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Jim Morrison Project: Blog & Tribute Site

The Jim Morrison Project is an audio & visual anthology detailing the life of Jim Morrison through his poetry, film work, artwork, spoken word & music with The Doors.

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40 Years After His Death, Jim Morrison Remembered By Peers

Singer, lyricist, poet, shaman, sex symbol: Jim Morrison was all of these and more during his career with The Doors.

Since Morrison's mysterious death in Paris at age 27 on July 3, 1971, his legend has grown, thanks in part to those who recorded and performed with him sharing memories of their personal and creative moments.

Ray Manzarek

Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek often paints a big-screen picture when discussing his experiences with Morrison. That's only natural considering Manzarek met Morrison while they were students at UCLA's film school.

Light My Fire by Ray ManzarekTheir first performance together is chronicled in great detail early on in Manzarek's book "Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors" (published in 1998). Manzarek, who, as Screaming Ray Daniels, sang with a band called Rick and the Ravens (that featured his two younger brothers), was playing a gig at a place called the Turkey Joint West in Santa Monica, Calif. Morrison and some other UCLA film students were in the crowd, and Manzarek could hear Morrison calling out for "Louie Louie" from the back of the room.

Manzarek and the band obliged, but not before he introduced Morrison as a guest singer.

"He bopped around and sang himself hoarse, what with his whoops and yells and screams and shouts and his untrained vocal cords," Manzarek wrote. "But he loved it… That was the first time Jim Morrison ever sang onstage."

Manzarek's most cinematic Morrison memory is arguably the time they crossed paths in summer 1965—by then both were UCLA grads—on the beach in Venice, Calif. Manzarek was enjoying a day in the sun by himself when, as he wrote in his book, he saw a guy "in semi-silhouette, wearing cutoffs, without a shirt, weighing about 135 pounds. Thin, about six feet tall; rail-thin kind of guy with long hair. There was something strangely familiar about this watery apparition. Was this a manifestation of the ocean itself? Did our mother conjure up this solidity? Or was this a projection of my own Jungian inclinations toward liquidity and wholeness? I looked again, with more intensity, and who should emerge from the light, from behind the sun, into my field of vision, into my field of consciousness, but Jim Morrison!"

Manzarek called out to Morrison, whom he thought had moved to New York. As they exchanged small talk about that and other topics, Morrison borrowed lines and looks from the likes of Paul Newman, James Dean and Steve McQueen.

The conversation—and ultimately their relationship—changed dramatically when Morrison told Manzarek he had been writing some songs. Manzarek then coaxed his shy friend into singing one: "Moonlight Drive." Impressed, Manzarek asked to hear more, and Morrison obliged by singing "My Eyes Have Seen You."

Right then and there, Manzarek suggested to Morrison that they put a band together, predicting they'd "make a million dollars."

"Ray, that's exactly what I had in mind," Morrison replied.

Flash forward to 2011: Manzarek says he, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore had a special way of collaborating with Morrison.

"Jim did not play an instrument," Manzarek says. "So basically, he heard songs in his head and would sing them with his lyrics, then John, Robby and I would create the melody, the arrangement, the chord changes and the rhythm. We would create the music of The Doors around him and nestle and caress and massage his words and bring out all the hidden meaning behind the words."

When it came time to record his vocals, Morrison followed a regular ritual.

"He would have a shot of whiskey," Manzarek says. "You gotta limber up those nodes and vocal cords, you know? You've got to give them a little stimulation. He'd take a deep breath, walk right in and nail it—unless he had a little too much massaging of the nodes and vocal cords. Then he would get it the next day. But most of the time, I'd say 75 percent or 80 percent of the time, he was right there. He was very professional in the studio. This legendary maniac was very, very good in the studio."

Marc Benno

Guest musicians were common on Doors albums, but it wasn't until "L.A. Woman" that the group included a second guitarist: Texas native Marc Benno.

Jim Morrison Marc Benno

In the studio for "L.A. Woman" (left to right): Jim Morrison and Marc Benno — courtesy of Marc Benno.

With his first solo album under his belt, Benno was back home in the Lone Star State when he got a call from Bruce Botnick, the longtime engineer for The Doors who was going to co-produce the "L.A. Woman" album with the band.

David Anderle, who produced Benno's debut album and was a Botnick friend, had recommended the guitarist for the project.

Benno remembers the two-story building in Los Angeles where the album was recorded as a "deep-thinking environment," with Morrison referring to the words he had written in a big book.

"I think someone from England had given it to him," he says. "It was gigantic, like an L.A. phonebook, but it was leather-bound and full of poems, lyrics and drawings. I remember him showing me 'L.A. Woman,' and I thought, 'That right there will be a great blues tune of sorts.'"

Benno played guitar on that song as well as a few others. During the sessions, Morrison "got into it as if he was performing to a live audience. He had a handheld mike, and that's when I realized, 'This guy is getting so into it.' My jaw dropped when he started doing the vocals."

One day, Morrison took Benno to lunch at the Blue Boar, which the guitarist recalls serving "a lot of game and unusual foods—the most normal thing on the menu was turtle soup."

Morrison brought more than a guest to the restaurant.

"He had a bottle of Jack Daniels with him," Benno says. "I said, 'Are you going to walk in [with that]?' And he said, 'They know me; it's OK.' And when he walked in, it was, 'Mr. Morrison!'"

Back at the studio, Morrison took notice whenever Benno played Freddie King guitar licks and Leon Russell-style piano between takes.

"He would just stand there and watch and smile at me," Benno says.

 Chris M. Junior (2011, July 3). 40 years after his death, Jim Morrison remembered by peers. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from www.goldminemag.com
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Guest Saturday, 20 December 2014

I Am The Lizard King - I Can Do Anything

TomDiMensio. (n.d.). The Lizard King [Sticker]. Retrieved from www.redbubble.com

Doors Playlist

Music, poetry, full concerts, rare live footage—all the best YouTube has to offer on my favorite band, The Doors.

 

  • Jim Morrison read poem in backstage
  • Jim Morrison speaking with Pastor Fred L. Stegmeyer Complete New Footage New 2014
  • The Doors - Money Live in Stockholm
  • Rock's Tragic '27 Club' - You Think You Know Classic Rock?
  • The Doors New Footage "Studio Rehearsal" Unseen Video (Wild Child) 1968
  • The Doors Poker (Playing Card Game) @ Bakersfield Hotel Room 1968
  • Jim Morrison "How's that for a shit-eating grin?" Footage @ Saratoga Springs 1968
  • The Doors New Footage "Take 1" from Feast of Friends: Encore
  • The Doors - You make me real
  • The Doors - I will never be untrue
  • The Doors - Shaman's Blues
  • THE DOORS - R-EVOLUTION
  • Jim Morrison's shaman dance
  • The Doors - Jim Morrison
  • Jim Morrison The Doors ~Light My Fire~When You're Strange
  • The Doors Live Footage at "Kongreßhalle" Frankfurt 1968
  • The Doors - Feast Of Friends ~ Trailer HD
  • Feast Of Friends Trailer - Nov. 10th, 2014
  • Stories of my time with Jim Morrison
  • The Doors "Rock Is Dead" Rare The Complete Session! 1969
  • The Doors Live at "PBS Critique" 1969 Full Show
  • Jim Morrison "Tales Of The American Night" (The Lost Paris Tape) Poetry Recording 1969
  • The Doors World Series Of Trivia presented by Mojo Magazine
  • L'Histoire de Jim Morrison (Documentaire français 1991 TVRip)
  • Three Hours For Magic  The Jim Morrison special
  • The Doors - No One Here Gets Out  Alive A Tribute to Jim Morrison
  • The Doors  "Miami - March 1, 1969"
  • The Doors - R-Evolution 2013 (Official DVD Release)
  • The Doors PBS Studio 1969 Full concert
  • THE DOORS | Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman Q&A and Performance
  • The Doors   Live in Denmark MP4
  • The Doors Break On Through at "She-Bang" 1967 New Good Quality
  • The Doors Hello, I Love You at "1-2-3-4 Hot&Sweet" 1968 Color HD
  • The Doors Live at "American Bandstand" 1967 Full HD Footage
  • The Doors Break On Through "Promotional & Publicity Film" 1966 HD New Footage
  • The Doors Break On Through Live at "Isle of Wight Festival" Original Footage Full Lenght
  • Jim Morrison - VH1 Confidential Segment
  • The Doors at '"Murray the K In New York" Full Outtakes 1967
  • The Doors THE END FULL version!! (LIVE in Toronto, CBC television, 14 September 1967)
  • Jim Morrison Backstage at "Bakersfield Civic Center " 1968 Footage
  • The Doors "A Profile of Jim Morrison and The Doors On and Off Stage'" at "PBS Critique'" 1969
  • The Doors- Light My Fire Official Live
  • THE DOORS IN HD - JIM MORRISON - THE END - LIVE IN CONCERT - AMAZING !!!!
  • the doors - love me two times
  • Jim Morrison on Why Fat is Beautiful | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios
  • Before the End: Searching for Jim Morrison [OFFICIAL FILM PREVIEW]
  • Riders on the Storm - The Doors HD
  • The Doors, Mr. Mojo Risin The Story Of LA Woman
  • Jim Morrison: His Final Hours - "Final 24"
  • The Doors Aura Studio Demos (1965) [Early recordings of the Doors]
  • THE doors - Live at the Bowl `68
  • Doorstown: Jim Morrison and The Doors Documentary
  • The Doors Live in europe — full show 1968
  • Jim Morrison on the Future of Music (Electronic Music)
  • The Doors Live 1968
  • The Doors Are Open (Full Movie)
  • Feast Of Friends - The Doors Documentary
  • The Doors   Soundstage Performances 1969
  • The Doors   Live in Copenhagen 1968
  • The Doors: Mr. Mojo Risin - The Story of LA Woman extras
  • Harrison Ford touring with The Doors (1968)
  • The Doors - Bakersfield 1970 (Synced footage)
  • Jim Morrison  rare  Home movie "Dancing"
  • The Doors When the Music's Over Live at Matrix "San Francisco" 1967
  • Turn out the Lights - Jim Morrison's last night on stage
  • Jim Morrison feat. Massive Attack Vision and Fragments from The Lost Paris Tapes/Teardrope
  • The Doors | People Are Strange (Official Video)
  • The Doors Break on Through Live at "Boston" 1970
  • Members of The Doors Discuss The Genesis of "Mr. Mojo Risin'"
  • Patricia Kennealy-Morrison on Jim Morrison
  • Jim Morrison & Women
  • 40 Second Wonder ;)
  • Full hour with Ray Manzarek of The Doors on Joe Viglione's Visual Radio, also John Densmore
  • The Doors - Roadhouse Blues, BEST version (live in N.Y. 1970) [music video]
  • The Doors - rare - backstage before a concert
  • Jim Morrison - HWY (full)
  • The Doors - L.A. Woman - HQ (official music video)
  • Jim Morrison: Florida State University (full length) - 1963/1964
  • The Doors - Wishful Sinful
  • The Doors Build Me a Woman Live at Aquarius Theater "Private Rehearsal" 1969
  • The Doors Morrison Hotel Silent 8mm Film Footage 1969 The Changeling 12 11 70
  • The Doors Five to one / Spanish Caravan Live at "Philadelphia Arena" 1968
  • The Doors Five to One Live at Cleveland Public Auditorium August 3 1968
  • The Doors Back Door Man Live at Matrix "San Francisco" 1967
  • A Night With Jim Morrison at The Alta Cienega Motel
  • The Doors - Riders On The Storm (ORIGINAL!) - driving with Jim
  • The Doors - GLORIA - dirty version (music video, fantasy cut)
  • The Doors, Spanish Caravan Live, Madison Square Garden, New York Jan 24, 1969
  • Dawn's Highway Trailer Small.mov
  • The Doors - Ships With Sails (HQ Audio)
  • Jim Morrison
  • THE DOORS ROBBY KRIEGER TALKS JIM MORRISON PARDON
  • THE DOORS - Rare promo video of Light my fire
  • Rare Live Footage of The Doors and Jim Morrison
  • Rare Doors Footage; Those were the Days
  • The Doors - Let It Slide
  • The Doors - When The Music's Over
  • The Doors - I Can't See Your Face In My Mind
  • DOORS Lead-Singer Jim Morisson Visits French Movie Set DAYS Before His Death
  • The Doors- Five to One

"Horse Latitudes" I wrote when I was in high school. I kept a lot of notebooks through high school and college, and the when I left school, for some dumb reason—maybe it was wise—I threw them all away. There's nothing I'd rather have in my possession than those two or three lost notebooks. I was thinking of being hypnotized or taking sodium pentothal to try and remember, because I wrote in those books night after night. But maybe if I'd never thrown them away, I'd never have written anything original, because they were mainly accumulations of things that I'd read or heard, like quotes from books. I think if I would have never gotten rid of them I would have never been free.

—Jim Morrison

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