Since the early days of the music industry, many musicians have died in mystifying circumstances. Whether it be drug-related, suicide or murder, given that these figures are revered at the God-like level, many of us want to believe that there was something else at play and that simply chance or self-will was not enough to cause the death in question. Duly, it’s always the same questions that are floated around: Who else was present? Did they commit suicide? Was it an accident? Was it a murder?
There is a reason for this. In many of the most famous cases, the cause of death or the circumstances remain cloudy following a full police investigation and coroner’s report. This feeds into the mystery, resulting in fans questioning what really happened, and resulting in the demand for multitudes of examinations.
Undoubtedly, one of the most perplexing deaths of a musician is that of The Doors frontman, Jim Morrison. The enigmatic poet was one of the definitive heroes of the counterculture, but his life and career were plagued by his alcohol and drug consumption. Conspiracy theories abound about Morrison’s death due to how opaque the circumstances were.
He passed away on July 3rd, 1971 in Paris. Earlier that year, he had moved to the city after he was convicted in the US for indecent exposure after he allegedly exposed himself during a show in Miami in 1969. He was sentenced to six months in jail, and whilst appealing the verdict, he opted to head for Paris.
In Paris, Morrison lived in an apartment with his partner Pamela Courson during a time when many thought he was attempting to clean up his life. The story goes that Courson found Morrison lifeless in the apartment’s bathtub, the apparent result of a drug overdose. Worried that she would be implicated in his death, she gave a fake account of events, claiming that he was her cousin and that he’d had a heart attack.
The Parisian authorities waived the autopsy by Courson’s request, allowing her to bury Morrison in Père Lachaise Cemetery. It wasn’t until after the funeral, just two days after his death, that the news was made public. The public assumed that an overdose was the cause as no autopsy was undertaken. Courson maintained that this was the reason until she passed away in 1974 following an overdose in Los Angeles. The fact that Courson also died in these circumstances has led some people to question just why Morrison died.
To some fans of Jim Morrison and The Doors, the story of his death is made even more intriguing by the fact that, allegedly, he predicted his death. According to VH1, in October 1970, Morrison went out with a group of friends to Barney’s Beanery in Los Angeles. At the time, Morrison was grieving the death of another countercultural hero and a great friend of his, Janis Joplin, who passed away on the 4th. In addition to this, the iconic Jimi Hendrix passed away only weeks before, on September 18th.
This morbid sense that their generation were dropping like flies permeated the air that night, and it was here that Morrison predicted his death. Per the report, he told his friends: “You’re drinking with number three. That’s right, number three.” It seems as if Morrison knew his time was up.
If the VH1 report is to be believed, it raises serious questions about Morrison’s death and suggests that maybe it was what he wanted, but that is just irresponsible speculation. The truth is we’ll never know.
Listen to ‘Light My Fire’ by The Doors.