- Birth nameJames Douglas Morrison
- The Lizard King
- Erotic Politician
- American Poet
- Mr. Mojo Risin’
- Height1.80 m
- James Douglas “Jim” Morrison was an American poet, singer, and songwriter from Florida. He was the lead vocalist of the rock band “The Doors” (1965-1973), and has been cited as “one of the most influential frontmen in rock history”. Morrison recorded a total of six studio albums with the Doors, all of which sold well. Morrison struggled with alcohol dependency for most of his adult life, and displayed erratic behavior both on and off the stage. He was described as “A Jekyll and Hyde” by record producer Paul Rothchild, due to often displaying contradictory character traits in his interactions with others. Morrison died unexpectedly in Paris, France at the age of 27. No autopsy was ever performed, and the cause of Morrison’s death remains disputed. His mysterious death has inspired a large number of theories, and has fascinated people for decades.
In 1943, Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida, a city located 72 miles (116 kilometers) southeast of Orlando. Melbourne emerged as a new settlement in the 1870s. It was named after Melbourne, Australia, because the new town’s first postmaster had spend most of his life in the Australian city. Morrison’s parents were George Stephen Morrison (1919-2008) and his wife Clara Virginia Clarke (1919-2005). Morrison’s father was a career officer of the United States Navy, and would eventually reach the rank of rear admiral. George is primarily remembered for his service in the Vietnam War. The Morrisons were part of a Scottish-American family that had been living in the United States since the 18th century. Genealogical research has indicated that they were descendants of Clan Morrison, a Scottish clan which is primarily associated with the Isle of Lewis and Harris.
Morrison experienced the typical nomadic life of a military brat, as his family never settled permanently in any location. At various points in his childhood, Morrison lived in San Diego, in northern Virginia, in Kingsville, Texas, and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1957, Morrison started his high school years in Alameda, California. In 1959, he was transferred to the George Washington High School, located in Alexandria, Virginia. He graduated from there in June 1961. During his last years of high school, Morrison maintained a grade average of 88. He reportedly tested in the top 0.1% with an IQ of 149.
Following his high school graduation, Morrison went to live with his paternal grandparents in Clearwater, Florida. He initially attended the St. Petersburg Junior College, which had been operating as a private, non-profit institution since the late 1920s. In 1962, Morrison started attending the Florida State University (FSU), located in Tallahassee. In September 1963, he was first arrested for the police. He had been found drunk at a home football game, and was charged with disturbing the peace.
In 1964, Morrison was transferred to the film program at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He enrolled at a class which studied the works of Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), and reportedly developed a fascination with surrealist theatre. In 1965, Morrison completed his undergraduate degree at UCLA’s film school. He refused to attend the graduation ceremony, and the University mailed his diploma to his mother.
Following his university graduation, Morrison followed a bohemian lifestyle in Venice Beach, California. He lived on the rooftop of a building, and wrote song lyrics without having a chance to perform them. In the summer of 1965, Morrison and his recent acquaintance Ray Manzarek decided to form a rock band. They soon recruited the guitarist Robby Krieger and the drummer John Densmore. Morrison decided to name the band “The Doors”, after the autobiographical book “The Doors of Perception” (1954) by Aldous Huxley. The name of the book was a reference to using “psychedelic drugs as facilitators of mystical insight”.
Morrison soon emerged as the primary lyricist of the band, though Krieger wrote or co-wrote several of their hit songs. Morrison typically avoided using music instruments in live performances, though he learned to use both the maracas and the tambourine. In June 1966, the band were the opening act at the nightclub “Whisky a Go Go” in West Hollywood. During their performances there, Morrison interacted with the Irish singer Van Morrison (1945-), and studied aspects of Van’s stage persona and stagecraft. He eventually incorporated several of these aspects into his own stage persona.
In November 1966, Morrison and the other members of the band produced the promotional film “Break On Through (To the Other Side)”, named after the title of their first single. They would continue to create short music films throughout the initial years of the band. In 1967, the band signed a contract with the record company Elektra Records. The company would promote their songs to nationwide. The band had its breakthrough hit in the summer of 1967, with the single “Light My Fire”. It spent three weeks at the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The band was soon booked to perform two of their songs in the variety television series “The Ed Sullivan Show”. The show’s censors insisted on changes to “Light My Fire”, due to the show’s explicit references to drug use. The band feigned compliance, but instead used the explicit version of the song. The resulting controversy caused the cancellation of their six further bookings for television appearances. However, their popularity among rock fans increased.
In September 1967, the band released their second album “Strange Days”. It reached the 3rd place number on the US Billboard 200, and earned favorable reviews by the music press. The bands distinctive blend of blues and dark psychedelic rock had turned them into one of the most popular rock bands in the United States. However, Morrison would soon gain notoriety for different reasons. He was arrested on stage in New Haven, Connecticut, after narrating to the audience his recent encounter with a police officer who had maced him. The local police charged him with indecency and public obscenity, though the charges were eventually dropped. Morrison was the first rock performer to be arrested onstage during a live performance.
In September 1968, the Doors played in Europe for the first time. They gave four performances at the Roundhouse, London. Their performances were filmed by Granada Television for the television documentary “The Doors Are Open”, which introduced the band to a wider British audience. As the band was gaining international popularity, the members increasingly took note of Morrison’s self-destructive behavior. They were aware that he was a heavy drinker, but they realized that he started regularly appearing inebriated in their recording sessions.
By early 1969, Morrison had gained weight. He decided to stop wearing leather pants and concho belts, and to dress casually instead. He also ditched his typically clean-shaven look, and grew a beard for the first time. On March 1, 1969, Morrison increased his own reputation for rebellious behavior. While performing at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami, he encouraged the audience to start a riot and threatened to expose his penis on stage. Within days, six warrants for his arrest were issued by the Dade County Police department. One on them on charges of indecent exposure.
Due to Morrison’s ongoing legal problems, many of the Doors’ scheduled concerts had to be canceled. On September 20, 1970, Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure and profanity in a jury trial in Miami. In October 30, he was officially sentenced to imprisonment for 6 months and a fine of 500 dollars. Morrison remained free on a bond of 50,000 dollars. He commented in a press interview that the American judicial system favors the wealthy, and that (in his words) “if you have money you generally don’t go to jail”.
Morrison’s last album with “The Doors” was “L.A. Woman”. It was recorded between December 1970 and January 1971, and eventually released in April 1971. The album was heavily influenced by the blues genre, even more so than their previous works. It was co-produced by the veteran sound engineer Bruce Botnick. The album peaked at the 9th place on the Billboard 200, and the 28th place on the UK Albums Charts. Its most popular song was “Riders on the Storm”, which peaked at the 14th place on the U.S Billboard Hot 100.
After finishing the recording of the album, Morrison announced to his band-mates that he planned to move to Paris, France. They had no objection to his decision. In March 1971, Morrison joined his longtime girlfriend Pamela Courson (1946-1974) at her rented apartment in Rue Beautreillis. This Paris street was noted as the former residence of the poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867). While staying in Paris, Morrison shaved his beard and lost some weight.
On July 3, 1971, Courson found Morison dead in the bathtub of their apartment at approximately 6:00 a.m. No autopsy was performed, as it was not required by French law. The official cause of death was heart failure, though this was just an educated guess. There were initial rumors of an accidental heroin overdose, but no evidence could confirm them. Morrison was buried at “Père Lachaise Cemetery”, the largest cemetery in Paris and the most visited necropolis in the world. The cemetery was founded by the emperor Napoleon in 1804, and houses the remains of several famous writers and artists. Morrison has continued to inspire musicians for decades, and has repeatedly been cited as a main inspiration for the gothic rock genre.- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dimos I
- ChildrenNo Children
- Gender / Gender identityMale
- Sexual orientationStraight
- Race / EthnicityWhite
- Often fell down on purpose during performances
- Would often improvise lyrics or poetry during songs
- Dark lyrics inspired by writers and poets such as William Blake and Aldous Huxley
- His wild stage antics and singing
- Dark crooning baritone voice
- Died at 27 years old, making him a member of the “27 Club”; The 27 Club is a group of prominent musicians that died at the age of 27. Other members include The Rolling Stones co-founder Brian Jones, guitarist Jimi Hendrix, singer Janis Joplin, guitarist Alan Wilson, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and singer Amy Winehouse.
- Morrison’s grave in Paris, France, is reportedly the city’s fourth most popular attraction after the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre.
- Is the only performer in rock history to have been arrested on stage during a performance (in New Haven, Connecticut on December 10, 1967).
- In 1966, before signing a record contract with Elektra Records, he told the band that he would fake his death to increase their notoriety. After Morrison’s death on July 3, 1971, album sales skyrocketed.
- [Los Angeles, California, 1969] Let’s just say I was testing the bounds of reality. I was curious to see what would happen. That’s all it was: just curiosity.
- [Dinner Key Auditorium, 3/1/69, the infamous concert where he allegedly exposed himself] We are not talking about no revolution! I’m not talking about no demonstration! I’m talking about having some fun! I’m talking about dancing! I’m talking about love your neighbor till it hurts! I’m talking about love! […] This is your show, anything you want goes!
- I’ve always been attracted to ideas that were about revolt against authority. When you make peace with authority, you become an authority.
- A friend is someone who gives you the complete freedom to be yourself.
- I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most crucial moments.
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