2nd FOREVER MY WORSHIP
The search for a musician’s everlasting idol!
Following the well-received first of this series, today, we have Der Zibet’s ISSAY penning his thoughts about Jim Morrison, the vocalist of The Doors who dominated the late 60s and early 70s with their intense stage presence and visionary sound.
One night, when I was still in high school, a strange melody from an organ that I heard on the radio echoed in my ears. After the intro, my nerves were wrung by a voice that sounded wide awake on the surface and, at the same time, as if it was smouldering underwater.
That moment did me in.
Come on, baby, light my fire ／ Come on, baby, light my fire ／ Try to set the night on fire
(Light My Fire)
This was my first encounter with The Doors.
As I recall at the time, their song The End was also the theme song of the movie Apocalypse Now, so it was a period when [my interest in] The Doors got rekindled for the umpteenth time. At the same time, I believe their songs were being played on the radio too.
Anyway, a few days later, I ran to the record store and bought the one and only copy of a compilation album, The Doors’ Greatest Hits.
This album which starts with the song Hello, I Love You, which Der Zibet also covered before, was perfectly made for newbies. At first glance, it looks like a pop album, but their characteristic acrimony was more than enough to intoxicate a tender high schooler. Having fallen for a deep dark world where a raspy voice like that of a teenager whose voice just broke floats in the repetitive flair of the keyboard, I decided that I would collect their original albums, but for all it was worth, I lived in a rural town by the sea where even the record stores didn’t bring in The Doors or anything like them. In the end, I could only keep borrowing whatever I could from friends and seniors at school. It feels like it was only quite recently that I really managed to collect their albums.
Now, here’s a simple list of their discography for those who aren’t too familiar with The Doors.
January 1967 “THE DOORS”
October 1967 “STRANGE DAYS”
July 1968 “WAITING FOR THE SUN”
July 1969 “SOFT PARADE”
February 1970 “MORRISON HOTEL”
July 1970 “ABSOLUTELY LIVE”
April 1971 “L.A. WOMAN”
Looking at it now, written like this, it really hit me that this was all in the span of a mere 5 years. They’re a band who within the mere 5 years of the late 60s, made 7 albums and came to an end right after the sudden death of their vocalist Jim Morrison. They’ve actually released a few other albums after that, but I do not acknowledge The Doors without Jim Morrison. Because to me, Jim Morrison is The Doors.
The man who claims that the spirit of a Native Indian who died in a car accident he witnessed as a child jumped into his soul. The man who got so drunk and drugged that he stood on the road and suddenly screamed, “I am the lizard king! I can do anything!” The man who sang, “Father, I want to kill you. Mother, I want to fuck you!” and got fired from a live music club. The man who emptied fire extinguishers inside a studio because he thought a fire might start if things got too heated among the band during recording. So on and so forth. Now, stories about Jim Morrison have even spawned numerous books in Japan, and even a movie. In a way, he’s one of the legendary rock musicians.
The Jim Morrison you’d see in concert on video is one whose eyes are wide open, clinging to the mic stand as he talks along with the music, as if singing (This is the aptest way to describe that man’s song). Then, in an instant, he twists and turns with a desperate shout, tensing up as he brings that tension to a peak.
In one interview, drummer John Densmore said, “On stage we (the members of The Doors) could get into a rhythm with Jim and let him do what he wanted, but we couldn’t get into a rhythm with his personal life.” But I suppose that’s the kind of person he had always been, Jim Morrison.
Standing between dream and reality, between real life and fantasy. While he had been traversing back and forth between the two, he had been sinking deeper into the depths of himself. That is why he could sing such amazing songs. That is why his shouts were always directed inwards.
In the mid to late 60s. When the world was experiencing the height of the hippie movement. It was a time when anyone and everyone was dreaming of going to San Francisco. In the midst of it all, in Los Angeles, The Doors’ existence was like an overpowering shadow to the sun-kissed hippies (flower children).
At a time when everyone believed in being thoughtless and carefree and lauded doing things hand in hand as if they were under a spell, The Doors peered at their (own) inner selves.
Break on through to the other side ／ Break on through to the other side, yeah
(Break On Through)
This is the powerful refrain of the very first song of their 1st album. Everything that The Doors are began here, and in the end, it feels as if it ended here too.
The image I harbour of The Doors is that of an eternal summer. The sounds and smells of flora and fauna in the early morning filled with the inexplicable exhilaration of youth and, the fleeting moment of eternity pierced by blinding white light.
And in a little less than 5 years, The Doors had gone on into that eternity.
Scans: Morgianasama on LiveJournal