40 years without Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison of the Doors died 40 years ago, on July 3, 1971. He was found dead at the age of 27 in a bathtub in Paris. The mystery that surrounded his death only served to increase the public’s fascination in him, to this day.
How do I know this nugget? Simple. Journalists tend to remember these kinds of factoids. And ever since President Ronald Reagan commemorated the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in 1984, 40 has been the new 50 for the media — and a milestone that is worth chronicling for the masses.
Morrison sang some of the most enduring songs in rock and roll history, such as ‘Light My Fire,’ ‘LA Woman’ and ‘Break on Through,’ which still can be heard today on oldies stations. The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Long hailed as a great rock vocalist, Morrison has also been hailed as a creative icon for many of the punk and grunge singers who followed the Doors, including Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.
Morrison remains one of the seminal figures in rock and roll history. Ten years after he died, Rolling Stone pointed out that Doors records continued to sell at a strong clip, and the magazine honored Morrison with the classic headline – “He’s Hot, He’s Sexy and He’s Dead.”
In 1991, a new generation learned about Morrison and the Doors through Oliver Stone’s controversial biopic, ‘The Doors,’ which, some people said, presented an inaccurate portrait of Morrison because it concentrated more on his partying and carousing instead of his artistic nature.

40 years without Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison.

It will be 40 years on Sunday since Jim Morrison was found dead in a bathtub in his Paris apartment, but a visit to his grave finds the cult of the lizard king as alive as ever.
His sudden and untimely death at the age of 27 stunned fans of The Doors, who broke fresh ground in psychedelic rock with such hits as ‘Riders on the Storm,’ ‘People are Strange’ and ‘Light My Fire’.
There was never an autopsy, giving rise to multiple conspiracy theories, as Morrison’s remains were buried at Pere Lachaise cemetery, final resting place of other such notables as Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein and Oscar Wilde.
Two of his bandmates, keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger, will mark the anniversary with a sell-out concert at the Bataclan club, while a tribute band from Britain, The Doors Alive, will perform at the Cigale.
That Pere Lachaise is reputedly the most-visited cemetery in the world is due in no small part to the crowds that flock every day to visit Morrison’s flower-strewn gravestone.
“James Douglas Morrison, 1943-1971″ – reads a plaque on the gravestone erected in the 1990′s by the singer-poet’s father, who added a Greek phrase often interpreted as “true to his own spirit”.
“I’ve listened to his music intensely since I was a kid” – said Alex, an American in his fifties living in Paris recently seen humming another Doors classic, ‘The End’, as he came by to pay his respects.
“When I was 15 years old, I adored him. His lyrics were so profound. He had a genuine fascination with death, like a self-fulfilling prophecy” – he told AFP.


For Doors fans, July 3 marks the 40th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s untimely death – a day to remember his life, his music, his poetry.
For drummer John Densmore, it is perhaps a date best forgotten. And he has.
“What is it, July 3?” asks the 66-year-old percussionist. “You see, I don’t even know the date. I prefer to celebrate December 8, his birthday.
After all, Jim died at 27 because of alcoholism. I don’t want to glamorize that. But I am real proud of Jim’s music and poetry. My anger over his demise is gone. I have a deeper respect now than I did before for his vision, for what he was trying to do. He was trying to make some deep changes.”
On a musical level, he succeeded. “Morrison took it to a different place completely” – singer Burton Cummings says. “He opened my eyes to the fact that lyrics could go anywhere, could be dangerous and dark.”
Cult vocalist Ian Astbury – who has sung with the surviving Doors – agrees: “The first time I heard The Doors in 1971 at age 10, all of a sudden there was a different animal in the room. This wasn’t pop. This was something else – almost scary.”
Even Michael Bolton is a fan – “He was a one-of-a-kind writer and artist.” The bottom line, says Doors guitarist Robby Krieger – “He was different than anybody I’d ever met. And I’ve never met anybody like him again.”

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