News report on death of Jim Morrison (possibly KLOS, KMET or KPPC) – July 1971 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
First thing that hits you is the realization this happened fifty years ago today. And then it hits you that, at the time, no one knew except for very few people that Jim Morrison had in fact died in Paris. Died and already buried by the time the news hit the rest of the world more than a week later.
At the time it was met with shock, but not necessarily surprise – we had already been through two others: the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin had us reeling in disbelief. But we got it in our heads that, in keeping with the old Hollywood superstition, there was a third death somewhere on the horizon – and that shoe was going to drop almost any time.
By the time we heard that in fact it was Jim Morrison who had died we shook our collective heads and reached for the cynical – it was our youth that was going and it was our music that was dying along with it – we were powerless to stop. That his death had been kept a secret by his manager and only one or two others around him out of fear of the “circus” that would inevitably envelope the sorrow and the often times ghoulish details along with the quest for death photos by tabloids was going to be avoided this time. It wasn’t going to be the breathless news report and the rush to memorialize (and if you were the record label, to capitalize) the death of this icon, and he had become an icon by the time of his passing; albeit a disturbed and tragic icon. For all the storm and rage of his life his death would be a quiet, almost unnoticed affair.
So the news spread, first by rumor and finally by confirmation – and then the disc jockeys began their tributes and their interviews and their “how do you feels” – the circus was delayed, but the circus had finally landed.
But it was this day fifty years ago, July 3, 1971 that it happened – we didn’t know at the time, but we eventually would and here is one of those reports that finally surfaced a week later.
In case you forgot, or in case you never knew.