Jim Morrison was born on December 8, 1943, he would have been 72 years old today. Doors fans around the world are celebrating his life. Morrison’s biography is now the stuff of rock and roll legend and rock and roll fans know at least the highlights of his life. Jim Morrison is still such an intriguing figure that 8-9 new books are published each year about him or some aspect of him and The Doors. A lot of people think that Morrison’s lyrics and poems are opaque and don’t provide any biographical information or commentary on his life but here are a few of Jim Morrison’s lyrics and poems that provide a glimpse into his life and what he may have been thinking about it.
The End – Although the poem that became “The End” was written as good-bye song to Mary Werbelow, it is the Oedipal section that draws interest in Morrison in a biographical sense. The family unit described in “The End” is the same as Morrison’s nuclear family, and the “father I want to kill you/mother I want to….” may reveal, in a literary sense his sentiments towards his parents, a father that had written to him saying he thought Jim being in a band was “a crock”.
Peace Frog – This song might be Morrison’s most blatant biographical allusion to his life as it contains the “Indians bleeding on dawn’s highway” section that is an almost literal telling of his experience as a child in which he (along with his family) came along a wreck of a truck with Indian workers, some laying on the side of the highway bleeding, and Morrison’s belief that the souls of one or two of those Indians may have leapt into his soul.
Queen of the Highway – Again, a very clear reference by Morrison describing himself “he was a monster/black dressed in leather” the woman he describes as a “princess” could that be a reference to Pam Courson? “No one could save her/save the blind tiger” possibly because love had blinded her towards the leather-clad monster? But lines in the second stanza are astounding and no one seems to have noticed this before but lines include “Now they are wedded” and even the more incredible line of “Soon to have offspring”. People may argue this may be a reference to Patricia Kennealy and the Pagan wedding she and Morrison participated in and a subsequent pregnancy, but the release of “Morrison Hotel” on which “Queen of the Highway” appears pre-dates the Morrison-Kennealy wedding. It is known that Morrison’s “cosmic mate” Pam Courson sometimes referred to herself as Morrison’s wife, but these lines beg biographers to answer was Pam Courson pregnant at some time prior to the recording and writing of the song? This thinking even bleeds over into the lost song on “Morrison Hotel”, “Maggie M’Gill” in the lines “Illegitimate son of a rock and roll star”. Even if Morrison wasn’t planning on marrying and having children, they both seem to have been on Morrison’s mind for whatever reason.
L.A. Woman (album) – This may be some of the most autobiographical lyrics written for a Doors album, a reflection on his life in Los Angeles and as a rock star and gives us clear insights into what he was thinking. “The Changeling”, on the 40th anniversary reissue of “L.A. Woman” on the alternate takes disc Morrison says, “I don’t want to smoke anyone on this but this is my favorite number.” The song then goes on to say, “I could never be so broke that I couldn’t leave town”. “L’America” also is a very revelatory song, it can be described as an autobiography of a rock band, The Doors in particular. Lines like “I took a trip down L’America/to trade some beads for a pint of gold” could be taken as a reference of Morrison taking his poems, items that had only intrinsic value and traded them for the gold of Hollywood, money, and fame (see related articles below).
This isn’t a complete list. We could delve into some of the poems on “An American Prayer”, or discuss the tone of some of Morrison’s lyrics throughout his career, an example “The Crystal Ship” belies a positive attitude with lines asking for “another flashing chance at bliss“ and “Deliver me from reasons why/You’d rather cry/I’d rather fly”, but by the time of “L.A. Woman” and “Cars Hiss by My Window” “a cold girl will kill you in a darkened room”. Something like that could be book length, and maybe a good sized tome at that. For more articles on Jim Morrison on his birthday see the related articles below.
Above is a fan’s biography of Jim Morrison in under 10 minutes, while there may be a few mistakes it still is a nice tribute to Jim Morrison on what would have been his 72nd birthday. Thank you Jim, and Peace wherever you are.
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