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LISTENING IN: Jim Morrison still lights our fire

On the 50th anniversary of his death, Jim Morrison is still lighting the fires of fans, who turned out to pay homage to the erstwhile Lizard King at Pere-Lachaise cemetery in eastern Paris this week.

I once made a similar pilgrimage, though my visit was more in the “things to do in Paris” category than devotion to The Doors, Morrison’s legendary band. And the experience was certainly worth it, I can report, if for no other reason than the beauty of the place and experience of following the curious maize through the cemetery to get to the grave, which would be unfindable without graffiti arrows and markings scrawled on other tombs by fans. (To be honest, these desecrations are disappointing).

At the same time, Morrison’s rather inglorious tomb status – tiny and placed several rows back from the path – suggests that in death he is no more important than his neighbours, and, in fact, he is just one of a host of historically famous names to call the cemetery eternal home – Chopin, Moliere, Proust, Balzac, Piaf, and Oscar Wilde, amongst others.

But unlike the others, his grave – marked with the inscription “true to his own spirit” – is decorated with graffiti and the subject of a makeshift shrine.
Morrison famously died in Paris on July 3, 1971, at age 27 at the height of a career that had delivered, with The Doors, hits like “Light My Fire,” “Hello I Love You,” “Touch Me,” and “Riders on the Storm.”

There was also the infamous 1967 appearance on the Ed Sullivan show where the band were ordered to change the lyrics to “Light My Fire” – considered inappropriate – but sang them live anyway earning Sullivan’s fury and a lifetime ban from the show. And, of course, Morrison’s high-profile drug- and alcohol-fuelled escapades, which ultimately led to his demise.

As such, his status as a mythic, mystic figure for rock fans has never waned. On the 20th anniversary of his death in 1991, the Oliver Stone-directed biopic “The Doors” was released, starring Val Kilmer as Morrison. And in 2021, for many, the flame still burns.

Lyrics

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher

Come on baby light my fire
Come on baby light my fire
Try to set the night on, fire

The time to hesitate is through
No time to wallow in the mire
Try now we can only lose
And our love become a funeral pyre

Come on baby light my fire
Come on baby light my fire
Try to set the night on, fire yeah

The time to hesitate is through
No time to wallow in the mire
Try now we can only lose
And our love become a funeral pyre

Come on baby light my fire
Come on baby light my fire
Try to set the night on, fire yeah

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher

Come on baby light my fire
Come on baby light my fire
Try to set the night on fire
Try to set the night on fire
Try to set the night on fire
Try to set the night on fire

First published at Travel Industry Today

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