I don't quite recall when I first heard a Doors's ong, but I could safely assume that it was Jim Morrison wailing the tune 'Light My Fire' or 'Break on Through'. After all, these two anthems are the foundations upon which the Doors' legend was built, and to this day remain the band's gems. But as I have come to learn through the years of reading about and scouring over regurgitated bits of information of this group is that they are so much more than a member of the genre of those 1960 s bands who musically fell in love with drugs, love, and repetitive choruses. Gathering knowledge from a countless number of books, newspaper articles, and documentaries about the band's lead singer, Jim Morrison, has led me to scorn the drunken, obnoxious hippie identity that a majority of the public has perceived him to be some thirty years after his passing. There was a time when I shared these prejudicial views with the casual listeners, but it's been quite a long road to personally come to the conclusion that Jim was a poet who had something valuable to say when he was performing. However, a public misconception of Morrison and the Doors still remains, and will linger for the simple reason that we cannot re-live the late 1960 s and become acquainted with this rock n roll icon.
Thus, this very fact incited me to gain a better understanding of the legend that's been bogged in criticism for the last thirty years. Now, before I commend Jim for all that he's accomplished in his twenty-seven years on this earth, it is only reasonable and fair to point out that he was not flawless. He was not one to compromise with authority, and undoubtedly in drugs and risky situations. Indeed, he often put himself in danger, and the result was a payment of the ultimate price: death. Death from years of alcohol abuse, late night partying, and frolicking around town. Death from a haggard soul that had done and seen almost everything that anyone could conceive.
However, it should be cited that he had never purposely intended to harm another soul on his downward spiral through life. He would often saturate his mind with liquor, but consciously close the flood gates just as he was to plummet from the edge of sanity. The same 'loud-mouthed, insane, drug-induced monster' who once sang with a straight face of killing his father and having sexual intercourse with his mother would ink words of sensitivity and sentiment, as well. The series of love songs dedicated to his longtime girlfriend and soul mate, Pamela Cours on, were such an incredible contrast to Jim's public ally constructed character, that people who knew him would liken his personality to that of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Almost anybody who remembers the exposure Jim received when the Doors were at the pinnacle of their success circa 1967/'68 can attest that the screaming revolutionist who challenged crowds and vibrantly jumped, tumbled, and threw himself across a stage was not even remotely the same reserved intellectual we were introduced to away from the spotlight. Long-time friends, family members, and reporters alike dubbed Jim as a unique, soft-spoken, shy intellectual who at times had an innocent wild streak to him. His performances were so unconventional to his off-stage semblance, in fact, that at times he seemed as if he was a phony, leaving behind his wits to play insane during the concert. But it was all too real to those who had the fortune of witnessing one of the greatest musical theatres ever, or what we refer to as a Doors concert. In lengthy Oedipal's such as 'The End', which was a crowd favorite at every arena and coliseum, Jim addressed everybody's deepest fears of death and melancholy most performers never dared to touch. In each performance Jim would change his words slightly, but never neglecting the song's ability to put a listener's body into a numb trance with morbid thoughts piercing their sanity.
Not one critic could deny the fact that Jim Morrison had an incredible vocabulary used in painting pictures of reality and persuasion to the audience. The fact that Jim had a gift was no secret, but the manner in which he presented his introspection of human nature and life were somewhat controversial and contributed to the abrupt halt in Jim's life. Indications of his stage mannerisms occurred before Jim and the Doors became a nationally recognized band as they were fired from one of their gigs at a whiskey bar for a lewd, vulgar rendition of the aforementioned song 'The End'. On stage, misbehavior continued for Jim, as 1967 marked the year in which Morrison was thrust into the national spotlight for good by inciting a riot against police in New Haven, Connecticut.
Finally, the concert that damned Jim Morrison's legend for eternity arrived. On March 1, 1969, Jim pushed his stage rebellion too far at one concert in Miami, Florida. To this day, stories of what happened that spring night in Jim's home state vary. Some say he exposed himself to the audience, and others say Jim was just being his usual self and teasing the audience by grabbing at his crotch and fondling his unmentionables.
A collection of some hundreds of pictures taken by audience members were introduced as evidence in the trial that followed Jim's arrest; but only refurbished an innocent plea as not one of the photos portrayed Morrison exposing himself. Despite this evidence, Jim was sentenced to six months in prison with a $500 fine for vulgar and indecent language and exposure; both misdemeanors. The fallen star's actions prompted a Decency Rally in the Miami Bowl, which received a turnout of roughly 30, 000 people. Almost immediately, the Doors' remaining scheduled U.
S. tour dates were cancelled. Eventually, European and American cities would allow the Doors to perform again, but only under the restrictions of promoters and watchful eye of the media. As a result, those who witnessed Jim's last performances were disappointed when he appeared as only a shadow of the gifted, buoyant, energetic girl magnet he was only three years ago.
Bearded, consumed, depressed, and beer-bellied, the Jim Morrison America came to love before the Miami incident seemed to have left the public eye in 1969. Instead, Jim looked fit to be a rugged, grisly outdoors man living alone in a cabin somewhere in the woodlands of Colorado. The long, tedious trial had no doubt drained Morrison of his little will to live from which he had retained throughout his controversial life. People close to him during these trying times said he was exhausted, depressed, unmotivated, and drinking more than ever. The foursome performed together only a few more times before Jim Morrison's life would mercifully end in Paris, France on July 3, 1971. It isn't quite clear why Jim died, but those who arrived on the scene in his luxurious Paris apartment to find Jim slouched in a bathtub labeled the reason as a heart attack.
Since he never received an autopsy, rumors and reasonable speculation called Jim's death a result of binge drinking, drugs, respiratory problems, and just about every other illness known to man. In any theory, official records point to the suicide of a twenty-seven year old rock star that at one time seemingly had it all. However, I wouldn't be doing my duty as a Doors fan if I were to simply accept the fact that Jim Morrison, the Lizard King, took his own life solely because of a disappointment with life. The critics; the media; the same people who adored and worshipped Morrison when he was a do-good American pop icon pushed their beloved son until he couldn't handle life any more.
They criticized and publicly crucified Jim Morrison for having an open mind and expressing himself through his music. The same country that was built on the right that gave every citizen allowance to voice his or her opinion on the state of society killed Jim Morrison for doing just that. The land of the free... Jim was led to his demise by the cruel surrounding we call our society.
He couldn't take the pain anymore, so there was one surefire way to end it all. As he was notorious for doing, he worded it best in the Doors' classic 'The Soft Parade' by surrendering himself: 'Can you give me sanctuary? / I must find a place to hide... Can you find me soft asylum? / I can't make it anymore/ The Man is at the door.'.