The Music Lounge

The Ghost Song

Jim Morrison’s poetry in musical motion..

1332572_TheDoors-Ghost“Indian’s scattered on dawn’s highway, bleeding“, lines from the poem The Doors singer penned as he recalled a childhood experience when he saw native American Indians involved in a car accident. The late singer recorded poetry recitals which would be used seven years after his death in 1971 for the album ‘An American Prayer’ on which the existing band members recorded music to accompany Morrison’s poetry.

An American Prayer received mixed reviews upon its release, the band’s former producer, Paul A. Rothchild described the album as ‘the rape of Jim Morrison’ and shortly before his death, Morrison had approached the producer Lalo Schifrin as a contributor to a solo album featuring this and other poems. Whilst Morrison didn’t intend to invite any of the band’s members to take part in the project they insisted that he would have been happy with them releasing the album and ‘appreciated their best intentions’ We shall never know.

The Ghost Song is for me, the stand-out track of the album, the poem/lyric flows with all the freedom Morrison and his peers sang about from ’67 until the early 70s and the deaths of Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison himself at the age of twenty seven in Paris. “A vast radiant beach and a cool jewelled moon. Couples naked race down by its quiet side, and we laugh like soft mad children, smug in the wooly cotton brains of infancy” Despite its critics I cannot imagine a better soundtrack to these words than this, its jazz-funk feel gives the poem a natural groove and the images of a heavily bearded, über cool Morrison in the video remind us of a brilliant, fallen star.

Jim Morrison was the epitome of an uncontrollable icon, an alcoholic who gave up the clean shaven, leather trouser look by the late sixties to embrace the carefree, hippy, counterculture style, he was the embodiment of the American rock scene and his death was a devastating blow to his band mates who, despite their considerable individual talent, knew exactly who and what drove the band’s huge commercial success. So here is a track with a difference, listen out for the bass line and the keyboards, it is a reminder of how talented the band were and of a young man who blazed the trail for the long-haired ‘rock gods’ who would follow in the years to come.

 

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