By: Kathryn Summers
Today we remember the late legend Jim Morrison, lead singer and lyricist for The Doors.
Together with the band, Morrison helped create six remarkable albums before his untimely death at age 27.
Born James Douglas Morrison in Melbourne, Florida in 1943, he excelled in reading, writing and drawing in his youth. His family moved around quite a bit because his father was an admiral in the Navy, eventually landing in Virginia, where he attended high school. It was the last place Morrison wanted to be, so much so that he once told his teacher he was having a brain tumor removed and walked out of class.
Following his high school graduation, Morrison attended UCLA to study film and became interested in poetry. It was in one of his classes there that he first met Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek. Though he soon lost interest in film, the fear of being drafted for the Vietnam War kept him in school until his graduation in ‘65.
Morrison and Manzarek soon decided to form a band, and after recruiting, guitarist Robbie Krieger and drummer John Densmore, the Doors were born.
Morrison on-stage antics soon earned him the nickname “The Lizard King,” from flinging his mic stand and purposely falling down on stage. Law enforcement often became involved after he incited fan riots at several concerts during the late 60s.
The band found success almost immediately after the release of their self-titled debut in 1967, which included hits like “Break on Through (To the Other Side)” and “Light my Fire,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In his personal life, Morrison was married journalist Patricia Kennealy for a short time in 1970 before getting deeply involved with a woman named Pamela Courson. Shortly after leaving the Doors, Morrison moved to Paris with Pamela to pursue writing poetry, publishing a collection of poems called “The Lord and the Creatures.”
Soon thereafter, Morrison reportedly died of a heart attack in his bath tub on July 3, 1971. In his will he left everything to Pamela, and though the two were not married, they were legally considered common-law spouses after her death of a drug overdose in 1974. Their relationship was captured in Oliver Stone’s 1991 biopic, The Doors, with Val Kilmer and Meg Ryan in the roles of Jim and Pamela.
Though it has been 42 years since Jim Morrison passed away, he continues to live on through his immeasurable contributions to Rock and Roll. From his iconic voice to his dark and beautiful lyrics, Jim Morrison was and always will be, the epitome of a frontman, and he is greatly missed.