James (Jim) Douglas Morrision, ‘61
Born on December 8, 1943 and died on July 3, 1971 at age 27
Back to the GW Stories page
This page updatedc November 18, 2006
Back to MAIN GW Alumni Page
Jim Morrison, a member of the "Doors", was handsome with a gentle, innocent look. 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. Jim's grade school ambition was to become a writer. His idols were poets and joumalists including Rimbaud, Keats and Jack Kerouac.
As a student Jim excelled in text work and reference work, devouring knowledge in areas of history, science, psychology, english and the arts, but was troublesome in class. He learned to make friends fast and not get too close as his father being an Admiral in the navy and a career man, moved around the country frequently.
Jim went on to get a degree in Cinematography and actually made a movie. The film was greeted by a minority as a masterpiece and by several professors as the worst film they had ever seen. "Wierd" would have been a more appropriate description. Not long after that he bumped into an old class mate, Ray Manzerak, and decided to join Ray's band 'Screamin ' Ray Daniels ' _ and try out some of his Iyrics. After a reshuffle in the band Ray and Jim with Robbie Krieger and John Densmore formed The Doors.
They called themselves The Doors after Aldous Huxley's 'The Doors Of Perception' and worked for six months ending up at the most important rock club in Los Angeles, Wiskey a Go Go. By this time Jim was singing his own heady material and The Doors were fast gaining a loyal core of fans.
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 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 was becoming notorious for his drug taking, taking and fast living and by the time The Doors third album 'Waiting For The Sun' came out, his popularity had begun to wane as his fans watched him become drunker and fatter.
Arrests after The Doors' Miami concert of March 2nd 1969 for "lewd and lascivious behaviour" sparked a nation wide ban on the group, resulting in exclusion from 16 states, and Jim began to rebel against the image he had created, shedding his leathers in fear of another bust. Twelve previous arrests had not left their mark, but this was the first time his arrest had serious repercussions.
Their next album 'The Soft Parade'released in the summer of 1969 did not make the impact of the earlier albums and although 'Morrison Hotel' released in early 1970 redeemed them somewhat, the future of The Doors was at best, uncertain.
Jim was not unaware of his own absurdity and the Iyrics of 'Absolutely Live' (1970) belie his disillusionment .... "Dead cat in a top hat, Thinks he's an aristocrat That's crap". With the finish of the bluesy and intermittently successful album 'L.A. Woman', Morrison headed for Paris. He was probably looking for renewed inspiration in the birth place of French symbolist poetry and_surrealism.
So Jim 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 his death abound and their are some who even proclaim that he is still alive.
Before he went to France he had recorded a legacy to Doors fans and the world at large with some of his poetry.
In 1978 the remaining Doors' members, Ray Manzerak, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore got together and put his poetry to music for the latest album 'An American Prayer' In it Jim seems to be prophesing his own death and welcoming it, through lines such as:
"Death makes angels of us all & gives us wings
Where we had shoulders smooth as raven's claws
No more money, no more fancy dress
This other Kingdom seems by far the best
until its other jaw reveals incest
& loose obedience to a vegetable law
I will not go
Prefer a Feast of Friends
To the Giant Family. "
Back to the GW Stories page This page updatedc November 18, 2006 Back to MAIN GW Alumni Page