The Life of Jim Morrison

The lead singer of "The Doors"


Jim Morrison, lead singer of "The Doors" and poetic genius, is one of the best singers the United States has ever had.  Morrison is one of the main characters who publicized the psychedelic lifestyle and oppressive government during the turmoil of the 60's.  Jim's life is full of chaos and grace, leaving us with several lessons we can use to save ourselves the trial and error.  Jim's childhood especially shapes his drive and creativity.

Birth - College:

James Douglas Morrison, the son of Rear Admiral George Morrison and Clara Morrison, was born in Melbourne, Florida on December 8, 1943.  Due to his father's military occupation, James often found his early life chaotic due to frequent transits to his family's designated military bases.  In 1947, near the time he received a brother and sister, James saw a car accident in the desert involving native americans.  This event traumatized James for the rest of his life, causing him to mention it in his songs "Peace Frog" and Ghost Song", as he reportedly saw a dead indian at the side of the road. 

Morrison continued to travel cross-country, initially beginning  highschool in 1958 while residing in Alameda, California and graduating in 1961 while residing in Alexandria, Virginia.  During his highschool life James was very literate and took special notice to metaphysical studies.  One of his teachers recounts that the only place he could find a reference book, for a report James did, was in the Library of Congress.  However, after highschool James felt fed-up abiding by his father's lifestyle and moved in with his grandparents in Clearwater, Florida.  While in Clearwater James studied at the St. Petersburg Junior College. 

Living with his grandparents made James strive for freedom causing him to move up to Florida State University in 1962.  However, James' partying got the better of him and he got arrested for causing a drunken prank at a FSU football game.  Morrison's foolishness caused him to move to Los Angeles, California in 1964 where he attended the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).  While in attendance, James met good friend Ray Manzarek and long-term girlfriend Pamela Courson.  Fortunately Morrison finally attains an undergraduates degree in 1965.

Amateur - Artist:

1965 marked a period of great change in Morrison's life.  To begin, James changed his name to Jim and broke off nearly all communications with his family while he lived off canned food and psychedelics on an apartment rooftop.  It was this time of self reflecting that Jim developed his creativity and wrote the songs "Hello, I Love You" and "Moonlight Drive".  Jim's works were brilliant but he initially lacked confidence.  However, one day when Jim strolled along the beach he bumped into his school pal Ray Manzarek.  Conversation ensues and they eventually began talking about mutual musical interests.  Jim then sings to Ray "Moonlight Drive"which was enthusiastically supported.  As a result,  Jim and Ray rallied the band "The Doors".  Morrison chose the doors due to Aldous Auxleys quote "If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would be seen to man as it is : Infinite".

Jim's popularity steadily increased and by June of 1966 he was singing at the "Whiskey Go Go" bar.  Morrison's performances led him to a musical contract with Elektra records in 1967.  Since Jim had already written most of their songs, "The Doors" completed their first album in 6 days after they started recording, blowing up in popularity.  "The Doors" became so popular that their hit single "Light My Fire" reached number one on the pop singles chart of that year.  Such attention got Morrison an invitation to sing on the Ed Sullivan show as long as he agreed not to say the word "higher" in his song "Light My Fire" since it referenced drugs.  During Jim's performance ,however, he ignores Sullivan's revision and says "higher" on national television.  Ed Sullivan was so infuriated he sent his producer to tell Jim "your never doing the Sullivan show again".  Jim sarcastically replied "I just did the Ed Sullivan show".

By the release of his second album "Strange Days" Jim's popularity was comparable to  "The Beatles" and at this time he began going on tour.  With a slowing momentum "The Doors" released their third album "Waiting for the Sun" in 1968 and their fourth album "The Soft Parade" in 1969.  In 1969 Jim publishes two works of his poetry "The Lord" and "The New Creatures" which gain little attention.  Additionally, Morrison got arrested for indecent exposure after he reportedly shows his private parts during a concert.  Jim denied any claims but, nonetheless, the event marks a change in Jim's lifestyle.  After the event Jim begins dressing more casually and pays less attention to his appearance.  At this time alcohol and drugs were taking a large effect upon Morrison's life.  Jim finally released his fifth album "Morrison Hotel" only to break up the band until 1970.  Morrison rallied "The Doors" one last time to produce their last album "L.A. Woman".  During this time, he reportedly also marries Patricia Kennealy in a Celtic Pagan style ceremony.

Jim seems to attempt a retreat from his lifestyle in march of 1971 when he moves to Paris with his girlfriend Pamela.  Morrison has come to Paris to concentrate on his poetry develop his creativity.  Sadly, however, Jim Morrison was found dead in his apartment on July 3rd of 1971.  Cause of death is never factually proven.


Jim Morrison's was most definitely not of intended nature and was most likely a drug/alcohol overdose.  For Example, Jim's girlfriend Pamela and several other friends had admitted that Jim's death was due to a heroin overdose.  On the contrary, Grace slick of the "Jefferson Airplane" band has insisted that Jim died of an alcohol overdose.  Popular belief through Oliver Stone's Film "The Doors" has Jim depicted as wanting to die, which is not plausible nor logical.    We must take note of Morrison's faults and learn from them.  More importantly, we must carry with us one important message Morrison wanted to deliver to us all:

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would be seen as it is: Infinite

Jim Morrison(49183)Credit: Thanks to Bruce Tuten @ Flickr for image.