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Jim Morrison, 50 years after his death and that dramatic and cursed Club 27

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Exactly half a century has passed since the death of Jim Morrison, founder and frontman of the Doors, even if an artist, be it a singer or an actor or a writer, actually never disappears forever: and in fact, paraphrasing a fashion slogan in the his sixty-eight, one could say that “Jim is alive and sings with us” … Fortunately, what is no longer ‘alive’ is that dramatic and cursed Club 27, as the coincidence he saw at that time was baptized in the media as many as four music stars – Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and, of course, Jim Morrison – all die at the age of 27 and in tragic circumstances. James Douglas Morrison, this is his full name, was born in Melbourne, Florida in 1943 from a middle-class family of English and Scottish, Irish and German origins, with his father an admiral of the US Navy and his mother a lawyer: but neither career military nor legal could attract him; to the point of permanently cutting ties with his parents, who even proclaimed ‘dead’, already at the age of 22. Prophet of freedom and cursed poet, leader of psychedelic rock, he has crossed multiple musical genres, from blues to acid rock, from hard rock to rock and roll.It all began in 1965, when he founded the group The Doors and the name – ‘the doors’ – he chooses it himself, quoting a poem by William Blake, in the passage in which he says that “if the doors of perception were purified, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite”. Success was not long in coming and in 1967 the first album was released, simply titled ‘The Doors’, which was immediately the best-selling together with’ Sgt. Pepper’s’ by the Beatles. The same year is a ‘misadventure’ that saw Jim involuntary but active protagonist: an argument with a policeman who had not recognized him while he was intimate with a girl in the backstage of a concert in New Haven and which provoked by the the artist replied by spraying him with a can of blinding gas. The subsequent apologies were not enough for Morrison who, during the resumption of the concert, addressed the policemen as “pigs dressed in blue”, with the show interrupted and he beaten and arrested. But it is only the first ‘pearl’ of a long series of concerts that they did not spare provocations, interruptions, violence, protests, rebellions, damages, blasphemies and real or alleged obscenities and even fainting on stage due to alcohol abuse. To which drugs will soon be added, causing him a slow but inexorable physical and mental degradation that will go in parallel with the artistic decline of the Doors. Death, in the bathtub on the night between 3 and 4 July 1971, reached him well in advance in Paris, where he had moved with the intention of abandoning music to devote himself exclusively to poetry. (By Enzo Bonaiuto )

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