Jim Morrison Mural
In their book No One Will Leave Here Alive, Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, the Doors’ manager, write that Moonlight Drive was composed by Jim Morrison while he was living in Venice Beach (Los Angeles) in 1965. A song that pianist Ray Manzarek, soon joined by guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, put to music. The Doors were formed on this beach. Jim Morrison even came up with the name, in reference to Aldous Huxley’s book The Gates of Perception. In Venice Beach, fans can trace the early history of this unusual band and its charismatic leader. We can for example begin by a passage on the level of the first apartment of Ray Manzarek, where he lived with his girlfriend Dorothy and where Jim Morrison was invited. It is also in Venice that the first rehearsal room of the band is located, where the emblematic song Light my fire was composed. We also find the Ellison Suites, the hotel where the singer met his girlfriend Pamela Courson and where today, it is possible to dive back into the same atmosphere. The café at the corner of Dudley Avenue and Speedway is a must. Where he used to sit with an espresso and a book of beat poetry. It is now an Italian restaurant. On the beach, the municipality also wanted to pay tribute to the Doors by placing a kind of stele on which are written these few lines of Jim Morrison: “Now the soft parade has soon begun. Cool pools from a tired land sink now in the peace of evening.” Words leaning against the ocean, located not far from the magnificent mural representing the band’s leader in one of his most iconic poses, on Ocean Front Walk.
Even today, the memory of the Doors is everywhere in Venice Beach. If Jim Morrison was born in Florida, it is in California that he became a pure rock star, galvanized by the heterogeneous atmosphere of Venice Beach at least as much as by the talent of his comrades in arms. A young man fleeing authority, inspired by the writings of Jack Kerouac, an aspiring film director at UCLA, eventually becoming one of the most crucial figures in the American rock scene. After starting out here, near the ocean, the Doors, or at least some of them, moved to Laurel Canyon and participated in their own way in the effervescence of this creative mecca, perched on the heights of Hollywood. It is here, for example, that Jim Morrison wrote Love Street and other songs directly related to his experiences, feelings and environment. Then success caused time to speed up and the story of the singer and the Doors finally ended in Paris, far from the sun and freaks of Venice Beach.
Jim Morrison is the sixth rock star to join the ill-fated Club of 27, after Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Alan Wilson, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
1811 Ocean Front Walk
Among Venice Beach’s most famous residents, Jim Morrison is at the center of a piece of street art in the city, located at 1811 Ocean Front Walk.
Located on the edge of the waterfront, on the facade of an apartment complex, the mural of Jim Morrison is the work of the artist Rip Cronk. It was in 1991 that he delivered the first version, on a blue background. With a height of more than 10 meters, the representation of the singer of The Doors dressed in his inevitable leather pants is then modified in 2012. Rip Cronk then changed the background color, opting for a gradient of orange and yellow. The face of Jim Morrison has also undergone a slight facelift. Now, the mural is facing that of Arnold Schwarzenegger, another legend of the place.
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Cult! music: 100 mythical music places [French Edition]
Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists!
Head to Melbourne, Australia for a stroll along AC/DC Lane before crossing the iconic Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in the company of The Beatles. Visit Janis Joplin‘s home in San Francisco and find out how Johnny Cash ended up playing his greatest hits to a crowd of prisoners in San Quentin. Travel the winding roads of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and stop in Japan to catch up with Deep Purple, Phil Collins and Daft Punk. Drive down the Tina Turner Highway before entering some of the most legendary studios in music history. Go back to the troubled origins of Billie Holiday and make a pact with Robert Johnson at the famous crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists! Relive the Jimi Hendrix concert on the Isle of Wight before paying tribute to Bob Marley in Jamaica.
Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! musictells the secrets of the places that made the history of music.
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Discover all the places Moonlight Drive on our map
By Gilles Rolland
Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.