jim morrison

[contributed by Jimmie Purvis]

"Jim Morrison probably got the closest
to being an artist within rock and roll, I think. . . .
His death made me sadder than anyone's.
He was a really great poet."

—Patti Smith

Jim Morrison was one of rock'n'roll's most influential artists. In the '60s he established himself as a dynamic and commercially viable performer with the release of such hit albums as "Strange Days" and "Waiting for the Sun." His untimely death from a heart attack in 1971 stands as a dark day in the history of popular music. Only twenty-seven years old when he passed away, Morrison in the '70s achieved the status of an icon and emerging stars literally worshipped him.

Patti Smith idolized the "Lizard King" and wanted to follow in his footsteps. She downplayed any weaknesses that might lessen the impact of the work of her hero. In a review of An American Prayer for Creem magazine, Smith said, "Its flaws lie in the forgivable limitations of these friends [i.e. musical collaborators] and sometimes in the poet himself. . . His fatal flaw was that his most precious skin was the thin membrane that housed the blood of the poet. He pledged his allegiance, in the end, to language, to the word. And it did him in. . .An American Prayer resounds in the silence that surrounds the cocoon of the lord, he is sleeping, hibernating, awaiting the changeling and the elegance of his change."

Patti's song "Break It Up" is said to be about Jim Morrison—the angel struggling to break free. She also wrote a poignant prose piece about departed heroes and visiting Morrison's grave, titled "Jukebox Cruci-fix".

A comprehensive link:

ultimate band list page on the Doors

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