Sunday, July 3, 2011

Profile: Jim Morrison (1943-1971)

James Douglas "Jim" Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) was an American lead singer and lyricist of the rock band The Doors, as well as a poet.

Morrison would often improvise poem passages while the band played live, which was his trademark. He was ranked number 47 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and is widely regarded, with his wild personality and performances, as one of the most iconic, charismatic and pioneering frontmen in rock music history.

In the Summer of 1965, after graduating from UCLA, Morrison led a bohemian lifestyle in Venice Beach. Living on the rooftop of a building inhabited by his old UCLA cinematography friend Dennis Jakobs, he wrote the lyrics of many of the early songs the Doors would later perform live and record on albums, the most notable being "Moonlight Drive" and "Hello, I Love You". According to Jakobs, he lived on canned beans and LSD daily for several months. Morrison and fellow UCLA student Ray Manzarek were the first two members of The Doors, forming the group during that same Summer of 1965. They actually met months earlier as fellow cinematography students. The now-legendary story claims that Manzarek was lying on the beach at Venice one day, accidentally encountered Morrison, and was impressed with Morrison's poetic lyrics, claiming that they were "rock group" material. Thereafter, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger joined. Krieger auditioned at Densmore's recommendation and was then added to the lineup. All three musicians shared a common interest in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Meditation practices at the time, attending scheduled classes, but Morrison was not involved in this series of classes, claiming later (prior to the famous Hollywood Bowl show in July 1968) that he "did not meditate".

The Doors took their name from the title of Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception (a reference to the "unlocking" of "doors of perception" through psychedelic drug use). Huxley's own title was a quotation from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which Blake wrote: "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite."

Although Morrison is known as the lyricist for the group, Krieger also made significant lyrical contributions, writing or co-writing some of the group's biggest hits, including "Light My Fire", "Love Me Two Times", "Love Her Madly" and "Touch Me" . On the other hand, Morrison, who didn't write music using an instrument, would come up with melodies for his own lyrics, which the other band members helped turning into songs. He didn't play any instrument live (except for maracas on a few ocassions) or in the studio, but he played the piano on "Orange County Suite".


VIDEO: When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors (Theatrical Trailer)

No comments:

Post a Comment