The End written by Jim Morrison and recorded by The Doors.
We wound up our annual National Poetry Month on the blog earlier today and that got me thinking about the end, whatever the hell that is. And that led inevitably to The Doors 1967 song The End which was written and sung by a guy who always considered himself a poet first—Jim Morrison.
Morrison initially wrote the lyrics about his break up with his girlfriend Mary Werbelow, a fairly routine sad rock song, but it evolved through months of performances at Los Angeles’s Whisky a Go Go into a much longer song with apocalyptic over tones. The Doors recorded a nearly 12-minute version for their self-titled debut album, which was released on January 4, 1967 and soon became a dorm room must have.
Morrison was the son of Admiral George Stephen Morrison who had commanded U.S. Naval forces during the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 which led to active American intervention in the Vietnam War. He graduated from the UCLA film school within the Theater Arts Department of the College of Fine Arts in 1965. As an undergraduate he wrote poetry, brooded, and drank heavily.
The Doors and their charismatic songwriter and front man Jim Morrison,
After graduation he lived a very intentionally bohemian lifestyle in Venice Beach working on the poems that would become the lyrics of his break-out. He almost accidently fell in with musicians keyboard/organist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore and began gigging around Los Angeles while dabbling together in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s meditation practices.
Morrison was only 24 years old when The Doors burst on the scene on the strength of The End and other songs off the first album including Break On Through (To the Other Side) and Light My Fire. In no time at all he became a cultural icon as a brooding, romantic, Byronic figure with striking good looks and undeniably charismatic.
Wasted, over weight, and bearded Morrison was arrested in Miami in 1970 on obscenity and other charges and sentenced to six month in jail. He was out on bail when he died in Paris a few months later.
The Doors released 6 more studio albums with Morison through L.A. Woman in 1971 and toured extensively. Morrison continued to drink heavily and used a variety of drugs. A series of bazar stage incidents including allegedly exposing himself led to police harassment and then to an arrest on obscenity and inciting a riot charges in Miami in 1970 that led to his conviction and a six month jail sentence. While out on bail the band could only get a few bookings. Their last show was on December 12, 1970, at The Warehouse in New Orleans. The End was the final song they performed together.
Morrison finally reached an agreement to end his relationship with The Doors and moved to Paris to pursue a literary career. He died on July 3, 1971, at age 27found by his girlfriend Pamela Courson in a bathtub at his apartment. The official cause of death was listed as heart failure,] although no autopsy was performed. Speculation was rife that his death was linked to a heroin overdose.
Amy Winehouse and Kurt Corbain, more recent icons who died of overdoses have been associated with Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, and Janis Joplin in the Dead-at-27-club.
He was linked to the deaths under similar circumstance with Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin — all of whom died at the age of 27. That’s the stuff of legends. Morrison’s Paris grave is still a point of pilgrimage after all these years.
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