Jim Morrison: The Epitome of Rock Style
Jim Morrison, the iconic lead singer of rock band, The Doors, was the epitome of a rock star: edgy, sexy, mysterious, and scandalous. While he was skyrocketed to fame by the success of his band, the singer-songwriter/poet never lived long enough to see the true, prominent impact of his work. He died July 3, 1971 at his apartment in Paris. Due to the lack of an autopsy performed on his body, the true reasons for his death are shrouded in some mystery, but it is believed that he died of a heroin overdose.
He was born in Melbourne, Florida but moved around substantially due to his father being in the Navy. After moving around for a number of years, Morrison finally settled down in Los Angeles, attending UCLA for a degree in cinematography which he received in 1965. One year later, The Doors were formed, consisting of Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger, in 1966 and rose to fame quickly, especially with their single, “Light My Fire” which stayed number one on the Billboard top 100 for three weeks. The band also notoriously appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1967 where they performed “People are Strange,” and “Light My Fire.” Morrison had been asked to change the lyrics in “Light My Fire” to read “We couldn’t get much better,” rather than “We couldn’t get much higher,” due to its allusion to drug use. Morrison, however refused to change the lyrics, and sang the song true to form, which resulted in a scandal ending in the band being banned from ever playing on the show again.
It was these sorts of antics, though, that appealed to a mass audience. Morrison’s devil-may-care attitude and disregard for the rules, coupled with his obvious poetic and musical talent drew him many a fan. The band itself, with its blend of blues, dark rock, and psychedelic influences created a truly unique style, setting a sort of blueprint for many artists to follow. Morrison’s style certainly reflected that of a mysterious, rock band front man. His classic look included tight leather pants, usually loose bohemian shirts. Leather pants have since become a staple of rock star apparel.
Linen button down shirts and Chelsea boots also made their way into his wardrobe, creating a bit more of a cleaner look than the bohemian tunics.
Denim was also a go-to fabric to break up the leather monotony – a denim jacket over a dark t-shirt creates an edgy look with a laid-back vibe.
Morrison even managed to make pull-over sweater into something fierce.
Unfortunately, by 1969, due to his heavy drinking problem and drug use, Morrison lost his svelte figure, became a little bit portly, and so abandoned his traditional rock star garb for a more comfortable jeans and t-shirts.
Luckily, this look is not the one that stuck and influenced an entire genre of music. Morrison’s earlier surly, sleek, enigmatic appearance set the standard for rock star apparel and artists such as Iggy Pop from Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Scott Weiland of Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots, and Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, are just a few of the musicians who have claimed Morrison as their number one influence.
Still today, The Doors’ edgy singer inspires people from all walks of life, and his fans are influence is only growing. Just recently, a paleontologist from the University of Nebraska discovered the fossil of a huge ancient lizard, and in honor of his favorite band’s front man, he named it Barbaturex morrisoni. Morrison was known as the “Lizard King,” due to his lyrical proclamation, “I am the Lizard King, I can do anything.” Despite his early death, Morrison holds a surprising sway over the rock and roll music genre and will only continue to inspire countless other musicians and fans.
Written By: Mary B.