March 30, 2009 11:38pm CST
The public's image of our heroes is sometimes shaped by press interviews or biographers who have a brief acquaintance with the subject. In the myth making process, the subject's family is often overlooked. Yet, it is they who often knew him (or her) best. I would like to share with youall some interesting things I learned about Jim Morrison here lately that I didn't know when I was a teen-ager when I had such a crush on him. This is from a memoir which his former brother-in-law, Alan Graham, is working on called "All In The Family: A brother-in-law Remembers Jim". Now this part I did know. Jim Morrison was born in 1943, in Florida, the son of Clara and Steve Morrison. His father was a navy pilot who later became an admiral. Jim had a younger brother, Andy, and a sister, Anne (or Anna as she liked to be called) who later became a California schoolteacher. Alan Graham grew up in Liverpool, England, where he worked at a variety of jobs, including a stint in a tailor shop, right around the corner from the Cavern where the beatles and the zombies got their start. Alan met and married Anna in England in 1967 and moved with her to California where his new brother-in-law was just eginning to capture the imagination of a generation as the lead singer of the Doors. Alan and Anna were later divorced in 1986. Alan now lives in the San Diego area. This is the part that I found so interesting. There seems to be this myth, and I had always heard it, too, that Jim never sang until he ran into Ray Manzarek one day at Venice beach after leaving UCLA film school. However, his brother-in-law, Alan, says that he (Jim) grew up around the family piano with a father who sang with a rich Southern voice. The whole family sang together all the classics and popular music of the time. Andy, Jim, and the Admiral could harmonize like professionals. Jim sang around the piano until about junior college and perhaps a few occasions after. He sang "Heart Of My Heart", "Let Me Call You Sweetheart", as well as the Sunday school hymn, "Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam". I knew that talent had to come from somewhere. I also knew that he had had some piano lessons. I don't know how old he was when he started but he quit when he was 12. A lot has been written about Jim's fascination with blues artists such as Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. However, he also dug Elvis, especially when he made his comeback and sang unplugged on television. He talked about Elvis's body of work and how cool it was to see him perform in black leather with just a few other musicians. He also liked Frank Sinatra. Would you believe that he even liked classical music? Alan says he loved all the greats, with the exception of Handel's "Water Musick". "Drives me insane," he used to say. Stravinsky was his favorite composer. Jim once gave Alan an album of Stravinsky. On the cover was a bunch of black and yellow creatures floating in a starry sky---sort of like an acid trip. After Miami, Jim's friends disappeeared like ice on a hot griddle. Immediately after jim's arrest, the Admiral offered to resign his commission for fear that his son's actions would reflect on him and, in turn, on his beloved institution, the Navy. In the long tradition of offiers who felt they had disgracd the military, he offered to fall on his sword. His superiors wouldn't hear of it. This is just a little bit from the memoir. It's from an interview with Alan Graham by American Legends. The background material for this interview was found in: Frank Lisciandro, Jim Morrison: An Hour for Magic, London, Plexus Publishing, 1993,ed; John Rocco, The Doors Companion, New York, Schirmer Books, 1997, for the benefit of you Jim Morrison fans who would like to read the full interview. You can order insightful biographies of American Legends at the American Legends bookstore (James Dean, Montgomery Cliff, Jim Morrison, Jack Webb, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, to name a few). the address is: American Legends, 249 N. Brand Blvd. Suite 406 Glendale, California, 91203. Or, you can go to http://www.americanlegends.om/morrison/allinthefamily.html.
• United States
30 Jul 09
I didn't know he liked classical music, either, until I read this. In fact, I learned a lot of things I didn't know about him. I still listen to his music a lot. There is a lot of good stuff on The Doors on youtube. Have you listened to them? Kathy.
• United States
31 Mar 09
thank you for info I belive I will keep jim right here in my heart he was cool and loved alot of thing's hope people who don't remember him to go were you said and buy that video our just go to BIO.com and see his real story 2..