Few figures in rock and roll history have attained the mythical status of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison. For some reason he got to pass himself off as a poet when everyone else was just an asshole, but regardless: He’s the American Poet, the Lizard King, Mr. Mojo Risin and all the rest.
He was found dead in a Paris bathtub July 3, 1971, supposedly of natural causes along the lines of heart failure. But, Rolling Stone writes, one of Morrison’s friends has a new book on the way saying something completely different.
Sam Bennett, among other things a former New York Times journalist and friend of Morrison’s, wrote the forthcoming book The End – Jim Morrison. Bennett states in his book that Morrison died of a massive heroin overdose in a club bathroom and was later moved to the hotel bathtub where he was found.
Bennett claims that in the early hours of July 3, 1971, the Lizard King showed up at the Rock and Roll Circus club on Paris’ Left Bank looking to buy some heroin for his girlfriend Pamela. He scored some dope and headed for the bathroom. A while later, the cloakroom attendant said one of the bathroom stalls was locked, and after having a bouncer break it down, Bennett saw Morrison slumped over on the toilet, a mixture of blood and foam coming out of his mouth. A club patron who worked as a medic declared the rocker dead.
It’s at this point that the dealers Morrison bought the smack from insisted he was still alive and said they would take care of him, carrying him out of the club. A club representative later told Bennett and Marianne Faithful, who had been present the whole time, that the club was in no way responsible for what happened to Morrison and it would do them both good to keep their mouths shut.
The statute of limitations on Morrison’s case expired 17 years ago, so there isn’t much that can be done in light of these new accusations. For his part, Bennett says he just wants to say his piece and clear the air. Paris officials say they will investigate these charges, as action can still be taken in civil court.
So Morrison possibly joins the ranks of the overdosed. We all kind of figured that’s what happened, bloated, bearded and disheveled as he was toward the end, but now we (sort of) know for sure. The manner in which his old buddy finally came forward raises an eyebrow or two, but regardless, chalk up another '60s icon done in by the drugs they cherished.
I'm sure Bennett was getting down with some kind of dragon that night, as well, but at least he’s still around to tell his side of the story. It would be nice if some of the people who actually wrote the music made it through the era with him.