Thursday, November 20, 2014


Looking for a different angle on Morrison/Doors material is always quite difficult, but when playing around with certain phrases from Morrison's lyrics, especially his phrase "Soft Asylum" from the title track of the album The Soft Parade, one sometimes finds a gem.

The phrase does not sound unlike the flower commonly known as "Sweet Alyssum" (could it possibly be a play on words?), which according to Pam Pierce's 'Widely Successful plants for Northern California' - thrives in that particular area: 

Looking at the website (, Alyssum has magical attributes such as a scent which promotes spiritual and emotional wellbeing, and can calm down an angry or "mad" person (Alyssum (also pronounced Alison) means "without madness" ). 

Although the picture below of Morrison by Lisciandro may not depict him wearing a crown of Alyssum (a flower often associated with the Virgin Mary

and reminding one of Ophelia's donning of a crown of flowers in Hamlet when madness grips her) as there are other coloured flowers among the arrangement, it seems quite coincidental that there are quite a few depictions of statue busts wearing a cluster or "crown" of Alyssum across the internet.

I'm a resident of the city/They've just picked me to play/The Prince of Denmark

Poor Ophelia


Leaves, sodden

in silk



Mad stifled


My feathered son flew

too near the sun

Of course in the context of the word Asylum, we should be looking at meanings such as refuge, a place which is "without right of seizure". where we  can think of Morrison seeking political asylum in the aftermath of the Miami incident. After Miami, we could also think of Morrison's travelling to Paris in 1970-1971, as a sort of protection under French (extradition) law, after leaving his home country as a political/cultural refugee of sorts.

If indeed "Soft Asylum" is a play on "Sweet Alyssum", it would not be the only flower reference in The Doors canon. For instance the original demo for Hyacinth House, as memory serves, is from 1968 (recorded in Krieger's home of the time, which happened to have Hyacinths growing there). It has been suggested by Jerry Hopkins/Danny Sugarman et al that the title is a reference to the cult of Hyacinthus, a Spartan Hero, lover to the God Apollo (cue a gay subtext!) who having been hit by a discus thrown by Apollo, and perhaps thrown off course by the jealous west wind Zephyrus, has a flower grown from his spilled blood by Apollo called the Hyacinth.

In terms of other Greek mythology, a somewhat oblique reference to the Greek hero Ajax, in the phrase "Stronger than dirt" a slogan used by the company Ajax is used/sung at the end of the track "Touch Me" - another track from The Soft Parade. Interestingly, like the myth of Hyacinthus, Sophocles' depicts Ajax's death in his play Ajax as involving the growth of a flower from his spilled blood.

Monday, November 10, 2014

AN AMERICAN DREAM by Norman Mailer

An Anonymous Amazon review of Mailer's book which is interesting if only for Doors/Morrison admirers...
  • A Thriller to the Finish

    I first picked up this book after reading a Jim Morrison biography in which he declared An American Dream & Norman Mailer a major influence. It shows throughout this book. From the first chapter you actually feel yourself & your mind going 110 m.p.h. The book does a wonderful balancing act (if it can be called that) between the linear story & the insane (or not so) things going on in our main character's head. I personally felt a close bond with this book because of recurring dreams i have of being 'sweated down' by the cops at a station somewhere. I honestly couldn't put it down. There's also great underlying telepathy/deja vu themes throughout, & you'll find yourself flipping to earlier chapters to check it out. Possibly my most favorite thriller novel. (Also, for Doors fans, notice the title of the last chapter?...'cobra on my left leopard on my right'...)
  • Anonymous
    Posted November 11, 2001

The biography, which "Anonymous" is probably referring to is more than likely The Lizard King: The Essential Jim Morrison by Jerry Hopkins, a collected series of interviews with Morrison. The interview where Morrison is interviewed backstage at the Isle of Wight in 1970 quotes Morrison's interest specifically in American Dream by Mailer. Morrison also mentions Hendrix as he passes by to take the stage for his Isle of Wight set. What the reviewer also doesn't note or reference is that perhaps Mailer's title for this particular novel could have been an inspiration for not only the track lyrics of Not to touch the Earth, but also could have served as inspiration for the An American Prayer... Noted elsewhere has been the participation of Morrison/Krieger at a benefit gig for Mailer's attempt at becoming Mayor in May 30 (31),1969 at the Cinematheque 16, Sunset Boulevard... reading An American Prayer and singing various tunes. Apparently, both Feast of Friends and I, a Man, - the latter a movie that Morrison had said he would take part in originally but backed out of performing in - were screened during the benefit.

The cover of my copy of An American Dream:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Joan Didion - "Waiting For Morrison" in The Age Of Rock (Sounds Of The American Cultural Revolution) & her collection of writings The White Album

My copy of this is signed by the former owner (George J. Gill) and dated August 3, 1974. Note: "DOORS" in white and blue on cover. However, considering most of the articles, and photography are copyrighted 1967-1969, this edition is probably from 1969. Cover design by Nicole De Jurenev.

The book is dedicated: "In memory of Richard Farina", who you might remember inspired Been Down So Long, with his novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me. The book also contains an article by Farina, on Joan Baez (whose sister Mimi, Farina was married to) and Bob Dylan.

Photography Copyright  © 1969 by Elliot Landy.

Here's another copy of Didion's article on The Doors from a collection of her writings from the early 1980s - The White Album - just because it's such a good article...

'The Doors were the Norman Mailers of the Top Forty, missionaries of apocalyptic sex.'

'There was a base player borrowed from a band called Clear Light.'... Doug Lubahn

'It was Morrison who had described The Doors as "erotic politicians."'

Tennyson: 'The word that is the symbol of myself' and 'Repeating my own name to myself silently'.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hello, I Love You and Baudelaire's "Á une passante"

1980s copy of Baudelaire's poetry

As well as the oft-cited musical resemblance of Hello, I Love You to The Kinks All Day And All Of The Night (and the never cited - up until now! - resemblance of My Eyes Have Seen You to The Kinks You Really Got Me, both of these tracks making the top ten in the US in 1964 - remember... Morrison's original Elektra bio had The Kinks as one of his favourite rock/pop groups), the resemblance also between the lyrics of HILY and French poet Charles Baudelaire's Á une passante from his collection of poems Tableaux Parisiens is quite striking...

Compare for instance the lines (badly translated here by Joanna Richardson in 1975) to the lyrics of HILY:

Tall, slender... Noble and lithe, her leg was sculptural... She holds her head so high, like a statue in the sky... her arms are wicked and her legs are long...

Early 1960s copy of Baudelaire's poetry, in French only

Of further note... as memory serves me (well or badly), HILY was used on the soundtrack of Oliver Stone's movie Platoon, The Cure have also covered HILY, as well as Nigel Kennedy on his Doors Concerto and there has also been a hit parody of the song by R.E.M. (although perhaps not evident as a parody at the time) with their track Pop Song '89 from their album Green. Here's the uncensored version of the latter:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Iggy Pop - The Passenger (And Morrison's "The Lords")

As Iggy (Jim Osterberg) Pop has freely admitted on several occasions, certain phrases from Morrison's poetry (The Lords) were lifted for the lyrics of the track The Passenger from Pop's album Lust For Life from 1977 (featuring David Bowie - Doors/Morrison connection #4 - on keyboards and vocals, and the rest of what was to make up the bowie-led band Tin Machine):

Modern life is a journey by car. The Passengers [my emphasis]
change terribly in their reeking seats, or roam
from car to car, subject to unceasing transformation.
Inevitable progress is made toward the beginning
(there is no difference in terminals), as we
slice through cities, whose ripped backsides [my emphasis] present
a moving picture of windows, signs, streets,
buildings. Sometimes other vessels, closed
worlds, vacuums, travel along beside to move
ahead or fall utterly behind.

Interestingly, other than having Danny Sugerman as his manager* during one period of his life, Pop also sang vocals on a version of L.A. Woman on July 3rd 1974 in the Whisky, backed by Ray Manzarek on keyboards and other musicians... Also, Iggy was to be involved in fronting Manzarek's band Nite City in the late 1970s but had a falling out with Manzarek.

*Read Sugerman's Wonderland Avenue

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Hitcher

I always think of the 1980s movie The Hitcher as a homage to HWY/Riders On The Storm (hence the younger main character is "Jim", and the older main character - the hitchhiker (actually the original name for HWY) - Rutger Hauer - is called John "Ryder"). Essentially, a hitchhiker is picked up in a "storm" and informs the driver that he has killed an entire family (calling to mind if you give this man a ride/sweet family will die and Morrison's phone call about killing someone in the desert in HWY) that had previously picked him up.

The chap who wrote the "original" story claimed it was from his own experience as a taxi driver (after he picked up someone on the road)... 

Also of note: soundtrack for movie by Mark Isham... Isham also worked with (both in the 1980s also) David Sylvian and in a Doors/Morrison related coincidence... Marianne Faithfull... Faithfull has never revealed her side of the story of Morrison's death, her silence speaking volumes...

These comments about the movie were originally posted a while back on Alice Cooper's music/radio show website, when he had L.A. Woman as album of the month (or something to that effect)...