The Phantom Voice
the phantom voice
Jim Morrison was a legendary rock icon who affected the music industry forever. Jim was the lead singer for a popular band called The Doors in the 1960’s. Although he didn’t live for too long, within the time he was alive The Doors came out with songs like “Light My Fire”, “Break on Through”, “Touch Me”, “Peace Frog”, and many more that are considered classics to this day. Their intoxicating, genre blending sound made The Doors one of the most unique bands of its time. Unfortunately, in the prime of the band’s career, Jim died from a drug overdose at the age of 27.
Jim was born in Melbourne, Florida on December 8th, 1943 and was the oldest of three. He had a younger sister named Anne, a younger brother named Andy, and a mother and father named George and Clara. When Jim was seven, his family went on vacation to New Mexico, and while driving, they came across what Jim later said was “the most important event of my life”. They came across a group of Pueblo Indians, bleeding to death in the road. Jim would refer to that moment many times while writing songs.
By the time Jim was ready for college, he had started experimenting with many drugs like acid and alcohol. He attended UCLA with future band member Ray Manzarek. While studying on day, Jim and Ray decided they wanted to start a rock band. The band still needed more members and eventually John Densmore and Robbie Kreiger would join the group. The inspiration for the band name came from the title of a book by Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception.
Before Jim and The Doors made it big, they were a local band. They played in bars and restaurants throughout California. One night, a representative from Elektra Records came to watch them play. After the show, he went backstage to speak to the band about their performance. The Doors had signed with their first record label, Elektra Records, in 1967.
Later that year The Doors released their debut album titled, The Doors. The album had songs like “Alabama Song”, “Break on Through”, “The End”, and “Light My Fire”. By June, 1967, “Light My Fire” was the number one song in America. The Doors had become so famous, they were invited to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show; the only requirement was that they change the lyrics of a song because they were drug related. They agreed, went on stage, and started to play, but Jim decided he liked the original lyrics better so he sang them. Ed was so infuriated that he never invited them back and even refused to shake their hands.
On December 9th, 1967, Morrison was arrested onstage during a concert in New Haven, Connecticut for attempting to incite a riot. He told the audience that a policeman had sprayed him and journalist Patricia Kennealy with mace backstage before the concert. In June, 1968, the group hit the top of the charts again with their album "Waiting for the Sun", which had the number one hit, "Hello, I Love You." But things came to an end on March 1, 1969, during a concert in Miami, Florida where Jim was arrested for exposing himself to the audience and using profanity. As result of Jim's legal troubles the group lost their bookings for the next several months. In August, 1970, Jim was brought to trial for the Miami incident. He was acquitted of charges of inappropriate behavior, but found guilty of indecent exposure and profanity. He was sentenced to eight months in prison.
Morrison’s mug shot after being arrested on stage in New Haven Connecticut
When he got out of jail, Jim and his wife, Pamela, moved to Paris, France, where he intended to continue his literary ambitions. One morning Jim woke up throwing up blood, but he just wiped it off and took a bath. He had been in the bath for a while and his wife began to get
concerned so she went to check on him. She walked in to find him dead of a drug overdose. He died on July 3rd, 1971, at the age of 27, and at the height of his career. Three years later, in August 1974, Pamela died in Paris from a heroin overdose. Coincidentally, she too was 27 years old when she died.