Layne Staley, the late vocalist of Alice in Chains, Scott Weiland, the vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, James LaBrie of Dream Theater, as well asScott Stapp of Creed, have all claimed Morrison to be their biggest influence and inspiration. Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver have both covered „Roadhouse Blues” by The Doors. Weiland also filled in for Morrison to perform „Break On Through (To The Other Side)” with the rest of The Doors. Stapp filled in for Morrison for „Light My Fire”, „Riders on the Storm” and „Roadhouse Blues” on VH1 Storytellers. Creed performed their version of „Roadhouse Blues” with Robby Krieger for the 1999 Woodstock Festival. The book The Doors by the remaining Doors quotes Morrison’s close friend Frank Lisciandro as saying that too many people took a remark of Morrison’s that he was interested in revolt, disorder, and chaos “to mean that he was an anarchist, a revolutionary, or, worse yet, a nihilist. Hardly anyone noticed that Jim was restating Rimbaud and the Surreal poets.”Jim’s recital of his poem „Bird Of Prey” can be heard throughout the song „Sunset” by Fatboy Slim. Rock band Bon Jovi featured Morrison’s grave in their „I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” video clip. Professional wrestler John Hennigan’s persona John Morrison was inspired by Jim Morrison, and the name of his finishing move was taken from The Doors’ Moonlight Drive. The band Radiohead mentions Jim Morrison in their song „Anyone Can Play Guitar,” stating „I wanna be wanna be wanna be Jim Morrison.” Singer-songwriter Lana Del Reymentions Jim Morrison in the song „Gods & Monsters” from the album „Born To Die: Paradise Edition”. Alice Cooper in the liner notes of his album „Killer” stated that the song „Desperado” is about Jim Morrison.
Jim Morrison was, and continues to be, one of the most popular and influential singer-songwriters in rock history. The Doors‘ catalog has become an unequivocal staple of classic rock radio stations. To this day Morrison is widely regarded as the prototypical rock-star: surly, sexy, scandalous and mysterious. The leather pants he was fond of wearing both onstage and off have since become stereotyped as rock-star apparel. In 2011, a Rolling Stone readers’ pick placed Jim Morrison in fifth place of the magazine’s „Best Lead Singers of All Time”.Iggy and the Stooges are said to have formed after lead singer Iggy Pop was inspired by Morrison while attending a Doors concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan. One of Pop’s most popular songs, „The Passenger”, is said to be based on one of Morrison’s poems. After Morrison’s death, Pop was considered as a replacement lead singer for The Doors; the surviving Doors gave him some of Morrison’s belongings and hired him as a vocalist for a series of shows. Wallace Fowlie, professor emeritus of French literature at Duke University, wrote Rimbaud and Jim Morrison, subtitled „The Rebel as Poet – A Memoir”. In this he recounts his surprise at receiving a fan letter from Morrison who, in 1968, thanked him for his latest translation of Arthur Rimbaud’s verse into English. „I don’t read French easily”, he wrote, „…your book travels around with me.” Fowlie went on to give lectures on numerous campuses comparing the lives, philosophies and poetry of Morrison and Rimbaud.
Other works relating to religion, mysticism, ancient myth and symbolism were of lasting interest, particularly Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. James Frazer’s The Golden Bough also became a source of inspiration and is reflected in the title and lyrics of the song „Not to Touch the Earth”.Morrison was particularly attracted to the myths and religions of Native American cultures.While he was still in school, his family moved to New Mexico where he got to see some of the places and artifacts important to the American Southwest indigenous cultures. These interests appear to be the source of many references to creatures and places such as lizards, snakes, deserts and „ancient lakes” that appear in his songs and poetry. His interpretation of the practices of a Native American „shaman” were worked into parts of Morrison’s stage routine, notably in his interpretation of the Ghost Dance, and a song on his later poetry album, The Ghost Song. Jim Morrison’s vocal influences included Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, which is evident in his own baritone crooning style used in several of The Doors songs and in the 1981 documentary The Doors: A Tribute to Jim Morrison, Producer Paul Rothchild refers his first impression of Morrison as being a „Rock and Roll Bing Crosby”. It is mentioned within the pages of No One Here Gets Out Alive by Danny Sugerman, that Morrison as a teenager was such a fan of Presley’s music that he demanded people be quiet when Elvis was on the radio. The Frank Sinatra influence is mentioned in the pages of The Doors, The Illustrated History also by Sugerman, where Frank Sinatra is listed on Morrison’s Band Bio as being his favorite singer. Reference to this can also be found in a Rolling Stone article about Jim Morrison, regarding the Top 100 rock singers of all time.
As a naval family the Morrisons relocated frequently. Consequently Morrison’s early education was routinely disrupted as he moved from school to school. Nonetheless he was drawn to the study of literature, poetry, religion, philosophy and psychology, among other fields.Biographers have consistently pointed to a number of writers and philosophers who influenced Morrison’s thinking and, perhaps, his behavior. While still in his teens Morrison discovered the work of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He was also drawn to the poetry of William Blake, Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. Beat Generation writers such as Jack Kerouac also had a strong influence on Morrison’s outlook and manner of expression; Morrison was eager to experience the life described in Kerouac’sOn the Road. He was similarly drawn to the work of French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Céline’s book, Voyage au Bout de la Nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) and Blake’sAuguries of Innocence both echo through one of Morrison’s early songs, „End of the Night”. Morrison later met and befriended Michael McClure, a well known beat poet. McClure had enjoyed Morrison’s lyrics but was even more impressed by his poetry and encouraged him to further develop his craft.Morrison’s vision of performance was colored by the works of 20th century French playwright Antonin Artaud (author of Theater and its Double) and by Julian Beck’s Living Theater.
In his last will, notarized in Los Angeles on February 12, 1969, Morrison (who described himself as „an unmarried person”) bequeathed his entire estate to Pamela Courson, naming her co-executor with his attorney, Max Fink. Subsequently, she inherited everything upon Morrison’s death. Courson died of a heroin overdose in 1974, leaving her parents as her heirs. Like Morrison, she was also 27 years old at the time of her death.Morrison’s parents then contested Morrison’s will. Courson’s parents then produced a document they claimed she had acquired in Colorado, an application for a declaration that she and Morrison had contracted a common-law marriage under the law of that state. Courson, as Morrison’s spouse, would inherit even if the will was invalid. The ability to contract a common-law marriage was abolished in California in 1896. However, California’s conflict of laws rule provided for recognition of common-law marriages when lawfully contracted in foreign jurisdictions, and Colorado recognizes common-law marriage.
Jim Morrison is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions. The grave had no official marker until French officials placed a shield over it, which was stolen in 1973. The site previous to the 1973 theft (pictured, right) was covered with shells and letters. In 1981, Croatian sculptor Mladen Mikulin placed a bust of Morrison and a new gravestone with Morrison’s name at the grave to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death; the bust was defaced through the years by cemetery vandals and later stolen in 1988. Mikulin later made two more portraits of Jim Morrison: the plaster model for (never finished) bronze bust in 1989, and the bronze death mask in 2001.In the early 1990s Morrison’s father, George Stephen Morrison, placed a flat stone on the grave. The stone bears the Greek inscription: ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ, literally meaning „according to his own daemon” and usually interpreted as „true to his own spirit„.
In 1995 a new epilogue was added to Sugerman’s and Hopkins’s book, giving new facts about Morrison’s death and discounting the fake death theory, saying “As time passed, some of Jim and Pamela’s friends began to talk about what they knew, and although everything they said pointed irrefutably to Jim’s demise, there remained and probably always will be those who refuse to believe that Jim is dead and those who will not allow him to rest in peace.”In July 2007, Sam Bernett, a former manager of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus nightclub, released a (French) book titled „The End: Jim Morrison”.In it Bernett alleges that instead of dying of a heart attack in a bathtub (the official police version of his death) Morrison overdosed on heroin on a toilet seat in the nightclub. He claims that Morrison came to the club to buy heroin for Courson then did some himself and died in the bathroom. Morrison’s body was then moved back to his rue Beautreillis apartment and dumped into the bathtub by the two drug dealers from whom Morrison had purchased the heroin. Bernett says those who saw Morrison that night were sworn to secrecy in order to prevent a scandal for the famous club, and that some of the witnesses immediately left the country. There have been many other conspiracy theories surrounding Morrison’s death but are less supported by witnesses than are the accounts of Ronay and Courson.