Now, before all of Beatle-mania and the Kiss Army (or which ever band your loyalty lies) gets all worked up, just hear me out.
Jim Morrison meant more to his band than any other musician. The Beatles had Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to go along with their great frontman, John Lennon. All of which had very succesful solo careers. Meaning they probably would have made it big with or without Lennon.
You could really say the same for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (either one could be considered their frontman) with Led Zeppelin. Hell, Jon Bonham may be the greatest drummer of all-time. John-Paul Jones may also be the best bassist to ever strap on a bass. Both the Beatles and Led Zeppelin's other members are just as famous and meant as much to their respective bands as their leaders.
The Who also had more than just their frontman to take them to that next level of greatness. Pete Townsand (guitarist), Roger Daltery (lead singer) and Keith Moon (drums) are all considered rock n' roll gods. They were all one of the best at what they did. John Entwistle was even a great bassist in his own right.
That brings us to the Rolling Stones. Although one could make an argument for Mick Jagger, he had Keith Richards. Keith became just as big of a star as Mick. Some may even say Keith is the more famous of the two. I, personally, believe that Mick is the heart and soul of the Stones. But that's a debate for another day.
Now, this is by no means trying to put down the rest of the Doors members. Ray Manzerek played an unbelievably good keyboard. Robbie Krieger was an excellent guitarist and song writer (he wrote 'Light My Fire' to go along with many others). John Densmore's skills on the drums are as good as anybody's in rock. But Morrison brought this karisma that the rest of the band needed to become great.
When Jim was on that stage everyone's eyes were glued to him. You didn't want to miss what the karismatic, out-of-his-mind Morrison was going to do next. All the big celebrities of the time, musicians to artists to movie-stars to writers, wanted to party with the Lizard King. People just seemed to gravitate towards Jim. He was a smart, funny, good-looking guy. He had that 'I don't give a fuck' attitude mixed with a very caring heart, for the people close to him, that made women want him and men want to be him.
I haven't even mentioned what made him so great in the first place: his song and poetry writing. Jim's words spoke to people and really made you think in ways you never did before. He touched on love, death, war and everything in between. He could touch your heart and make you think of your true-love with a song like 'Moonlight Drive'. Then make you think about tragedy and war with 'Unknown Soldier' and 'Peace Frog'. Next thing you know you're singing along with a song that can be interpritated in so many different ways like 'The End'.
Mr. Mojo Risin' lifted the Doors to heights they never would have accomplished with out him. All the great rock n' roll bands throughout the years have had a Batman and Robin. Hell, even Aerosmith had Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. But when it comes to the Doors most people can't even name another member of the band. I know most of you on this site can, but I'm talking about the general public, your average run of the mill fan.
I know a lot of you have your own opinions and I'd love to hear them all. But this is what I think. So tell me, my fellow classic rock nuts, who's your favorite frontman?
Right. Jim's poetry was pretty awful. And I fucking love Jim, ask me any question about him, I'll tell ya. Patti Smith wrote much better stuff on her Horses album. She is a huge Doors fan. Poetry and lyrics are not the same thing at all. Being a frontman is about engaging your audience as well as vocal quality. And if you are going to use those criteria, how could you really argue with - Freddie Mercury? To be honest it is not a question that can be answered, people get so annoyed with what the other says, and nobody is right, they are just different! Standing on the shoulders of giants - Jim started baiting the audience and asking if they wanted to see his cock, Iggy took it to it's logical conclusion and started trying to beat hell's angels over the head like a baton with his! Who can say what is better?
Yeah, and all of the Doors were seriously intellectual chaps, they would have done well elsewhere, they weren't just Jim's backing band. Listen to the drum fills on When the music's over. The drums are acting like punctuation marks for the words. Robbie Krieger is being Hubert Sumlin, never a bad thing. Ray is being himself, and who the fuck ever played the organ like that?
Well..I'm pretty openly a huge Doors fan. I've definitely established that here on CRN.
I'm with you. Jim Morrison=greatest front man. About his writing: I understand where some people might say he's overrated or that there's not much substance there. But lyrics are subjective. What's total crap to one man could really bring perspective, and inspiration to another. Jim's writing does so for me. About his vocals: I'm pretty much in love with his voice. haha. Seriously though, the natural depth to it is just beautiful.
I think everyone can agree, that was a mess. Haha.
It just doesn't shake me. I have to much appreciation, and personal connection with his lyrics, vocals, and stage presentation. What most people might see as a train wreck, I perceive as free. I think Jim's freedom is sort of beautiful. Even if its nonsense or goes on the offensive side.
But, I totally get why some people don't care for the doors, and only see Morrison as a joke.
You might think I'm crediting Morrison more than I am. The Doors would be nothing without musicians. Jim does not BY NO MEANS make or break the doors. I personally love Manzarek as well:)
As a performer, singing particularly, and someone who just generally has trouble letting lose, I respect and find beauty in any one or anything that isn't afraid to just..be. (Probably not the "good" you were looking for.) Jim has that quality which I strive for& is hard to come by. Hence the personal connection and beauty found in it.
Have to agree with Ya there. I have always been such a fan of the Doors, and especially Jim Morrison. His quotes are still part of my life at times. He always had a thought to make everyone think.
Mike, I loved your piece on Jim Morrison. I hope you don't mind, but I reblogged it on my website Jim Morrison Project. I am in the process of a redesign, so the site is currently under construction, but I plan to launch on Jim Morrison's birthday, Dec. 8, 2015. If there is a problem reblogging your article, please let me know, and I'll take it down immediately. Your piece has been properly cited, and I have included a link to this page. Thank you for your consideration. www.jimmorrisonproject.com