Jim Morrison - A Force to Reckon With
Serving as the lead singer of the Doors, Morrison’s incredible voice and poetic lyrics helped define the counterculture music scene of the 1960s.
Because of his father’s military career, Morrison spent his childhood moving around the country frequently. He was born in Florida, but spent his early days in San Diego, then moved to Virginia for third grade, then lived in Texas and New Mexico before starting high school back in California, but heading back to Virginia by the time he finished.
Quite a move!
Like many rock stars, Morrison obtained a few nicknames during his musical career. The most popular one was “The Lizard King,” but there was also “Mr. Mojo Risin” (which came from the song “L.A. Woman” and is an anagram of Morrison’s real name) and “The King of Orgasmic Rock”.
Interestingly, when the Doors were first formed, three of the members- John Densmore, Robby Krieger, and Ray Manzarek bonded over their mutual interest in meditation. Morrison was allegedly the only one who didn’t join in!
The Doors’ arrival on the rock scene in 1967 marked not only the start of a string of hit singles and albums that would become stone classics, but also of something much bigger – a new and deeper relationship between creators and audience. Refusing to be mere entertainers, the band sang about dark subjects while other bands revolved about peace and love.
The band was filled with tasteful talent: Morrison’s magical command as the frontman and the keyboard tapestries of Ray Manzarek, the gritty, expressive guitarist Robby Krieger and the dynamic drummer John Densmore.
From baroque art-rock to jazz-infused pop to gutbucket blues, the band’s instrumental triad could navigate any musical territory with aplomb – and all three contributed mightily as songwriters.
The group was born when Morrison and Manzarek who’d met at UCLA’s film school; met again, unexpectedly, on the beach in Venice, CA, during the summer of 1965.
Their eponymous first album, released in January 1967, kicked off with “Break on Through (to the Other Side)” and also featured the chart smash “Light My Fire”, the scorching “Back Door Man” and the visionary masterpiece “The End”. The Doors arrived fully formed, capable of rocking the pop charts and the avant-garde with one staggering disc. Before ’67 was over, they’d issued the ambitious follow-up Strange Days, with such gems as “Love Me Two Times”, “People Are Strange” and “When the Music’s Over”.
Next came 1968’s Waiting for the Sun, boasting “Hello, I Love You”, “Love Street” and “Five to One”. Over the next few years they minded over new territory on such albums as 1969’s The Soft Parade (featuring “Touch Me” and “Tell All the People”), 1970’s Morrison Hotel (which includes “Roadhouse Blues”, “Peace Frog” and “Queen of the Highway”) and 1971’s L.A. Woman (boasting “Rider’s on the Storm”, “Love Her Madly” and the title track).