Recording Studios: Combining Morrison’s darkly poetic lyrics and outlandish stage presence with the band’s unique and eclectic brand of psychedelic music, the Doors released a flurry of albums and songs over the next several years. In 1967 they released their sophomore album, Strange Days, which featured the Top 40 hits “Love Me Two Times” and “People are Strange” as well as “When the Music’s Over.” Months later, in 1968, they released a third album, Waiting for the Sun, highlighted by “Hello, I Love You” (which also hit No. 1), “Love Street” and “Five to One.” They went on to record three more records over the next three years: The Soft Parade (1969), Morrison Hotel (1970) and L.A. Woman (1971).
Throughout the band’s brief tenure atop the music world, Morrison’s private life and public persona were spiraling rapidly out of control. His alcoholism and drug addictions worsened, leading to violent and profane outbursts at concerts that provoked the ire of cops and club owners across the country.
Recording Studios: Troubled Times and Death
Morrison spent nearly the entirety of his adult life with a woman named Pamela Courson, and although he briefly married a music journalist named Patricia Kennealy in a Celtic pagan ceremony in 1970, he left everything to Courson in his will. (She was deemed his common law wife by the time of his death.) Throughout his relationships to Courson and Kennealy, however, Morrison remained an infamous womanizer.
His drug use, violent temper and infidelity culminated in disaster in New Haven, Connecticut, on the night of December 9, 1967. Morrison was high, drunk and carrying on with a young woman backstage before a show when he was confronted by a police officer and sprayed with mace. He then stormed onstage and delivered a profanity-laced tirade that led to his arrest onstage, which then sparked area riots. Morrison was later arrested in 1970 for allegedly exposing himself at a Florida concert, though the charges were posthumously dropped decades later.
In an attempt to get his life back in order, Morrison took time off from the Recording Studios Doors in the spring of 1971 and moved to Paris with Courson. However, he continued to be plagued by drugs and depression. On July 3, 1971, Courson found Morrison dead in the bathtub of their apartment, apparently of heart failure. Since the French officials found no evidence of foul play, no autopsy was performed, which has in turn led to endless speculation and conspiracy theorizing about his death. In 2007, a Paris club owner named Sam Bernett published a book claiming that Morrison died of a heroin overdose at his nightclub and was later carried back to his apartment and placed in the bathtub to cover up the real reason for his death. Jim Morrison was buried at the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, and his grave has since become one of the city’s top tourist destinations. He was only 27 years old at the time of his death.
Depicted by actor Val Kilmer in the 1991 biopic The Doors, Morrison remains one of the most legendary and mysterious rock stars of all time. His eloquent odes to rebellion, set to the music of the Doors, inspired a generation of disaffected youth who found in his lyrics an articulation of their own range of emotions.