Remaining Doors Pay Homage
To Jim Morrison On 60th Birthday

Angela Dolandmon, Associated Press, December 8, 2003

Paris - Jim Morrison's former band mates burned candles, a rose and a poem at his grave in Paris on Monday, a tribute to the "Light My Fire" singer and cult figure on what would have been his 60th birthday.

"We're trying to evoke the spirit of Jim," Robby Krieger, former guitarist for The Doors, told dozens of fans kept behind police barriers. Many held white candles and old album covers.

Had the hard-living singer survived to turn 60, he would have been "happy, laughing, joking, a good man," Ray Manzarek, The Doors' keyboardist, told The Associated Press. The two were in Paris for concerts with their new band, The Doors 21st Century.

Morrison's tomb was covered with votive candles, flowers, beer cans, photos and a silvery "Happy Birthday" banner. Security agents patrolled the shady, cobblestoned Pere Lachaise cemetery.

After burning the poem and rose left behind by fans, Manzarek and Krieger asked reporters to leave for a moment of silent contemplation.

John Densmore, drummer for The Doors, did not attend. He filed a lawsuit against Manzarek and Krieger in February for breach of contract for touring without him under the name of a band that includes the words "The Doors."

Another lawsuit was filed by Morrison's parents and in-laws in May, accusing Manzarek and Krieger of tarnishing the former group's reputation by continuing to make new music and tour.

Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment on July 3, 1971, at age 27. French police said he died of a heart attack, though his regular use of drugs and alcohol was likely a factor.

One fan at the graveside, Martin Skotniczny, a 23-year-old Polish art student, hitchhiked for 30 hours to get to Paris for the anniversary.

"Jim's music and poetry changed my life," said Skotniczny, who wears his hair shaggy and shoulder-length like Morrison's was. "He showed me a different side, a darker side, of my own mind."

Other notables buried at Pere Lachaise include writers Oscar Wilde and Marcel Proust, painter Eugene Delacroix and singer Edith Piaf.

Morrison's grave, which has a sober gray headstone marked James Douglas Morrison, attracts the most attention, and a full-time security guard watches over it. That doesn't prevent Morrison fans from leaving behind graffiti, some of it referencing his songs.

One fan scrawled on a nearby mausoleum: "This is not the end."


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