As the lead singer of the Doors, Jim Morrison ' s searing poetic vision and voracious appetite for sexual, spiritual, and psychedelic experience inflamed the spirit and psyche of a generation. Since his mysterious death in 1971, millions more fans from a new generation have embraced his legacy, as layers of myth have gathered to enshroud the life, career, and true character of the man who was James Douglas Morrison.
In Jim Morrison, critically acclaimed journalist Stephen Davis, author of Hammer of the Gods, unmasks Morrison ' s constructed personas of the Lizard King and Mr. Mojo Risin ' to reveal a man of fierce intelligence whose own destructive tendencies both fueled his creative ambitions and brought about his downfall. Gathered from dozens of original interviews and investigations of Morrison ' s personal journals, Davis has assembled a vivid portrait of a misunderstood genius, tracing the arc of Morrison ' s life from his troubled youth to his international stardom, when his drug and alcohol binges, tumultuous sexual affairs, and fractious personal relationships reached a frenzied peak. For the first time, Davis is able to reconstruct Morrison ' s last days in Paris to solve one of the greatest mysteries in music history in a shocking final chapter.
Compelling and harrowing, intimate and revelatory, Jim Morrison is the definitive biography of the rock idol in snakeskin and leather who defined the 1960s.
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April 23, 2006
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Excerpt from Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend by Stephen Davis
THE LIZARD KING'S SCHOOL DAYS
The devotion of the greatest is to encounter risk and danger, and play dice with death.
Anyone inquiring more than superficially into Jim Morrison's life immediately realizes that the story of his childhood is crucial to understanding what happened to him later. First, he remained very childish his entire life. (Of course, for the rock stars who came to fame and fortune very young, what else was there for them to do?) Second, when Jim joined the Doors and began performing in public, he abruptly severed all contact with his family and never saw his parents again. Third, his early act was a graphic, pull-no-punches rewrite of the ancient Oedipus legend, in which he sang of killing his father and fucking his mother in front of tens of thousands of his fans.
Why did Jim Morrison hate his parents so much? Why did he hate himself? How was he able to create such pure American music out of his own anguish? Why did he end up with a crazy girlfriend who was an even heavier character than himself; who tried in vain to control him; who may have killed him in the end? How could it have happened that this cool, talented guy one of the great artists of his generationýmorphed into a monster, and then immolated himself?
The problem with answering these questions is that Jim Morrison's troubled and problematic post World War II childhood within the sheltered, close-knit world of military families has been one of his story's most closely guarded mysteries. His parents, Admiral George S. Morrison and Clara Clarke Morrison, have never commented publicly on their notorious firstborn son. Jim's brother and sister have been equally reluctant to speak of their brother. Whether fear of scrutiny or a desire for privacy drives this steely reticence, any inquiries to the Morrison family concerning the late rock star and poet Jim Morrison are parried by California attorneys claiming to represent his estate. The Morrison family's wall of silence has immured Jim's childhood, especially his tense and unhappy adolescence, since the day he died.