Jim Morrison (The Doors) - where does he stand lyrically?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by RoughAndRowdyWays, May 8, 2021.

  1. RoughAndRowdyWays

    RoughAndRowdyWays I'm an instant star. Just add water and stir. Thread Starter

    Yorkshire, UK.
    I've seen people say he was a great poet. A poet that happened to be a rock god, that kind of statement.

    Songs like 'The Crystal Ship' have that kooky kind of structure and words, psychedelic barroom sorta music. etcetera, etc.

    Where in your opinion do his lyrics and words stand? Is Jim Morrison a poet?
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  2. ooan

    ooan Forum Resident

    Horse Latitudes

    Texas Radio and the Big Beat
  3. lucan_g

    lucan_g Forum Resident

    I’m not sure he was as great as he thought he was… but he’s miles ahead of most lyricists.
  4. speedracer

    speedracer Forum Resident

    "Is Jim Morrison a poet?"

    Yes, Jim Morrison was a poet.

    What does the OP think?
  5. Liam Brown

    Liam Brown Forum Resident

    I think he is a highly effective lyricist. His lyrics are more interesting than the vast majority of lyricists. Some say he is pretentious or sophomoric, which may be true at times, but in total he brought a lot to the table.

    He wrote poems, which he published, so by definition, he is a poet. I can't see why that is debated.
  6. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    The Southwest
    Was Jim Morrison a poet? Yes, he was a self-professed poet, but that doesn't mean he was a good poet. That said, he clearly had talent as a wordsmith, and several of his writings were effectively implemented as interesting lyrical passages. To be fair, he had a passion for writing, and by many accounts, worked hard at it. But I don't thank anyone outside of Doors fandom would ever assert he was genuine, high level poet.
  7. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    What I like a lot about Jim's lyrics is that he manages to conjure up images in my mind that are often weird and wonderful, a bit in a similar way to what Jon Anderson does. What it all means is less interesting to me than what I get to see in my mind by listening to it. One example:

    Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain
    And all the children are insane
    Waiting for the summer rain

    What is means exactly I really don't know and I don't care, but even as I write this, these words evoke all kind of imagery in my head. A blood drenched Roman circus, children standing naked in a forest staring at the sky, a tropical storm crashing down...

    And no, I didn't partake in anything
  8. speedracer

    speedracer Forum Resident

    Great post - Jim's imagery is powerful - pearls before swine - generally shot down by folks who won't or can't take the journey. Funny how if you say anything creative these days you have to explain that you aren't on drugs.
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  9. ceddy10165

    ceddy10165 My life was saved by rock n roll

    Avon, CT
    Yes, from my objective opinion. He thought he was, so he was. Webster’s concurs.

    Definition of poet

    1: one who writes poetry : a maker of verses
    2: one (such as a creative artist) of great imaginative and expressive capabilities and special sensitivity to the medium
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  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    I think people get overexcited about the term poet....
    I think people can get over excited about meanings and words too.

    Morrison was a poet of his own fashion.
    I think he was the perfect lyricist for the Doors. His words paint images in the same way the band's music does.
    He creates interesting imagery, that if one allows themselves to go with it, works really very well.
    He could get carried away with himself sometimes, and it seems like he could be obsessive on occasion, but he was great at creating imagery, and I think that's what he was aiming for, so, yea good poet/lyricist.
  11. micksmuse

    micksmuse Forum Resident

    san diego
    that would be a fun question to send into "ask croz"
  12. masswriter

    masswriter Minister At Large

    New England
    he's no Bob Dylan ... and he really didn't age long enough to accrue wisdom and insight... he fell into being a rock star and then was gone. All in all, he had that kind of way with words one can muster fresh out of college with a heady dose of Rimbaud and Beat infusion that can seed rebellion and chaos. I dig what he contributed in the short life he was given.
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  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    It would have been really interesting to see where he went if he had had a chance to grow out of the rockstar thing, and get a few more years under his belt.
  14. Cool hand luke

    Cool hand luke You shoulda heard just what I seen

    Cue the "drunken buffoon who wrote high school level poetry" comments. :shrug:

    The guy was capable of writing incredible lyrics. I started listening to The Doors when I was 13. I'm almost 54 now and have yet to "outgrow" his stuff. He was genuine, and was a very intelligent individual. As I've said before, to any of his detractors here, if you ever had an intellectual conversation with the guy he would probably have buried you :righton:
  15. Evethingandnothing

    Evethingandnothing Forum Resident

    Well, the music is your special friend. But the words are pretty good too.
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  16. hophedd

    hophedd Forum Resident

    An American Prayer was hilarious when I was a teen, but now is kind of embarrassing, in spots. In his defense, Jim had nothing to do with that album, obviously. And some Doors tunes could bore, like The End. But the man knew how to turn a phrase, and moved popular music/rock lyrics to adult/sophomoric, from infantile ("My boyfriend's back, and you're gonna be in trouble...'). He was part of a larger social movement, anyway. Country Joe said F-U-C-K, too.

    I'm grateful that he could come up with brief lines like "penetrate the evening that the city sleeps to hide," rather than copy Dylan's often-cryptic stanza orgies.
  17. hophedd

    hophedd Forum Resident

    And how do you know the moon isn't a dried blood beast?
  18. sons of nothing

    sons of nothing Forum Resident

    For the most part, his best lyrics were on the first two albums.

    Some of Jim's non-lyrical writing had good imagery and meter to it. I imagine if he had lived at least another 10-20 years that he could have written some well remembered poetry that would have been discussed widely in modern poetry classes.
  19. TexasBuck

    TexasBuck Forum Resident

    Dallas, TX
    I've always enjoyed his lyrics. They were interesting and they fit the songs. He told stories, he set moods, he sounded good. That's all I need. He's in my top 10 favorite lyricist.
  20. hophedd

    hophedd Forum Resident

    Many accuse him of pretentiousness, but I'd say precocious is a more fair term. The guy never even owned a house.
    Last edited: May 8, 2021
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  21. WolfSpear

    WolfSpear Music Enthusiast

    He was a great lyricist in his own unique way.
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  22. Ron2112

    Ron2112 Forum Resident

  23. Cool hand luke

    Cool hand luke You shoulda heard just what I seen

    That's what I'm saying, the guy was genuine. He wasn't faking anything.
  24. JuanTCB

    JuanTCB Senior Member

    Brooklyn, NY
    He had a great sense of imagery and knew how to sell it with his voice.
  25. Helter Skelter

    Helter Skelter Forum Resident

    When he's good, he's really good, when he's bad he's "An actor out on loan." ;)

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