Celebrating Jim Morrison

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After the American rock star and poet Jim Morrison’s death in 1971 fans used increasingly transgressive means to commemorate him at his grave at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris.

Before crowd-control barriers and permanent police surveillance were put in place in 2004, the site abounded in illegal drug use and drunkenness as a way to celebrate and honor Morrison’s commitment to living life on the edge. Many fans describe him as a shaman.

Direct body contact with the site was important for some, with women lying naked and couples engaging in sexual sessions on the grave.

Now many of these celebrations of the senses have moved to a café next to the cemetery, and the gravesite is visited only for silent contemplation.

This according to “The performance of a cult of the senses: A feast of fans at Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris” by Peter Jan Margry (Traditiones: Zbornik Inštituta za Slovensko Narodopisje/Acta Instituti Ethnographiae Slovenorum XXXVI/1 [2007] pp. 141–152).

Today would have been Morrison’s 70th birthday! Above, the gravesite on 8 December 2003, the year before the barriers were built. Below, The Doors’ iconic Light my fire live in 1968; Morrison prepares to resume singing around 6:15.

2 Comments

Filed under Popular music

2 responses to “Celebrating Jim Morrison

  1. Pingback: Jim Morrison, Poet, 70 Years Young Today | Music of Our Heart

  2. glasspoole

    Hi, excellent blog post. I also like the photograph. Did you take it? Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I posted your piece on http://www.jimmorrisonproject.com/entry/2013/12/celebrating-jim-morrison

    Like

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