The last night of Jim Morrison

46 years ago one of the greatest rockstar of ‘900 left us after a strange vacation in Paris and a more mysterious death cause. Let’s celebrate Lizard King again.

It is dawn, July 3, 1971 in the elegant apartment on Rue de Beautreillis in the Parisian Marais. Pamela Courson (the girlfriend of Jim Morrison, the famous frontman of The Doors) realizes he is not in bed. Worried she gets up: during the night Jim hadn’t felt very well, he had spit up blood and a terrible cough kept him up all night. Pamela has a bad feeling about all this: she quickly crosses the hall and stops in front of the bathroom door which is locked from the inside. Jim is quiet, isn’t moving and is laying in a bath filled with hot water. His face is perfectly shaved, his hair clean and he is smiling, an innocent and mocking smile.

Lippo, Lippo Tattoo, Frosinone, Italy
Lippo, Lippo Tattoo, Frosinone, Italy

Morrison (born on December 8, 1943, in Melbourne, Florida) is static. Courson goes mad, immediately calls Alain Ronay, a dear friend and together they decide to break down the door. The scene is clear: Jim had been dead for hours. They decide to contact Jean de Breteuil who, understanding the seriousness of the situation (Jean is a famous drug dealer of the international jet-set), decides to leave immediately for Morocco along with his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. Once alone, Pam and Alain finally call the police who after a quick investigation, give the case to the coroner. After verifying that there were no overdose holes on his arms, he draws up his report writing that Jim died from a “heart attack”.

This is how on a hot summer morning the troubled existence of James Douglas Morrison comes to end after he moved to France – apparently to say good-bye to music forever. John Densmore, the drummer of Doors, has a different opinion: «Jim’s stay in Paris was just a vacation. He was very happy about the success of our album ‘L.A. Woman’. He had other ideas in mind and wanted to start singing blues as soon as possible». It won’t ever happen.

Yet, despite the optimism of the drummer, Jim was tired of his role as rock star. The first two great albums of the Doors (‘The Doors’ and ‘Strange Days’) allowed him to bring theater (listen to the masterpiece ‘The End’) into the flower-power hippy movement. But already with ‘Waiting For The Sun’ and ‘The Soft Parade’ everything had become boring and too dependent on the rules of the business.

Hence the idea to change the Doors into a beating “bar-band” specialized in the blues sounds of pieces such as ‘Morrison Hotel’ and ‘L.A. Woman’. It is 1971 when Jim breaks away from his colleagues Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore and flies to Paris in the most embarrassing silence. He gets there at the beginning of April and merely starts wandering through the city, bistros and used books stores, to capture the inspirational creativity of his masters Balzac, Baudelaire and Rimbaud.

Inevitably Jimbo starts drinking again and going to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus, the most toxic club in the city. And this is where one of the greatest mysteries of the night between July 2 and 3 takes place: a DJ of the Circus club, interrupts the music at six in the morning asking for a moment of silence for the death of the “legendary Jim Morrison”. How could he have known? Where did Jim spend his last waking hours after watching a movie with Robert Mitchum? We will never know: on July 7 his body is buried quickly (in a very short casket compared to his size…) in the cemetery of Pére Lachaise. For the past 46 years his tomb has been visited by thousands of fans. But there is one doubt: what if that wasn’t the last “door” Jim crossed?

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