Tag Archives: Jim Morrison

It’s been a hot, sunny day in Paris and I found myself wading through a myriad images of Jim Morrison, stretched and contorted over every imaginable body shape.

There were still the cool rock chicks and the posing guys hoping that mimicking the image would give them the undeniable aura and presence that Jim possessed … but they were not alone. In equal number were the dispossessed middle aged. Crisp, new T-shirts, emblazoned with Doors images, forced over bodies once lithe and young; now fighting gravity and the excesses of beer.

Watching these older ‘pilgrims’ was like watching a host returning to a place of ritual in the hope of rekindling its youth. Shared memories and music; a common bond uniting languages.

Throughout the day, they came in procession along cemetery alleys lined with other pilgrims. Part meeting place, part bizarre catwalk set amidst lines of voyeurs. Admiring glances, updated tweets and laid back tokes contributed to a sense of carnival or picnic where the main guest was expected but unlikely to arrive.

What indeed would Morrison have thought of the pantomime being played out on a stage he’d built? The parade was constant. So many languages, looks and styles. The 21st Century Foxes shimmering in their vintage finery, hoping for the part of Pamela when it’s cast but they were few in number. Even scarcer were the clones of Jim himself. I only saw one who could read for the role but his accent was more Liepzig than L.A.

Amidst the throng he stood out. The face was right for a late 20s Morrison as were the hat and top but not the jeans. Clean, light blue denim against the malevolant black does not a rock star make.

There were family groups. In some cases, each adorned with a Doors T-shirt but they seemed to come and drift off all too quickly. Maybe it was the culture clash of generations but most likely it was just another stop on their sightseeing tour.

The crowd itself was good natured. There was little talk of Morrison or his music but lots on recording the event, for YouTube or Facebook and the mini-documentary they were making. It was like watching the world’s paparazzi finding themselves at a site without any celebrities. their predatory nature turned in on itself to look for anything worthy of the lens being triggered.

Whenever a camera was raised it was followed by dozens more. Had something happened or been seen that needed to be documented? Before long cameras and phones were focused on others taking snapshots of the crowd, there to experience an event.

Earlier in the morning, Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger had visited the grave. One mini-doc maker from Australia, captured the moment. In among the sea of bodies, Ray’s face was seen and then Robbie’s before they turned and were lost from shot. It was akin to a glimpse of the rarest animal or bird for a naturalist – Bigfoot briefly walking out of the woods, only to disappear for another how long?

Light relief came from time to time when a fan would vault the barrier to place a flower or joint on the grave, only to be chased away by cemetery security.

For me the day had a sad overtone. It seemed like the last time this would happen. It felt like watching WWWI survivors at the Cenotaph; their numbers dwindling with time until all that’s left is a memory.

For the old, it was a communal experience. A tribal gathering of allegiance to a belief in what so many had once shared. Old rituals of gathering around a record deck to share the latest sound and message of defiance from their icons are lost to the years.

It was easy to see how much has changed from the headphones that gave the young a solitary experience. Alone in a crowd, experiencing an event as if the only one there. So many seemed disassociated, merely dipping into the day before changing the playlist and going elsewhere. A constantly changing soundtrack depending on mood and venue. The sound cushioning them from the world around them.

Fans of the 60s and 70s had long since left their rebellion hanging in the wardrobe and yet they came in hope of finding a way to reconnect with a past that must seem so far away. They paid their respects and went off to a gathering outside a bar nearby. There was poetry and music and a chance to find a temporary home with like-minded souls.

Raucous sing-alongs peppered the afternoon as they sat and watched, enjoying the experience of not quite joining in. There was little interaction outwith groups of friends who’d made the pilgrimage together and when there was it seemed like an absurd game of top trumps.

For someone who’s spent years sitting in corners watching voyeuristically, it was a fascinating insight into social behaviour but I don’t know what to take from it. On a purely personal note, I found my pony tail lost in a gathering of other men in their fifties all sporting them.

A pichet of red wine drunk, it was time to move on to the Bataclan, where Ray and Robbie were playing. The queue had already formed and the odd scalper was touting tickets at 300 euros a pop but I didn’t fancy sweating it for an evening of communal singing.

I left the crowd and walked round the corner to the stage door, far enough away from the main road to hear the soundcheck or rehearsal start. At first, they verged from shambolic to chaotic but eventually seemed to find their stride. When they did get their act together, they were remarkably tight; working their way through “Texas Radio (and the Big Beat)”, “Hyacinth House”, “Crawling King Snake” and “L’America”. David Brock on vocals was surprising good and took on Morrison mantle well.

Preumably happy with their sound, they stopped and I took it as a cue to leave and take in more of what Paris had to offer.

James Douglas Morrison was a convicted felon who today was pardoned for his crime.

The Florida Clemency Board, chaired by Governor Charlie Crist, unanimously voted to grant a pardon but made it clear that they were neither seeking to re-examine the case, nor question the original verdict. The pardon was an acknowledgement of Morrison being a “son of Florida” whose body of work had stood the test of 40 years and continued to grow in stature. Members of the Board described Morrison as a drunk and a drug user.

Charlie Crist in his summing up, prior to announcing the pardon, made it clear that he was aware that the eyes of the world were watching but hoped it would reflect well on Florida. I think it did. Watching the live video feed, I was touched by the way that real people who had committed crimes were supported and decried by individuals equally vehement that their stance was just and ‘right’.

Most of the people, who stood before the board, spoke from the heart. One man applying for a pardon, really just wanted to be able to hunt again. He was given the right to get a firearms license but his pardon was turned down. Despite that, the governor praised much of his work and urged him to re-apply.

There were tales of restitution being made, of lives being changed; communities gathering round in support and people standing up to be counted. It was real life. In many ways it was during the Morrison consideration that it fell apart. An ex-policeman who had no involvement, but knew and respected the officer who had arrested Jim was there to speak against the pardon. It was a sadly farcical interval in a day that had seen moments of deep contrition but always real dignity from those who had come to make their case.

So, Morrison has been pardoned. Now what? Will it sell more records? I doubt it. Will it change anything? I doubt that too.

It did make me wonder what if Jim were still alive. Would he have sought a pardon for himself? Would he have needed to? Surely Morrison would have been the first choice for any TV company to make a fly-on-the-wall reality series about. Forget “The Osbournes”. Imagine “Life With The Morrisons”. Jim and Pam, their kids and the grandparents!

Ozzy was famously invited to dinners at the White House with George Dubya. Jim would surely have managed golf with the governor and maybe that other old Hell-raiser, Alice Cooper. Or would it have been poetry tours and maybe a chair at some Ivy League university?

All the rock stars who’ve had their own series, Tommy Lee, Brett Michaels, Gene Simmons et al, were just pretenders to the crown of rampant, out of control, king of shock-rock. I will leave you with this parting thought: the fact that Jim’s dead surely can’t stop anyone making the series, can it?

From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Tuesday 16th September):


1944. Betty Kelly (Martha And The Vandellas) born in Detroit, Michigan.

On Tour

1979. Passing through London’s Heathrow Airport enroute for the United States, Elton John reveals what he’s been keeping under his hat until now – a new head of hair! Speaking of the hair transplant, Elton said, “I had the operation done in Paris and I have another two operations to go before it’s completely finished”. He refused to reveal how much the treatment cost but did say, “Looking at it now, I think it was absolutely worthwhile”.

In Court

1970. Robbie Krieger and John Densmore are called to give evidence at Jim Morrison‘s obscenity trial in The Circuit Court for Dade County, Miami, Florida. Judge Murray Goodman, presiding.

In Hospital

1970. Sandie Shaw announces that she’s preganant. The news came after the singer had collapsed in her car on the way to Heathrow Airport where she was due to leave for the Venice Festival. Doctors today revealed the reason for her exhaustion. Sandie’s been married to the fashion designer Jeff Banks for the last two years. The baby, which is due early next year, will be the couple’s first. Sandie’s performance in Venice has been cancelled and she’ll be resting for the next few days.

On Television

1965. Shindig! (ABC, U.S.A.) Opening medley (song excerpts): The McCoys, The Byrds, Jerry Naylor, The Everly Brothers and Chad & Jill; The Everly Brothers; The Byrds; Billy Preston; Jerry Naylor; Ketty Lester; The Byrds; The McCoys; Chad and Jill (Chad Stuart of Chad and Jeremy, and his wife Jill); Chad Stuart; The Rolling Stones; Finale: Everly Brothers. Here’s the first segment of the show which will link to the other two parts to give you the complete programme. 8m 57s.


1977. Marc Bolan dies when the Mini in which he is travelling skids and hits a tree on Barnes Common in London. The car is being driven by Marc’s girlfriend, Gloria Jones, who survives.

And on this day in 1997, the Performing Rights Society erects a marker at the site of Marc’s fatal crash. On hand to assist in the proceedings is his son, Rolan.


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From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Monday 4th August):


1927. Ralph Peer, a producer working for The Victor Talking Machine Company cuts the first “Country” records when he records Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family in a hotel room in Bristol, Tennessee. Rodgers is paid $ 50 a song for the session.

On Tour

1979. Fairport Convention play their last gig as a working band at Cropredy, Oxfordshire. The village will become the site of an annual reunion concert.

In Custody

1970. Jim Morrison is arrested after falling asleep on an old lady’s porch after drinking too much. He is charged with public drunkenness.

In Court

1965. South African singing star Eve Boswell is granted a divorce from her estranged husband Trevor Garfield McIntosh at a Johannesburg divorce court. The 41 year old singer was awarded a restitution order against Mr. McIntosh in June after telling the court that he had left and would not return after 23 years of marriage.

On Television

1965. Shindig! (U.S.A.) 47. Opening medley (song excerpts): Jerry Naylor/Billy Preston/Jackie & Gayle, Bobby Sherman/Righteous Brothers; Nooney Rickett Four; Billy Preston; Marianne Faithfull; Jerry Naylor; Bobby Sherman; The Righteous Brothers; Linda Clark; Jackie and Gayle; The Great Scots; Bobby Sherman; Bobby Hatfield; Dixie Cups; Nooney Rickett Four; Linda Clark with Jackie and Gayle; Billy Preston; Terry Allen; The Great Scots; Dixie Cups; Jerry Naylor; -Marianne Faithfull; The Righteous Brothers; Linda Clark; Finale: Nooney Rickett Four (with the Righteous Brothers, Jackie and Gayle, and other guests). The clip above will link to another 7 which build to give you the whole show. A great slice of mid sixties pop TV.


1992. Ralph Cooper Snr. (Master of Ceremonies at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre) dies in Manhattan, New York, aged 80.


Another week and another blog. The last couple of weeks have seen the blog getting forgotten till late in the day and sometimes missed out altogether. Friends and family assure me it’s a midlife crisis but who knows. I know you all expect me to regale you with tales of my rock and roll lifestyle and excesses but I’ll probably disappoint when I say the highlight of my weekend was a visit on Saturday by the archive Puli’s brother. The archive Puli – Loki, was put to shame when brother Hu turned up sporting the world’s most incredible coat carefully draped around the frame of a small tank. Even his owners thought he was three times the weight of the archive dog.

Anyway, I know I’m sad but I thought I’d share a couple of pics of the visit with you. I’ll also drop in a vaguely rock and roll anecdote: About 7 years ago, I had a very well known rock journalist and his employers visiting as they were considering buying the archive. One of the directors of the company pointed at a single dreadlock hanging on my notice board and asked what it was. He’d been in the house for at least an hour and had met all three of the Pulis that were in the house. Needless to say, I looked him in the eye and honestly told him it was one of Bob Marley’s locks. There were gasps of awe from the assembled throng and I never had the heart to own up to the fact that it was a memento from my first Puli, Emma whose adventures have been on Rockmine since its earliest days. You’ll find them at The Archive Dogs Pages. Here’s a shot of Hu, in all his glory.


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© Copyright 1995 – 2008 Rockmine Archives. Use of this content is prohibited unless licensed by Rockmine Archives.