On July 3rd 1971, the world lost one of it’s brightest stars and sharpest minds; James Douglas Morrison, better known to the world as Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors.
Jim was born in Melbourne, Florida and moved a lot during his childhood, due to his father being in the navy. Along the way he developed a fascination and passion for poetry and words and was rarely seen without either a book or journal in his hands. This passion would stay with him for the entirety of his tragically short life and eventually some of his poems would become songs famous the world over, even being played today in 2021.
When I heard the first bar of a Doors song, back when I was a spotty teenager, I was blown away. It wasn’t until a few songs later when I heard People are Strange, that I was hooked. They were just the lyrics I needed to hear. I thought “finally! Someone gets it!” I still believe there is no better song for teenagers/disaffected youths than People are Strange. I wondered who these guys “the Doors” were and who had written the songs. The liner notes weren’t too helpful as most songs simply said “written by The Doors”.
I had to know more, so I set out on a quest to find out as much as I could (school work be damned!) and I am still on that quest as you read this. It was much harder back in those days as there was no internet and I lived in a relatively small town in New Zealand. Surprisingly I found two books in my school library and read them over and over. I was shocked to find that not only had the Doors been a 60’s band (and early 70’s) but that Jim had been dead for over twenty years! I remember wondering how that could be as the music sounded so fresh and the words of all the songs spoke to me so clearly and seemingly directly.
I mourned Jim then and I mourn him now, in fact more than ever now. I mourn for what could have been, what more he could have achieved and what the world lost.
I may not have ever known the man but he sure shaped my life. I already had a fascination with poetry and art but learning more about Jim and listening to his words (interviews, poems and songs) made me thirsty to learn more about those things for myself. He also inspired me to think and feel more too.
His picture and and ones of the rest of the Doors fill my house. My record collection is bursting at the seams with Doors albums and my bookshelf is full of books too. Even my children have Doors related names.
Speaking of books, a new anthology of Jim’s poems and some of his other writing has just come out. I have been waiting a long time for this and am quickly making my way through the 600 or so pages of poems.
So while to some he is just another rock star, who died half a century ago, to me he (along with the rest of the Doors) will always be a major part and influence on my life.
Thanks for giving us everything you did, Jim. Gone but never forgotten.
Jim Morrison died at age 27 in Paris, France and is buried there in the Père Lachaise cemetery.
(Below is a painting I have of Jim (artist unknown) and the most recent book and audio CD of his poems.)