Jim Morrison is Dead and Living in Hollywood

by Eve Babitz
Photograph by Richard Avedon
Photograph by Richard Avedon

J.D. Souther once told me he spent his first years in L.A. learning how to stand. Jim knew how to stand from the start. He stood pigeontoed, filled with poetry against a mike with that honky-tonk Berlin organ in the background, and sang about “another kiss.”

And there is something to be said for singing in tune. Jim not only sang in tune, he sang intimately—as Doors producer Paul Rothchild once pointed out to me, “Jim was the greatest crooner since Bing Crosby.”

He was Bing Crosby from hell.

In those days, in the ’60s, people in L.A. with romantic streaks who knew music went for the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Paul Butterfield—and for clubs like the Troubadour and the Trip and the Ash Grove. The Whiskey, where the Doors flourished, was the kind of place where the headliner would be Johnny Rivers, a white boy who covered Chuck Berry’s “Memphis.” By the ’60s, white boys weren’t supposed to cover soul anymore, but at the Whiskey it was still groovy. The Carpenters played the Whiskey.


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