Fans Mourn Jim Morrison 50 Years After His Death

Fans of Doors singer gather in Paris 'to show that he's not forgotten'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 3, 2021 2:50 PM CDT
Fans Mourn Jim Morrison 50 Years After His Death
Torsten Marquardt of Germany pours whiskey onto Jim Morrison's tomb.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Paris on Saturday was the only place to be for die-hard Jim Morrison fans. Fifty years after his death at age 27, rock music lovers from across the world came to the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in eastern Paris where the Doors frontman is buried. Many brought candles and pictures, and some burned incense sticks near his grave, the AP reports. "Jim and the Doors have been heroes of ours since we were kids. It's an honor to be here and celebrate the 50th anniversary of his death today," said Dutuar Platzek. The 50-year-old fan made the trip from Halle, Germany, with his childhood friend Mathias Barthel. The two had not been back to the cemetery in over 25 years. Year after year, the place has become a pilgrimage for fans of Morrison, known for his dark lyrics, wavy locks, leather pants, steely gaze, and theatrical stage presence. He propelled the Doors to several major hits from 1965 to 1967, including "Light My Fire," "Touch Me," and "Riders on the Storm."

Michelle Campbell was 21 when Morrison died, living in Texas and studying photography. Her first "July 3rd"—the anniversary of Morrison's death—was in 1989. Back then, the grave was unmarked, and a fan had crafted a wooden cross. She’s since moved to Paris and has been coming to Pere-Lachaise almost every year, taking photographs of Morrison's grave and fans, many of whom have become friends. It's like "people sitting around on couches in someone's apartment, rather than a grave's, just talking and meeting each other,” she recalled. “It was really lovely." Colleen Amblard drove seven hours to visit the grave. The 21-year-old student said: "It's very emotional to be here, to remember Jim Morrison ... to show that he's not forgotten." Morrison made his final album with the Doors, L.A. Woman, in 1971, then moved to Paris. There, on July 3, 1971, he was found dead in a bathtub. No autopsy was performed, and accounts of what caused his death are disputed. For rock fans, his status as a mythic figure has never waned.

(Read more Jim Morrison stories.)

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