Today, December 8th,2015, marks what would have been, Jim Morrison’s 72nd birthday. I saw this passing by my news feed, as well as, it also being the death anniversary of The Beatles frontman, John Lennon, 35 years ago. A day of reminiscing for The Doors and The Beatles fans.
I have always been a fan of The Doors and thought the lead singer, who was sometimes referred to by other monikers, the most common one, being “The Lizard King”, was so cool growing up. I distinctly remember my mom (when she was in her, much younger and wilder years-also a hippie) singing her heart out, into a hair brush, “Come on baby light my fire!” with The Doors hit, blasting in the background, drowning her voice out. She may kill me for sharing that, but it was such fond memories.
I’ll put this right here. Just in case you want to sing along with Jim too. You know you want to!
We grew up with lots of great music always on in the background. Besides The Doors, we listened to The Beatles, The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, and so many others, that I can’t think of right now, mostly, thanks to my step-dad. Maybe this influence was why my brother ended up going to Belmont University to study music production and is a musician, playing the guitar and singing covers from some of these oldie-but-goodies, at gigs, in our local area today? But, I digress.
When this anniversary comes up, I sometimes wonder about how weird it would be if he was still alive today.
Would he have been totally different now?
How would his music have change though the years?
Would he have aged gracefully?
Would he have become a father or grandfather and if so, would they have his gift?
None of these questions can ever be answered because, like many other music legends, he was cursed with the dark side of the industry, and died far too young, of a drug overdose.
The media coined a phrase for these talented artists, calling them the “27 club”. A term used, referring to famous musicians who died at the age of 27 from alcohol or drug addiction. The club members include: Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Janis Joplin, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (The Grateful Dead), Amy Winehouse, and Kurt Cobain (Nirvana).
This was such an eerie fact, even if it was just a coincidence. And losing these amazing lyrical poets, and music makers, before their time was such a shame.
I hope that this “27 club” is no longer taking membership applications.
This day reminds me of my visit to Paris, France, last August (2014). The reason: because I made it a point to go visit Jim Morrison’s grave, which is on the Eastern side of the city at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
This cool and cloudy, on again-off again rainy August day, that I went to the cemetery, made me feel as though I may be a bit of a morbid person. My husband as well. Our day consisted of first visiting the Catacombs, then going to the grave of the “Lizard King”. We were both wicked [Boston slang-sorry] excited to do both and thought, “Are we the only one’s who go visit the dead on vacation? What is wrong with us?” We quickly learned that this was not the case. Both places were packed with other tourists, wanting to do the same exact thing. Phew! We aren’t weirdos!
We took a subway ride from the Catacombs stop to the stop closest to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery (http://www.pere-lachaise.com/perelachaise.php?lang=en) We arrived late in the afternoon and at the front gate, were greeted by a guard. He told us we only had twenty minutes because they will be closing. “Shit!” We agreed and promptly said who we were there to see, asking him directions. The place was huge! Before even getting the sentence out, he knowingly started pointing in the direction of James Douglas Morrison’s stone. I smiled and said, “I’m sure you get this all the time?” He answered in English, but with a French accent, “I get asked this every day!”
We walked in the direction he told us, but we had trouble finding it at first. Along the way, we enjoyed the remarkable and beautiful gravestones of the other residents, and noted the intricate detail in some of the tombs that filled this historical site. We finally asked another visitor if he might know where it was and he was kind enough to show us. As we walked up the narrow lane towards it, we started seeing many more tourists/visitors grouped together at one particular stone. “That has to be the one!“, I screamed! It was.
Jim Morrison’s grave was sort of tucked in behind other graves, and was surprisingly small to me. It was blanketed with candles, flowers, trinkets, framed photos of him, notes and even empty alcohol bottles on the grass near it. For some reason, I envisioned it to be very big, with loads of character and with a sculpted image of his head on top. I have no idea why I thought that? I’m nuts! I probably just dreamt that.
Either way, I was happy to have gotten a chance to see it first hand, just for the bragging rights alone. Also, it was a different side of Paris and had some history involved. See, it was for educational purposes. I’m not just a rock band groupie! Well, maybe a little.