Love him or hate him, Jim Morrison is surely one of the most enigmatic classic rock band front men of all time. Right from the formation of the Doors in 1965, he was always the center of attention for the Doors, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Indeed, he quickly grew many critics in addition to his adoring fans for some of his antics and actions, on and off the stage. His upbringing certainly had a big impact on his life too, where his dad quickly alienated him for not joining the navy.
Jim Morrison certainly had two sides to him - the acid fueled drunken/high, rock and roll womanizer that we see in the Oliver Stone Doors movie and some of his live concert footage. He often got way too high and drunk to sing or record music, and regularly verbally abused his fans on stage. And by the time of this death, there were allegedly over 20 paternity suits filled against him from his many one night stands with his groupies and flings.
His other side is the romantic, poetic, song-writing genius that we read about in many of the great Doors books like 'Riders on the Storm' and 'No One Gets Out of Here Alive' and through his poetry. Jim Morrison was also responsible for the lions share of song writing for The Doors. A great fresh perspective of his poetic, intimate side can be found in this book by his teenage love Linda Ashcroft (although some consider has elements of fiction in it).
His life certainly turned to a darker side towards the end of his career in 1969, increasingly getting in trouble with the law (including his alledged indecent exposure on stage in Florida that he was recently pardoned for) and other harder drugs. His appearance began to suffer too, putting on too much weight and growing an almost homeless-like beard. When he moved to Paris with Pamela Courson he tragically died in a bathtub from a heroin overdose - way too young.
Personally I think he was potrayed too much as the stoner/drunk womanizer, and not enough emphasis on the genius poetic song writer and front man that he was. I think had he lived beyond the low point towards the end of his career, he eventually would have got his act together again and created even more amazing works of musical art. And if you watch the rare video of him playing piano below, I think it sums up the different sides of him pretty well.
What are your thoughts on Jim Morrison? Comment below so we can all know what you think too...
The gossip lowest common denominator side is usually where people demonstrate interest.The bit I remember most from Oliver Stone's movie is Ray Manzarek shooing the band away while he sorts out his harmony for Light My Fire. I really think if Hollywood (or whoever) want to, they could actually reverse the dumb down trend of the past 10+years and have movies that have a certain depth and content as well as relevant visceral appeal. After all Jim was a boozer but there was more to even that side. They should not underestimate the public. After all The Doors didn't.
After Jim I think a good way for the Doors to have gone may have been a little like the Allman Bros Elizabeth Reed arrangment on Wipe The Windows, Check The Oil, Dollar(!) Gas. More keyboard oriented but with great guitar as well. (Works for both bands really.) It's quite subdued, atmospheric and builds in intensity but slowly at a perfect tempo. Masterful stuff. I quite like the post Jim albums but purely instrumental sounds in popular music is not usually so popular. But a couple more perhaps; the two released can't have been the only material left. Just before they might have turned fusion as Robbie Krieger had done so.
I've just been having a look at the archive releases on the All Music Guide. They've omitted An American prayer from the discography for some reason.The Jim-less albums get rated higher than I expected.
Always thought Jim made a good poet vocally. An Amercian Prayer had an atmosphere and quality that made it unique. I could have done without "Lament" however (just MVHO!).
Odd that Albinioni's (or whomsover wrote the thing) Adagio in Gm is omitted in the re-release. I haven't got that just yet as I rather thought that piece was supposed to be part of the album. Perhaps it will get fixed in later reissues. Or another version (e.g the usually better Japanese version?) I know it's a bonus on the latest re-issue of Waiting For the Sun - my point is that the Adagio was an instrumental summing of a great vocal album and that ommission is an artistic error. I'll miss it!
Fix that for the DVD issue...
Poetic genius or womanizer?
In my humble opinion many rock musicians love the women. JM is no different, he loved the women plus he loved the attention of which the media gave him; I read some of his poetry and it wasn't bad, I actually adapted one of his pieces for a Spoken Word improv. JM had presence, he scored high( more ways than one) on charisma. He was definitely creative and talented with poetry, but its no surprise really that he was gifted poetically, for music is the art of sound, words, melody and such. This is gonna be a weird thing to say but I'm going to say it anyways because what choice do I have when it comes to the naked truth? There is only one Dionysus and Morrison was his maenid, yes men can be maenids too. There is a lot I would like to say about JM, such as the one of when he had a encounter with J. Joplin. But I'm trying to keep it short.
I think Jim Morriosn was clearly both, but a poetic genius at the heart. I know some people are really just crazy, or jerks, or whatever and drunk womanizers as the whole of them....but no one like that 100% of the time could right anything as beautiful, filled with frightening truth and character.
As an aspiring musician, poet, writer, etc., I am greatly inspired and moved by his work. I think it is to bad that a light is always shed on what ruined a person rather than what made them.