Jim Morrison: An Alternate History

Aged Jim Morrison (Sachs Media Group/Rock and Roll Heaven Project)
Aged Jim Morrison (Sachs Media Group/Rock and Roll Heaven Project)

Jim Morrison’s biography is well known having been told in biographies and as part of The Doors hagiography. One of the most frequently asked questions among Doors fans and even the general public at large, is what would Jim Morrison be doing if he were alive today? Doors fans argue that he would have come back to The Doors, others that he would have become an actor or a writer. Robby Krieger once offered a vision of Jim Morrison as an Elvis like entertainer in Las Vegas. I think we can create an alternative history of Jim Morrison had he lived based on plans Morrison himself suggested and extrapolations from his interests.

July 3, 1971, 4am, Paris, France. Jim Morrison wakes up after falling asleep in the bathtub after a night of drinking. The water is freezing cold, Morrison wraps himself in a warm robe and goes back to bed. He feels the beginnings of a hangover, but he knows he can sleep most of it off. As he gets into bed he’s careful not to wake Pam.

August 1971. Jim starts feeling revitalized. The time away from L.A. and the time to do nothing except be has started making him feel relaxed and he is able to finally decompress and find himself again. He comes to the conclusion that although he’s feeling better he can’t recreate the creative burst he felt on Venice Beach six years earlier. Morrison calls John Haeny, the Elektra engineer who helped produce the poetry recorded on his 27th birthday in L.A. and for which Morrison has a contract with Elektra. Haeny arrives in Paris to find Morrison committed to the project and bursting with ideas for music. They rent studio time in Paris and cut an album in a couple of weeks during very relaxed recording sessions. Morrison adopts the same discipline he had when he and Michael McClure were working on the screenplay of The Adept, no drinking until recording for the day was finished. Morrison realizes his extended poem An American Prayer is the centerpiece of the album and names the album after the poem.

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