Another yearbook of a rock icon. Jim Morrison.
Any decent Doors memorabilia is virtually impossible to find. Anything Jim even tougher. I’ve seen a few of these over the years. I had to find one.
This gem came from Jeff Gold at Recordmecca. Jeff has scored some ridiculous Doors stuff over the years. Including Jim’s Paris Notebook.
Check it out.
Hard to imagine this clean cut high school honor student was going to become one of the most explosive and controversial rock stars of our time.
And that sadly, he would also die so young.
My first band in high school we learned to play “Light My Fire.” It was our go to song. We’d play it three or four times during a gig. It was the only solo our guitar player wouldn’t fuck up.
At the time I really didn’t I understand the power of Jim Morrison lyrics and his poetry. He was simply a rock singer to me. Nothing more. It wasn’t until much later in my life did I finally realize his talent and impact on music.
Peace Jim. Thanks for giving us a song to play people loved.
James Douglas “Jim” Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) was an American singer-songwriter and poet, best remembered as the lead singer of Los Angeles rock band The Doors. From a young age, Morrison became infatuated with the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Rimbaud and Jack Kerouac, often incorporating their work into his lyrics. In his later life, Morrison developed an alcohol dependency which led to his death at the age of 27 in Paris. He is alleged to have died of a heroin overdose, but as no autopsy was performed, the exact cause of his death is still disputed.
Due to his songwriting, voice, wild personality and performances, he is regarded by critics and fans as one of the most iconic and influential frontmen in rock music history. He was also well known for improvising spoken word poetry passages while the band played live. Morrison was ranked number 47 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”, and number 22 on Classic Rock Magazine’s “50 Greatest Singers In Rock.” Morrison was known as the self-proclaimed “King of Orgasmic Rock”.
James Douglas Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida, the son of Clara Virginia (née Clarke) and future Rear Admiral George Stephen Morrison. Morrison had a sister, Anne Robin, who was born in 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and a brother, Andrew Lee Morrison, who was born in 1948 in Los Altos, California. His ancestors were Scottish, Irish,and English. In 1947, Morrison, then four years old, allegedly witnessed a car accident in the desert, in which a family of Native Americans were injured and possibly killed. He referred to this incident in a spoken word performance on the song “Dawn’s Highway” from the album An American Prayer, and again in the songs “Peace Frog” and “Ghost Song“. Morrison believed this incident to be the most formative event of his life, and made repeated references to it in the imagery in his songs, poems, and interviews. His family does not recall this incident happening in the way he told it. According to the Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, Morrison’s family did drive past a car accident on an Indian reservation when he was a child, and he was very upset by it. The book The Doors, written by the remaining members of The Doors, explains how different Morrison’s account of the incident was from that of his father. This book quotes his father as saying, “We went by several Indians. It did make an impression on him [the young James]. He always thought about that crying Indian.” This is contrasted sharply with Morrison’s tale of “Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death.” In the same book, his sister is quoted as saying, “He enjoyed telling that story and exaggerating it. He said he saw a dead Indian by the side of the road, and I don’t even know if that’s true.”
With his father in the United States Navy, Morrison’s family moved often. He spent part of his childhood in San Diego. While his father was stationed at NAS Kingsville, he attended Flato Elementary in Kingsville, Texas. In 1958, Morrison attended Alameda High School in Alameda, California. He graduated from George Washington High School, now George Washington Middle School, in Alexandria, Virginia in June 1961. His father was also stationed at Mayport Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. Morrison was reputed to have had an I.Q. of 149, and read widely and voraciously– being particularly inspired by the writings of philosophers and poets. He was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, whose views on aesthetics, morality, and the Apollonian and Dionysian duality would appear in his conversation, poetry and songs. He read Plutarch’s “Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans“. He read the works of the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, whose style would later influence the form of Morrison’s short prose poems. He was influenced by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Baudelaire, Molière, Franz Kafka, Honoré de Balzac and Jean Cocteau, along with most of the French existentialist philosophers. His senior-year English teacher said, “Jim read as much and probably more than any student in class, but everything he read was so offbeat I had another teacher (who was going to the Library of Congress) check to see if the books Jim was reporting on actually existed. I suspected he was making them up, as they were English books on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century demonology. I’d never heard of them, but they existed, and I’m convinced from the paper he wrote that he read them, and the Library of Congress would’ve been the only source.” Morrison went to live with his paternal grandparents in Clearwater, Florida, where he attended classes at St. Petersburg College (then known as a junior college). In 1962, he transferred to Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, where he appeared in a school recruitment film. While attending FSU, Morrison was arrested for a prank, following a home football game.
In January 1964, Morrison moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Shortly thereafter on August 2, 1964, Morrison’s father, George Stephen Morrison, commanded the United States fleet during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which resulted in the United States’ rapid escalation of the Vietnam War. At UCLA, Morrison enrolled in Jack Hirschman‘s class on Antonin Artaud in the Comparative Literature program within the UCLA English Department. Artaud’s brand of surrealist theatre had a profound impact on Morrison’s dark poetic sensibility of cinematic theatricality. Morrison completed his undergraduate degree at UCLA’s film school within the Theater Arts department of the College of Fine Arts in 1965.
He never went to the graduation ceremony, and had his diploma mailed to him. He made several short films while attending UCLA. First Love, the first of these films, made with Morrison’s classmate and roommate Max Schwartz, was released to the public when it appeared in a documentary about the film Obscura. During these years, while living in Venice Beach, he became friends with writers at the Los Angeles Free Press. Morrison was an advocate of the underground newspaper until his death in 1971. He later conducted a lengthy and in-depth interview with Bob Chorush and Andy Kent, both working for the Free Press at the time (January 1971), and was planning on visiting the headquarters of the busy newspaper shortly before leaving for Paris.