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Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend Paperback – June 16, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A riveting account... with extraordinary new insights. -- Mojo

[An] exhaustive narrative... [of] the late but still idolized rock god... Let the debauchery begin. -- The Kansas City Star

[Davis] poignantly conveys the tragic quality of a lonely and vulnerable man. -- Mark Kidel, The Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Stephen Davis’s many acclaimed books include the Rolling Stones history Old Gods Almost Dead as well as the New York Times bestsellers Walk This Way (with Aerosmith), Fleetwood (with Mick Fleetwood), and the Led Zeppelin history Hammer of the Gods.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 482 pages
  • Publisher: Avery; 2005 edition (June 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159240099X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592400997
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Zamarelli on November 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
As a religious Doors fan, I enjoyed this. First off, I don't understand people being upset over "rehashed material." So what? How many times are biographers going to interview the same people over and over again? The story doesn't change! My impression is that Davis went nuts finding every interview, book, article, etc regarding Jim Morrison or the Doors and compiled it to something coherent. Each biography out there has something the others don't and this guy just put it all together, giving us a ton of details. So what? And I did find some weird inaccurate quoting in the book, but it doesn't change the meaning of the quote. This is tedious nitpicking.

I found the "rumors" about Morrison intriguing as well. It's pretty pathetic that some people can't consider that perhaps Jim was bisexual. It wouldn't be outside his character, at least in my opinion. Davis makes it clear that there isn't any substantial evidence for some of these rumors or claims (although from actual witnesses) but mentions them anyway so that you could make your own decisions. Some of the rumors are shocking, such as the an allegation by an ex girlfriend stating Jim was raped by his father. Davis isn't making this up as the ex-girlfriend did mention this in an early publication of her book. But he by no means states it as fact but allows us to make our own decisions. "Rumors" are an essential part of any legend.

The inaccuracies that people are mentioning in here are tedious and have no bearing on the legend that is Jim Morrison. For instances: Whether the Light My Fire tire commercial really aired is besides the point. The point is that Morrison was pissed about it (I heard it did air from some people who say they remember it, just sayin'). This book is extremely thorough. I do wish however, it did have resources and that's why its not getting five stars.

It's a good complete compilation of information and I enjoyed it enough to listen to the 17 hour audiobook twice in a row.
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Format: Hardcover
I am neither a Doors scholar nor have I read extensively in the literature devoted to the band's rise to prominence in the late nineteen-sixties and its subsequent demise. I did see the Doors perform once or twice. And I have screened Oliver Stone's film which, in my opinion, raised more questions about the iconic Jim Morrison than it answered. So, for the record, I came to Stephen Davis's sprawling biography of Morrison without a lot of prior knowledge and without expectations for a fresh take on its subject of inquiry. That said, I found Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend to be a cogent, well-written narrative history that kept me involved from first page to last. I was impressed not only with Davis's effective characterization of Morrison and The Doors, but with his panoramic evocation of the turbulent sixties which for me was the emotional highlight of this book. I am unable to comment on the accuracy of Davis's reporting but I can state unequivocally that by the time I finished reading I felt I had come to know Jim Morrison viscerally and to understand how his background, and the times he lived through, had shaped both his personality and his destiny. Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend reads like a novel and is hugely informative. For those who came of age during the late sixties, it will provide a nostalgically jarring recreation of a time categorically unlike any other before or after.
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Format: Paperback
This is easily the best-written of the Morrison biographies. It's much better than the absurdly amateurish and slipshod "No One Here Gets Out Alive" which, for reasons that must be due to some type of mass hypnosis, is considered a must-read on Morrison. Some Amazon reviewers have called Davis's book "NEGATIVE!" because Davis has reported Morrison's astonishing and deeply tragic alcoholism, drug use and loutish, often assaultive behavior. Frankly, if all this were left out, we'd have huge gaps in Morrison's story. That's the unvarnished truth. We'd have no idea why he was arrested eleven times (should that be left out, too?), why the Doors were unable to go on lengthy tours, why so many Doors' concerts either ended up in near-riots, were canceled, cut short, or were so poorly performed that their fans (and the other Doors) were disappointed and disgusted. We wouldn't know what formed the basis for Morrison's increasing estrangement from the other band members and why the quality of their output became increasingly sub-par (with notable exceptions, of course). This is not negativity. It's telling it like it was. Anything less would be a censored, Disney-fied version. Davis doesn't dwell on these episodes any more than he needs to. Charges of repetition overlook the car-wreck-fascination of these anecdotes and their essentialness in explaining the band's disintegration and Morrison's emotional and physical collapse.

I'm not sure if we'll ever have a truly definitive account of Jim Morrison and the Doors that will satisfy most readers (especially since Manzarek and Densmore are vying to be the official chronicler of the band's history).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whoa, what can I say about this book? Almost done with it, and it's been a very wild ride. There is so much info in this book that I never knew about Jim, and his crazy, wild moods. Calm, sweet, polite and gentle one minute, and an absolute wild man the next! Sadly, with all the drugs and drinking he did, I'm amazed that he lived as long as he did. He was vulgar and disgusting much of the time, and many of these accounts are described in detail, but only happened when he was wasted.

The book is very sad and poignant. Jim was a gifted poet and voracious reader with a high IQ, and never had aspirations to become a singer. yet ended up being in one of the top bands of the sixties. The book kept my interest much of the time, and there aren't really any drawn-out, boring parts. It keeps you wondering what will happen next. For people who are hungry for information about Jim, you can't go wrong with this book.
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