228-0L. First by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman (1981)
  • Peter Jan Margry, The Pilgrimage to Jim Morrison's Grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery: The Social Construction of Sacred Space. In idem (ed.), Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World. New Itineraries into the Sacred. Amsterdam University Press, 2008, p. 145-173.
  • Thanasis Michos, The Poetry of James Douglas Morrison (2001) ISBN 960-7748-23-9 (Greek)
  • Mark Opsasnick, The Lizard King Was Here: The Life and Times of Jim Morrison in Alexandria, Virginia (2006) ISBN 1-4257-1330-0
  • James Riordan & Jerry Prochnicky, Break on through : The Life and Death of Jim Morrison (1991) ISBN 0-688-11915-8
  • Adriana Rubio, Jim Morrison: Ceremony...Exploring the Shaman Possession (2005) ISBN
  • The Doors (remaining members Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, John Densmore) with Ben Fong-Torres, The Doors (2006) ISBN 1-4013-0303-X


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  3. "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  4. May 2009. Classic Rock Magazine.
  5. "Dead Famous: Jim Morrison." The Biography Channel. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
  6. Riordan, James (1992), Break on Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison, HarperCollins, p. 32, ISBN 0688119158, "In school, Morrison was tested as having a genius I.Q. of 149." 
  7. Walters, Glenn D. (2006), Lifestyle Theory: Past, Present And Future, Nova Publishers, p. 78, ISBN 1600210333 
  8. Davis, Stephen (2004), Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend, Ebury Press, p. 8, ISBN 9780091900427, "It was the first time I discovered death, he recounted many years later, as the tape rolled in a darkened West Hollywood Recording studio." 
  9. Hopkins; Jerry and Daniel Sugerman (1980). No One Here Gets Out Alive. Warner Books. ISBN 9780446697330. 
  10. "Recruitment Film". Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  11. "FSU Arrest". Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  12. Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn. "Criticism Lighting His Fire: Perspectives on Jim Morrison from the Los Angeles Free Press, Down Beat, The Miami Herald (master's thesis, Interdepartmental Program in Liberal Arts, Louisiana State University, 2007). Available at ""
  13. Getlen, Larry, Opportunity Knocked So The Doors Kicked It Down,, retrieved 2008-08-24 
  14. Lawrence, Paul (2002). "The Doors and Them: Twin Morrisons of Different Mothers". Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  15. Hinton (1997), page 67.
  16. Corry Arnold (2006-01-23). "The History of the Whisky-A-Go-Go". Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  17. "Glossary entry for The Doors". Archived from the original on 2007-03-10.  from Van Morrison website. Photo of both Morrisons on stage. Access date 2007-05-26.
  18. "Doors 1966 - June 1966". Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  19. Leopold, Todd (April 20, 2007). "Confessions of a Record Label Owner". CNN. Retrieved November 18, 2010. 
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  21. Template:Dead link"Photographer Joel Brodsky Dies". San Francisco Chronicle.
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  30. Letter from Jim's Father to probation department 1970
  31. Soeder, John (2007-05-20). "Love Them Two Times". Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  32. Hoover, Elizabeth D. (July 3, 2006). "The Death of Jim Morrison". American Heritage. Retrieved November 18, 2010. 
  33. Jim Morrison Biography,, retrieved 2008-08-24 
  34. Kennealy, Patricia (1992), Strange Days: My Life With And Without Jim Morrison, New York: Dutton/Penguin, p. 63, ISBN 0-525-93419-7 
  35. Kennealy (1992) plate 7, 175
  36. Kennealy (1992) 314-316
  37. Davis, Steven (2004) "The Last Days of Jim Morrison". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 25, 2007.
  38. Transcript (April 10, 2002). "Ask Ray Manzarek Transcript". Talk. BBC. Accessed November 18, 2010.
  39. United Press International (1971-07-09). "Jim Morrison: Lead rock singer dies in Paris". The Toronto Star. UPI (Toronto): p. 26. 
  40. Ronay, Alain (2002). "Jim and I - Friends until Death". Originally published in King. Retrieved December 25, 2007.
  41. Kennealy (1992) pp: 385–392 quotes from Ronay's interview in Paris Match.
  42. Hopkins, Jerry; Sugerman, Danny. No One Here Gets Out Alive. pg. 373.
  43. Hopkins, Jerry; Sugerman, Danny (1980). No One Here Gets Out Alive. ISBN 0-85965-138-X.
  44. Kennealy (1992) pp.344–346
  45. Hopkins, Jerry; Sugerman, Danny. No One Here Gets Out Alive pg. 375; also see copyright in front of book on new material added in 1995.
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  51. Mladen Mikulin - Sculptor
  52. photo of defaced bust on Morrison's grave before it was stolen.
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  54. Davis, Stephen (2005), Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend, Gotham, p. 472, ISBN 978-1592400997 
  55. Olsen, Brad (2007), Sacred Places Europe: 108 Destinations, CCC Publishing, p. 105, ISBN 978-1888729122 
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  58. Andy Bennett (2004), Remembering Woodstock, Ashgate Publishing, p.52.
  59. Kurt Hemmer (2007), Encyclopedia of beat literature, Infobase Publishing, p.217.
  60. The Stooges: Biography: Rolling Stone,, retrieved 2008-08-24 
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  62. Eddie Vedder - Pearl Jam. Zimbio. Retrieved on 2010-11-06.
  63. 63.0 63.1 Search results = au:Jim Morrison, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Dec. 22, 2014.
  64. Biography Channel documentary

External linksEdit

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