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50th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death

July 3, 2021

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Jim Morrison’s death. Jim’s charisma, artistic talent and controversial rock’n’roll lifestyle propelled him to icon status that continues to this day. Every year on the anniversary of his death fans gather at Jim’s grave in Père Lachaise to commemorate his life and legacy.

Fifty years gone, this year promises to be a massive event.

Jim Morrison’s death

Born on December 8, 1943, Jim Morrison died in Paris on July 3, 1971 at the age of 27. Jim was buried in Division 6 in Père Lachaise cemetery on July 7. In attendance at the burial were Jim’s girlfriend Pamela Courson, Doors manager Bill Siddons, Jim’s friends, Agnès Varda and Alain Ronay, and Jim’s secretary, Robin Wertle.

The coroner’s report indicates the cause of death as a “heart attack (natural death)”, “arrêt cardiaque (mort naturelle)”. No autopsy was performed, therefore fueling speculation about how Jim really died to this day.

Commemorative events, what to expect

Even though it’s early for organizing, especially due to uncertainty regarding the pandemic, I’ve already seen a Facebook event. We might even see the release of a previously unpublished “annotated volume of letters, poems and songs-in-progress”.

The main event of course will be visiting Jim’s grave in Père Lachaise. There will undoubtedly be more events such as tribute concerts, movie and documentary screenings, record and book re-editions.

Share an event

If you know of, or want to promote an event, feel free to post details in the comments.

Taking a look back

While waiting to see what events will take place this year, let’s take a look back at previous decades.

  • 10th anniversary, 1981

    Croatian sculptor Mladen Mikulin placed a headstone and bust on Jim’s grave. The bust was stolen in 1988. The headstone was ultimately destroyed and replaced in December 1990 by the one you see today.

    “As one of his admirers, during the late seventies the young Croatian sculptor Mladen Mikulin came up with the idea of making Jim’s stone bust and placing it on Morrison’s final resting place, in an attempt to dignify his grave, which was at that time neglected, undignified and hidden in the Paris cemetery of Pére-Lachaise. In this way, he would also pay a personal homage to the American poet and musician as the torchbearer of artistic freedom. Thanks to his sculptural gift, in the spring of 1981 Mikulin completed an extraordinary portrait sculpture, which was then – overcoming international administrative problems – successfully placed on the fore-mentioned grave together with the base stone on which Jim’s name was carved along with his year of birth and death. This was on the 4th June 1981, just a month before the 10th anniversary of Morrison’s passing away in Paris.”

    from A Paris Tomb, Mladen Mikulin, The Portraitist of Jim Morrison
  • 20th anniversary, 1991

    The situation got out of hand and riots broke out.

    Source Eugene Register-Guard – July 5, 1991
  • 30th anniversary, 2001

    On the 30th anniversary, Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek and Danny Sugarman paid tribute to Jim at Père Lachaise cemetery.

  • 40th anniversary, 2011

    On the 40th anniversary, Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek and Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger paid tribute to Jim at Père Lachaise cemetery.

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The complete guide to rock bars in Paris

Updated November 10, 2020

Where to have a drink and listen to rock music in Paris

A lot of people ask me about where to have a drink and listen to rock music in Paris. So I thought it would be useful to publish the list that I’ve compiled from various sources. I get asked a lot if there any Doors’ bars in Paris. Short answer, no. Long answer, there used to be.

I haven’t been to all of the bars yet (working on it), but my personal favs so far are the Truskel, Dr. Feelgood and the Black Dog (metal).

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The ultimate American music roots road trip

Travel to the birthplace of the blues, soul, rock’n’roll, jazz, house and rhythm and blues

As an American expat living in France, people love to talk to me about traveling to the States which is really cool. In my experience, the majority of people want to see—or have been to—New York, Miami, the Southwest, California or Route 66.

Inexplicably, the Midwest and the South get overlooked. I’ll give you that I’m biased because I’m from Chicago and have family scattered throughout the Midwest and the South. But no matter. If you’re a music lover, this road trip is a must.

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Jim Morrison to have public square in Paris named in his honor

It’s official: the Council of Paris recently voted unanimously on Resolution 68 to name a public square after Jim Morrison. The daily French newspaper, Le Figaro, reports that the family’s approval is still required and the exact location is to be determined.

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Doors artifacts at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (RRHF) opened its doors on September 2, 1995 on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio (about a 5½ hour drive from Chicago).

I was recently on vacation in Ohio and visited the RRHF for the second time. I was thrilled this time around because you can take pictures now. The RRHF changed its photography policy since my first visit thanks to social media.

Continue reading “Doors artifacts at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”