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40 years gone, the legend of Jim Morrison has long since superseded the man himself to the point where clueless music journalists feel free to refer to his death as his “breaking on through to the other side,” a lyrical nod to the Doors’ 1967 classic single.

Such dimwitted tributes are, sadly, common currency. The image of the rebellious rocker valiantly passing over to the “other side” is a far more romantic notion than what occurred in reality (or at least in probability, as no autopsy was ever performed): Morrison and his junkie girlfriend took a suicidal cocktail of drugs overnight, leading the singer to vomit up his internal organs before slowly, and painfully, meeting his end in a Parisian bathtub.

The romantic image of Morrison is made even cuter due to the fact that he, by all accounts, was a misogynistic dog who’d fuck anything that walked on two legs, or maybe even three. Yet that’s what made him such a compelling figure: as a man, he was stirringly, disarmingly handsome and as a songwriter he was deceptively accomplished. He was the rock n’ roll ideal: irresistible and prodigiously talented.

While the abiding sonic image of the Doors as a group might be their longer, more psyched-up pieces, ‘Light my Fire’ was Robby Krieger’s baby and was driven by Ray Manzarek’s iconic keyboard melody. What Morrison brought to the party was a manic, almost primal energy, best exemplified by that distinctive guttural roar – he was in many ways the first singer to popularise shouting as an art among purveyors of white people music.

Where Morrison really excelled, and where he really helped the art form of the rock n’ roll frontman, was the way he could inject short, sharp bursts of unrestrained energy into a song; it’s no small feat that tracks like ‘Break on Through’ and ‘Five to One’ have barely aged in 40+ years. By the same token, he was equally adept composing twee, off-kilter poems to be spun into songs by his bandmates, best exemplified by ‘Moonlight Drive.’ Then there’s ‘The End,’ the still chilling first-person account of a young man struggling (and ultimately failing) to overcome an Oedipus Complex.

‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’:

‘Moonlight Drive’:

‘The End’:





DaveyBoy
07.04.11
Nice write-up Dave. Morrison is right up there as one of the best 'frontmen" ever imo. I still think The Doors are under-rated as a band too. Like you say, some of their songs have not aged one bit.

WhiteNoise
07.04.11
I love the Doors so much, Jim is the reason I will forever be searching for some leather pants and cowboy boots!

Trebor.
07.04.11
Drugs are bad

Puzzles
07.04.11
This is an incredibly compelling and inspiring write-up, Davey. Easily one of your best, about one of the best. Keep them coming mate.

myhigherpie
07.04.11
I feel like this website follows me around, musically.

I've just recently become completely enamored with The Doors. I think I've listened to The End a dozen times tonight, and I come on and this is here.

Great write-up. It's hard to write about Jim Morrison objectively and not get caught up in romantic pretense. He seems to elicit that reaction from most everyone.

DaveyBoy
07.04.11
Puzzles, he's Dave... I'm Davey.

Puzzles
07.04.11
Yeah that was an accident, nevertheless, awesome writeup Dave!

Puzzles
07.04.11
What do they call it? A freudian slip or something...

Chrisjon89
07.04.11
Never really thought about it but you're right. Some of these songs have aged pretty well.

MO
07.04.11
"Drugs are bad"

Only that ones that are chemically produced. Nice write-up, gonna listen to Strange Days today.

qwe3
07.04.11
dude was great. couldn't really write lyrics but fuck me if he wasn't the perfect frontman

LepreCon
07.04.11
I pray to Jim Morrison every night and morning

MoosechriS
07.04.11
the doors rule, aint played any of their albums in a while. Might put L.A woman on later

Nagrarok
07.04.11
Great to see this, well done. Let's not forget about this magnificent one though:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qRJIBtbc2c

ScorpionStan
07.05.11
[quote]dude was great. couldn't really write lyrics but fuck me if he wasn't the perfect frontman[/quote]
Couldn't write lyrics?

The guy composed entire VOLUMES of poetry. He wanted to quit the band [i]several different times[/i] to focus more on his poetry. The only reason he started the band in the first place was as an outlet for his poetry. As for the "perfect frontman" bit, he was actually extremely shy as a frontman to start out, and once the band got big he was stoned out of his mind most of the time and couldn't even carry his own tunes.

The only reason he wasn't discarded as a complete freak and attention-craving lunatic was that sensitive, romantic side...the side that presented itself in his poetry.

qwe3
07.05.11
yeah tupac wrote poetry too and it sucked as bad as morrison's did

qwe3
07.05.11
and "The only reason he wasn't discarded as a complete freak and attention-craving lunatic was that sensitive, romantic side...the side that presented itself in his poetry."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

porch
07.05.11
yea his voice and charisma had nothing to do with it, it was all about the poetry

Lament for my cock
Sore and crucified
I seek to know you
Aquiring soulful wisdom


qwe3
07.05.11
i guess he did see himself more as a poet than a singer. doesn't mean at all that he was good. in fact, he wasn't

AnotherBrick
07.05.11
Morrison is a badass and still alive in Africa.

DominionMM1
07.05.11
To quote Lester Bangs in 'Almost Famous': "He was a drunken baffoon pretending to be a poet". I enjoy The Doors' music, but I don't think that statement was too far off.

qwe3
07.05.11
ray manzarek was easily their best asset

DrGunther
07.06.11
Haha Porch, was just about to post that. What a legend, he only goes up in my estimation for that one.




ScorpionStan
07.06.11
qwe3 & porch:

For every bad verse of Jim's poetry that you quote, i can quote you 10 excellent verses. You have obviously never taken the time to read the lyrics to very many of his songs.

As for the "voice and charisma" qwe3: once again i will state the fact that Jim obviously had these attributes, but they were not present very often because he was either stoned, wasted, or both most of the time. The very reason that the Doors were not the biggest band of their time, and instead garnered a more cult-like following and image, is because Jim was terrible to work with and often a disastrous performer.

This comes not from me, by the way. This comes from study of the band's history and from knowing people who were alive and part of the L.A. scene in the time of the Doors.

ScorpionStan
07.06.11
So if you must insist on propounding this absurd mythology of yours, you go right on ahead.

i will agree with you on Manzarek however, that guy is SEVERELY underappreciated.

porch
07.06.11
"For every bad verse of Jim's poetry that you quote, i can quote you 10 excellent verses"

pretty sure you’re not a very good judge of these things and i’ll just be able to use your post to quote a bunch of bad verses right back at you

“You have obviously never taken the time to read the lyrics to very many of his songs”

actually i have. next

your original response to the comment about him being a poor lyricist was basically “but guys he wrote lots of poetry!”, as if that means he was automatically good at it. i mean his whole poetic rocker persona/schtick definitely helped his mystique, sure, but lol at you actually thinking it was a fundamental strength or that it actually holds up under scrutiny


“This comes not from me, by the way.”

just going to assume its the same people that trolled you into thinking jim morrison wrote good poetry

qwe3
07.06.11
"For every bad verse of Jim's poetry that you quote, i can quote you 10 excellent verses"

yeah and after one round of that you'll run out of excellent verses and I'll still have a plethora of bad ones to quote!

"As for the "voice and charisma" qwe3: once again i will state the fact that Jim obviously had these attributes, but they were not present very often because he was either stoned, wasted, or both most of the time. The very reason that the Doors were not the biggest band of their time, and instead garnered a more cult-like following and image, is because Jim was terrible to work with and often a disastrous performer. "

cool but irrelevant

"This comes not from me, by the way. This comes from study of the band's history and from knowing people who were alive and part of the L.A. scene in the time of the Doors."

did they not have any idea about what good poetry was either?

truth is the guy put a lot of "mysical" sounding words together and mixed it in with this rockish badboy thing he had which sort of made for a nice contrast but fuck it was terrible poetry hahaha


qwe3
07.06.11
i mean cmon

[quote]
Moment of inner freedom
when the mind is opened and the
infinite universe revealed
& the soul is left to wander
dazed & confus'd searching
here & there for teachers & friends.

Moment of Freedom
as the prisoner
blinks in the sun
like a mole
from his hole

a child's 1st trip
away from home

That moment of Freedom

LAmerica
Cold treatment of our empress
LAmerica
The Transient Universe
LAmerica
Instant communion and
communication
lamerica
emeralds in glass
lamerica
searchlights at twi-light
lamerica
stoned streets in the pale dawn
lamerica
robed in exile
lamerica
swift beat of a proud heart
lamerica
eyes like twenty
lamerica
swift dream
lamerica
frozen heart
lamerica
soldiers doom
lamerica
clouds & struggles
lamerica
Nighthawk
doomed from the start
lamerica
"That's how I met her,
lamerica
lonely and frozen
lamerica
& sullen, yes
lamerica
right from the start"

Then stop.
Go.
The wilderness between.
Go round the march.[/quote]

hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Pharoh
07.07.11
yeah tupac wrote poetry too and it sucked as bad as morrison's did


lol

omnipanzer
07.08.11
Great write up, sorry I didn't read it a little sooner.

Taoboxer9
07.08.11
Lester Bangs was a wannabe rock star. Instead he was just a junkie hack writer !

DominionMM1
07.08.11
And Morrison was a drunk hack poet!

Taoboxer9
07.08.11
DominionMM1 - Agreed.

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