“People are strange, when you’re a stranger, faces look ugly, when you’re alone”.
Sung by Jim Morrison, the heart and soul of the band The Doors. These lines resonate every time I travel to an unknown place. He created a new sound in the world of rock in the late 60’s and left many yearning for more as Jim died at the age of 27 in mysterious circumstances.
Today, December 8th, is his birthday and what better day than this to type some thoughts on this poet, avid reader, song writer and singer (yes, in that order!)
Jim Morrison, who was also called the Lizard King (thanks to his poem titled ‘Celebration of the Lizard’), is still an intriguing story for fans across the world. His story is not that of your rags- to-riches kind of story. It’s that of kind repressed soul who searched for meaning to his life while living it on his own terms, only to (reportedly) walk out on it. His death, like his life and songs, was full of questions with no concrete answers and still remains an anomaly. To this day his grave in the Pére-Lachaise cemetery in Paris is one of the most visited sites in the city.
I have followed his music for over 2 decades. ‘Roadhouse Blues’ was the very first song I heard, thanks to my dear friend MK, who was instrumental in getting me to ‘The Doors’. As it was my passion then, I went on to listen to all the albums of this upstart band. ‘The End’ is and will always be one of the most interesting songs of our lifetime. With its references to Oedipus Rex, the lyrics shocked me when I first heard this song. But then that’s the hallmark of Jim Morrison. Shock and Awe!
One of my other favorite Doors song is ‘Riders on the storm’. There are tons of interpretations of what Jim meant to communicate in this song and I will keep mine to myself, but the lines which I love the most are, “Girl, you gotta love your man, take him by the hand and make him understand. The World on you depends, our life will never end. Gotta love your man, yeah!”
Jim Morrison is an antithesis of me. In fact, there have been times when I so hate Jim for wasting God’s gift of poetry and music and letting drugs and alcohol ruin him.
I just finished re-reading his biography, Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend by Stephen Davis. This time I understood Jim a little more. Read between the lines and contemplated the words and I saw a very different Jim underneath all the show: someone who was very intelligent, may be too much for his own good. He expressed his anger, frustrations and thoughts in his poems, songs, singing and of course unacceptable social behavior.
Jim Morrison is someone who I really cannot be, but somewhere something within does resonate with him. Every other day the voice inside my head croons these lines from the ‘The End’ in a Jim-like voice…
This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end of our elaborate plans
The end of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes again
Can you picture what will be?
So limitless and free
Desperately in need of some stranger’s hand
In a desperate land…
…This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die
This is the end
What Wiki says about him
The end – A song he wrote when he was only 21 years old!