The final months of The Doors legendary singer
On this day in 1971 Jim Morrison lands in Paris for his final journey
On March 11, 1971, Jim Morrison lands in Paris, France. The controversial Doors singer leaves the U.S right after recording all the vocals for the “L.A Woman” album and with his mind set on abandoning his music career in order to become a full time writer. However, his “escape” from America also has to do with a trial concerning his infamous 1969 performance at a Doors concert in Miami, which could put him in jail for years. Morrison joins his partner Pamela who’s been spending the last months in Paris organizing things for his moving. He first checks in at the Hotel George V and later, the couple moves to an apartment at 17 Rue Beautreillis. But, despite being a world away from Los Angeles, Morrison soon finds out that his hopes of being an anonymous citizen were not to be fulfilled as he becomes quickly aware that he’s also recognized in the streets of Paris as The Doors singer. Despite that he tries to sober up for a while and get back in track. Morrison spends his last months travelling across Europe and Northern Africa (where he loses his passport and documents). He gathers a small circle of friends that includes the Belgium film director Agnès Varda and a couple of French music journalists. Despite his efforts to clean up from drugs and alcohol, he discovers a different drug scene and trend going on in Europe that eventually leads him to his demise. Morrison spends a large amount of his time in Paris alone, something that he was not used to, his open relationship with Pamela, gives way for her to often spend weekends with lovers or with her European gay friends, leaving Morrison alone in their apartment most of time. Her ingrowing heroin addiction also starts finally to influence him. Bloated from years of alcohol abuse, Morrison, who had never indulged into heroin, reportedly starts using it in Paris, at a time that the drug was becoming trendy in Europe. During his last days, on the Summer of 1971, his health starts to decline fast, and though The Doors album “L.A Woman” is being praised by critics, he doesn’t thinks about returning to the U.S for a while, despite feeling lonely in Paris. The events of Morrison’s last hours on July 3, 1971, remains blurry and wrapped in mystery. What is certain is that Jim Morrison died at age 27 and the paramedics were called into his apartment where he was found in the bathtub.The official cause of death is a cardiac arrest but no autopsy was ever performed. Very few people were able to see the body that left the apartment on a sealed coffin. The official story, as told by Pamela, was that they had a quiet evening after going out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and to the movies. At home, she said, they relaxed, watched their home movies and listened to music, but during the early hours of July 3, Morrison felt indisposed and went to take a bath, he vomited blood with chunks of his dinner and remained in the bathtub while Pamela went to sleep, possibly passed out from heroin. She woke up at 5 am and found him in the same position in the bathtub, and noticed he was dead.
She then proceed to call their local friends in Paris, including long time Morrison friend Alain Ronay and Agnès Varda. Ronay went to the apartment and only then an ambulance was called. Pamela spend the next day and night with the corpse of Morrison and even slept with him in the bed. After the weekend he was put on a sealed coffin and discretely buried at the Pére Lachaise cemetery in Paris with a restricted group of 8 persons. The Doors manager Bill Siddons was asked by Doors member Ray Manzarek to go to Paris and confirm if Morrison was indeed dead. He never saw the body. His death only became public one week after it happened. Those events lead to several theories on his death, one, is the fact that several persons stated that the hours prior to his death, Jim Morrison was alone at the Paris club Rock N’Roll Circus, a trendy club frequented by Rock stars such as Mick Jagger, and also a place where heroin flew around. Pamela had gone to spend the night with one of her lovers, possibly Jean de Breiteuil a count who was also a drug supplier to Rock stars. Reportedly, some witnesses state that Morrison went to take heroin that night on the club’s toilets and overdosed as he was not used to the drug (a strong variant named China White). Two drug dealers tried to reanimate him but at the lack of response they carried him through the club and back to his apartment where they put him on the bathtub filled with ice (something that is used to reanimate drug overdose victims). No ambulance was called and Morrison’s body was left there alone. When Pamela returned home, she found him and did the phone calls. Other stories also point at the fact that indeed that evening he and Pamela relaxed at the apartment, but Morrison, did a mistake by thinking he was snorting cocaine when it was in fact heroin, which caused him to overdose. Recently, Mick Jagger’s 1960’s girlfriend and singer-actress Marianne Faithfull, says she knows who killed Morrison: her then-boyfriend and Pamela’s lover and drug supplier Jean de Breiteuil inadvertently sent the singer on a final ride. Faithfull says when de Breiteuil went to visit Morrison for what would be the final time, she skipped the trip. She was woken up on the early hours of July 3 by a phone call from Pamela asking Jean to help her. He went to the apartment, where he found Morrison either unconscious or dead, and returned to his place telling Marianne Faithfull that they had to flee the country and skipped her the details on what happened to Morrison. Jim Morrison became one of Rock’s most mythological figures and remains to this day an absolute icon and influential singer and artist, The Doors music more popular than ever. He had an appetite for self destruction, and if he self destructed himself that night on purpose or not, the right thing to say is that the world lost one of it’s most talented singers, composers and lyricists. Alain Ronay and Agnès Varda, still both hold the key to the mystery that surrounds July 3, 1971, but Varda has long decided to not talk about it and still hasn’t. His grave-site at the Pére Lachaise, it’s one of Paris most visited places with daily pilgrimages of fans from all over the world, his legend is stronger than ever.
Watch the documentary “Last 24 Hours Of Jim Morrison” with details and insight on Jim Morrison’s last hours
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