A Supermarket in California
"A Supermarket in California" is a poem by American poet Allen Ginsberg first published in Howl and Other Poems in 1956. In the poem, the narrator visits a supermarket in California and imagines finding Federico García Lorca and Walt Whitman shopping. Whitman, discussed in "Howl", is a character common in Ginsberg's poems, is referred to as Ginsberg's poetic model. "A Supermarket in California", written in Berkeley and published in 1956, was intended to be a tribute to Whitman in the centennial year of the first edition of Leaves of Grass. For its critique of mainstream American culture, the poem is considered to be one of the major works of the Beat Generation, which included other authors of the era such as Jack Kerouac, William Seward Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Ginsberg achieved critical success in 1956 with the publication of Howl and Other Poems, with "Howl" being the most popular of the works in the collection. Like "Howl", "A Supermarket in California" was a critique of postwar America, yet in the poem the narrator focuses more on consumerist aspects of society by contrasting his generation with Whitman's.
"A Supermarket in California" is a prose poem with an irregular format that does not adhere to traditional poetic form including stanza and rhyme scheme. The format is a resemblance of the long-winded aspect of speech; the long-line style is attributed to Whitman and "as with Whitman, by the time we have traversed the stretch of one of these long lines, we have experienced a rapid set of transformations." This is shown within the poem’s location, the metaphorical supermarket and its symbolism of Ginsberg’s America. The form of Ginsberg's poem comes from "his knowledge of Walt Whitman's long-line style", an experiment for Ginsberg before he adapted it to all his works on. In the opening line, the poet addresses Whitman, or Whitman's spirit as he finds himself "shopping for images", which Douglas Allen Burns suggests puts a capitalist spin on the situation described in the poem; the narrator sees families of consumers shopping in the market alongside the figures of deceased poets Lorca and Whitman, both of whom were homosexual poets like Ginsberg himself.
The poet notes the sexuality of Whitman as he describes the character as a "childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys". Bill Morgan writes that Ginsberg always saw Whitman as a kindred spirit in regards to their similar sexualities, seeing "a self-imposed repression of his innate queerness,", evident in the poem through its idolization of Whitman. Betsy Erkkila, in Whitman the Political Poet, suggests that Ginsberg brings Whitman into the poem to show the difference between the America described in the works of Whitman and that which exists in 1955 when "A Supermarket in California" is written. In her opinion, "America" is not described as being a physical place but one that exists in the imagination of the poet and can "live and die only with him". Ginsberg introduces the character of Lorca in line 7, asking "..and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?". Lorca was a famous Spanish poet and playwright who had died in 1936, yet his spirit appears in the supermarket in 1955 when the poem is written.
Lorca's works were classified as surrealistic and were considered to have homoerotic tones. In the final lines of the poem, Ginsberg turns once again to the image of Whitman, asking: Ah, dear father, lonely old courage- teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear in the black waters of Lethe? In Greek mythology, Charon was the ferryman who carried the dead into the underworld, across the river Styx; the River Lethe was a different river in the underworld, which caused those who drank its waters to experience complete forgetfulness. The shades of the dead were required to drink the waters of the Lethe in order to forget their earthly life. In Story Line, Ian Marshall suggests that the poem is written to show the differences in American life depicted by Whitman and that which faces Ginsberg in the 1950s: "It's the distance of a century—with Civil War and the'triumph' of the Industrial Revolution and Darwinism and Freud and two world wars, mustard gas, the hydrogen bomb, the advent of the technological era, IBM."
To Marshall, the poem is meant to show the change from 19th century optimism to the "ennui" portrayed in Ginsberg's poems. Marshall's notion about Ginsberg's portrayal of the evolution of society is shown within the lines, "I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas?" In Whitman's day, he would have known the answer to those questions because back one would go to the farmer directly to get the products unlike the modern American supermarkets where one does not know where the products come from. Describing the relationship between Ginsberg and Whitman in "Howl" and "A Supermarket in California", Byrne R. S. Fone states that sexuality homosexuality, plays a key role in the poem's presentation of reality: "Not since Whitman had an American homosexual poet dared to intimate, let alone announce, that joy not pain was the result of homosexual rape and to suggest that sex not philosophy might be the most powerful weapon against oppression." Burns adds that the use of Lorca and Whitman is intended to show the counter-cultural aspects of Ginsberg's art.
The poetry of Lorca and Whitman, to Burns, express a value system that contradicts everything the modern supermarket represents. Whereas "love" is what America represents in the works of previous poets, the America of Ginsberg's poetry is best presented through poetical references to "supermarkets and automobiles". Critic Nick Selby, in an essay titled "
Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti is an American poet, socialist activist, the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. He is the author of poetry, fiction, art criticism, film narration. Ferlinghetti is best known for his first collection of poems, A Coney Island of the Mind, translated into nine languages, with sales of more than one million copies. Ferlinghetti turned 100 in March 2019, leading the city of San Francisco to proclaim his birthday, March 24, "Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day". Lawrence Ferlinghetti was born on March 1919, in Yonkers, New York, his father died before he was born and he was separated from his mother after his birth. He attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he earned a B. A. in journalism in 1941. He started in journalism by writing sports for The Daily Tar Heel, he published his first short stories in Carolina Magazine, for which Thomas Wolfe had written. Following service in the U. S. Navy throughout World War II, Ferlinghetti earned a master's degree in English literature from Columbia University in 1947 with a thesis on John Ruskin and the British painter J. M. W. Turner.
From Columbia, he went to Paris to continue his studies and earned a doctoral degree in comparative literature with a dissertation on the city as a symbol in modern poetry. Ferlinghetti met his future wife, Selden Kirby-Smith, granddaughter of Edmund Kirby-Smith, in 1946 aboard a ship en route to France, they both were heading to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Kirby-Smith went by the name Kirby; as the owner of the bookstore, City Lights, Ferlinghetti was arrested for publishing Allen Ginsberg's Howl, which resulted in a lengthy First Amendment trial. Ferlinghetti is considered by some as a Beat poet as well, yet Ferlinghetti does not consider himself to be a Beat poet, as he says in the 2013 documentary "Ferlinghetti: Rebirth of Wonder "Don't call me a Beat. I was never a Beat poet."Ferlinghetti penned much of his early poetry in the vein of T. S. Eliot. Ferlinghetti told poet and critic Jack Foley, "Everything I wrote sounded just like him." Yet in his poems inspired by Eliot such as Ferlinghetti's "Constantly Risking Absurdity," Ferlinghetti is the populist as he compares the poet first to a trapeze artist in a circus and to a "little charleychaplin man."Critics note that Ferlinghetti's poetry takes on a visual dimension as befits this poet, a painter.
As the poet and critic Jack Foley states, Farlinghetti's poems "tell little stories, make'pictures'." Ferlinghetti as a poet paints with his words pictures full of color capturing the average American experience as seen in his poem "In Golden Gate Park that Day: "In Golden Gate Park that day/ a man and his wife were coming along/... He was wearing green suspenders... while his wife was carrying a bunch of grapes." In the first poem in A Coney Island of the Mind entitled, "In Goya's Greatest Scenes, We Seem To See," Ferlinghetti describes with words the "suffering humanity" that Goya portrayed by brush in his paintings. Ferlinghetti concludes his poem with the recognition that "suffering humanity" today might be painted as average Americans drowning in the materialism: "on a freeway fifty lanes wide/ a concrete continent/ spaced with bland billboards/ illustrating imbecile illusions of happiness."Ferlinghetti takes a distinctly populist approach to poetry, emphasizing throughout his work "that art should be accessible to all people, not just a handful of educated intellectuals.
Larry Smith, an American author and editor, stated that Ferlinghetti is a poet, "of the people engaged conscientiously in the creation of new poetic and cultural forms." This perception of art as a broad sociocultural force, as opposed to an elitist academic enterprise, is explicitly evident in Poem 9 from Pictures of the Gone World, wherein the speaker states: "'Truth is not the secret of a few' / yet / you would maybe think so / the way some / librarians / and cultural ambassadors and / museum directors / act". In addition to Ferlinghetti's aesthetic egalitarianism, this passage highlights two additional formal features of the poet's work, his incorporation of a common American idiom as well as his experimental approach to line arrangement which, as Crale Hopkins notes, is inherited from the poetry of William Carlos Williams. Reflecting his broad aesthetic concerns, Ferlinghetti's poetry engages with several non-literary artistic forms, most notably jazz music and painting. William Lawlor asserts that much of Ferlinghetti's free verse attempts to capture the spontaneity and imaginative creativity of modern jazz.
Soon after settling in San Francisco in 1950, Ferlinghetti met the poet Kenneth Rexroth, whose concepts of philosophical anarchism influenced his political development. He self-identifies as a philosophical anarchist associated with other anarchists in North Beach, he sold Italian anarchist newspapers at the City Lights Bookstore. A critic of U. S. foreign policy, Ferlinghetti has taken a stand against war. While Ferlinghetti has expressed that he is "an anarchist at heart," he concedes that the world would need to be populated by "saints" in order for pure anarchism to be lived practically. Hence he espouses. Ferlinghetti's work challenges the artist's role in the world, he urged poets to be engaged in the cultural life of the country. As he writes in Populist Manifesto: "Poets, come out of your closets, Open your windows, open your doors, You have been holed up too long in your cl
Beatnik was a media stereotype prevalent throughout the 1950s to mid-1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s. Elements of the beatnik trope included pseudo-intellectualism, drug use, a cartoonish depiction of real-life people along with the spiritual quest of Jack Kerouac's autobiographical fiction. In 1948, Kerouac introduced the phrase "Beat Generation", generalizing from his social circle to characterize the underground, anticonformist youth gathering in New York at that time; the name came up in conversation with John Clellon Holmes, who published an early Beat Generation novel titled Go, along with the manifesto This Is the Beat Generation in The New York Times Magazine. In 1954, Nolan Miller published his third novel Why I Am So Beat, detailing the weekend parties of four students; the adjective "beat" was introduced to the group by Herbert Huncke, though Kerouac expanded the meaning of the term. "Beat" came from underworld slang—the world of hustlers, drug addicts and petty thieves, where Allen Ginsberg and Kerouac sought inspiration.
"Beat" was slang for "beaten down" or downtrodden, but to Kerouac and Ginsberg, it had a spiritual connotation as in "beatitude." Other adjectives discussed by Holmes and Kerouac were "found" and "furtive." Kerouac felt. In "Aftermath: The Philosophy of the Beat Generation," Kerouac criticized what he saw as a distortion of his visionary, spiritual ideas: The Beat Generation, a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, Allen Ginsberg in an wilder way, in the late Forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters rising and roaming America, serious and hitchhiking everywhere, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way—a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word "beat" spoken on street corners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America—beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction. We'd heard old 1910 Daddy Hipsters of the streets speak the word that way, with a melancholy sneer, it never meant juvenile delinquents, it meant characters of a special spirituality who didn't gang up but were solitary Bartlebies staring out the dead wall window of our civilization...
Kerouac explained what he meant by "beat" at a Brandeis Forum, "Is There A Beat Generation?", on November 8, 1958 at New York's Hunter College Playhouse. The seminar's panelists were Kerouac, James A. Wechsler, Princeton anthropologist Ashley Montagu and author Kingsley Amis. Wechsler and Amis wore suits, while Kerouac was clad in black jeans, ankle boots and a checkered shirt. Reading from a prepared text, Kerouac reflected on his beat beginnings: It is because I am Beat, that is, I believe in beatitude and that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son to it... Who knows, but that the universe is not one vast sea of compassion the veritable holy honey, beneath all this show of personality and cruelty? Kerouac's statement was published as "The Origins of the Beat Generation". In that article, Kerouac noted how his original beatific philosophy had been ignored amid maneuvers by several pundits, among them San Francisco newspaper columnist Herb Caen, to alter Kerouac's concept with jokes and jargon: I went one afternoon to the church of my childhood and had a vision of what I must have meant with "Beat"... the vision of the word Beat as being to mean beatific...
People began to call themselves beatniks, jazzniks, bugniks, I was called the "avatar" of all this. In light of what he considered beat to mean and what beatnik had come to mean, Kerouac once observed to a reporter, "I'm not a beatnik, I'm a Catholic", showing the reporter a painting of Pope Paul VI and saying, "You know who painted that? Me." In her memoir, Minor Characters, Joyce Johnson described how the stereotype was absorbed into American culture: "Beat Generation" sold books, sold black turtleneck sweaters and bongos and dark glasses, sold a way of life that seemed like dangerous fun—thus to be either condemned or imitated. Suburban couples could have beatnik parties on Saturday nights and drink too much and fondle each other's wives. Kerouac biographer Ann Charters noted that the term "Beat" was appropriated to become a Madison Avenue marketing tool: The term caught on because it could mean anything, it could be exploited in the affluent wake of the decade's extraordinary technological inventions.
For example, advertisements by "hip" record companies in New York used the idea of the Beat Generation to sell their new long playing vinyl records. Lee Streiff, an acquaintance of many members of the movement who went on to become one of its chroniclers, believed that the news media saddled the movement for the long term with a set of false images: Reporters are not well versed in artistic movements, or the history of literature or art, and most are certain that their readers, or viewers, are of limited intellectual ability and must have things explained in any case. Thus, the reporters in the media tried to relate something, new to preexisting frameworks and images that were only vaguely appropriate in their efforts to explain and simplify. With a variety of oversimplified and conventional formulas at their disposal, they fell back on the nearest stereotypical approximation of what the phenomenon resembled, as they saw it, and worse, they did not see it and at that. They got a quotation here and a photograph there — and it was their job to wrap it up in a comprehensible package — and if it seemed to violate the prevailin
The Yage Letters
For the musical group by this name, see The Yage Letters. The Yage Letters, first published in 1963, is a collection of correspondence and other writings by Beat Generation authors William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, it was issued by City Lights Books. Most of the letters date back to 1953 and chronicle Burroughs' visit to the Amazon rainforest in search of yagé, a plant with near-mythical hallucinogenic and some say telepathic qualities. Along the way and Ginsberg share other stories and anecdotes, including some concepts Burroughs would use in novels such as Naked Lunch; the book ends with further correspondence written in 1960 detailing Ginsberg's experiments with yagé. Beyond the letters themselves, the book is noteworthy for two short pieces by Burroughs; the anarchic "Roosevelt After Inauguration", a savage parody of American politics in which "a purple-assed baboon" is appointed to the United States Supreme Court, was omitted from the original edition of the book on the grounds it might be considered obscene.
The story was restored to The Yage Letters in a reprinting by City Lights. The second notable piece serves as the epilogue to the book. "I Am Dying, Meester?" is considered a poem by some and is an early demonstration of the "cut-up technique" espoused by Burroughs in the 1960s, shuffling together fragments of sentences and thoughts from other texts to create a surreal new narrative. Some sources, including City Lights Books itself, consider The Yage Letters to be a novel. According to the back cover of a 1990s edition of the book and Ginsberg began compiling the work in late 1953, not long after the original set of letters was written, but it was not published for nearly a decade. In April 2006, City Lights Books published Yage Letters Redux, a new edition of the book edited by Oliver Harris; the book has been expanded with an extensive essay on its history, along with unpublished material by Burroughs and Ginsberg. Harris established that the 1953 letters were in fact fabricated from notes and a prose narrative which Burroughs first wrote
Lucien Carr was a key member of the original New York City circle of the Beat Generation in the 1940s. Carr was born in New York City. After his parents separated in 1930, young Lucien and his mother moved back to St. Louis. At the age of 12, Carr met David Kammerer, a man who would have a profound influence on the course of his life. Kammerer was a teacher of English and a physical education instructor at Washington University in St. Louis. Kammerer was a childhood friend of William S. Burroughs, another scion of St. Louis wealth who knew the Carr family. Burroughs and Kammerer had gone to primary school together, as young men they traveled together and explored Paris's nightlife: Burroughs said Kammerer "was always funny, the veritable life of the party, without any middle-class morality." Kammerer met Carr when he was leading a Boy Scout Troop of which Carr was a member, became infatuated with the teenager. Over the next five years, Kammerer pursued Carr, showing up wherever the young man was enrolled at school.
Carr would insist, as would his friends and family, that Kammerer had been hounding Carr sexually with a predatory persistence that would today be considered stalking. Whether Kammerer's attentions were frightening or flattering to the younger man is now a matter of some debate among those who chronicle the history of the Beat Generation. What is not in dispute is that Carr moved from school to school: from the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, to the University of Chicago, that Kammerer followed him to each one; the two of them socialized on occasion. Carr always insisted, Burroughs believed, that he never had sex with Kammerer, he explained away this act as a "work of art," but the apparent suicide attempt, which Carr's family believed was catalyzed by Kammerer, led to a two-week stay in the psychiatric ward at Cook County hospital. Carr's mother, who had by this time moved to New York City, brought her son there and enrolled him at Columbia University, close to her own home.
If Marion Carr was seeking to protect her son from David Kammerer, she did not succeed. Kammerer soon quit his job and followed Carr to New York, moving into an apartment on Morton Street in the West Village. William Burroughs moved to New York, to an apartment a block away from Kammerer; the two older men remained friends. As a freshman at Columbia, Carr was recognized as an exceptional student with a roving mind. A fellow student from Lionel Trilling's humanities class described him as "stunningly brilliant.... It seemed as if he and Trilling were having a private conversation." He joined the Philolexian Society. It was at Columbia that Carr befriended Allen Ginsberg in the Union Theological Seminary dormitory on West 122nd Street, when Ginsberg knocked on the door to find out, playing a recording of a Brahms trio. Soon after, a young woman Carr had befriended, Edie Parker, introduced Carr to her boyfriend, Jack Kerouac twenty-two and nearing the end of his short career as a sailor. Carr, in turn, introduced Ginsberg and Kerouac to one another – and both of them to his older friend with more first-hand experience at decadence: William Burroughs.
The core of the New York Beat scene had formed, with Carr at the center. As Ginsberg put it, "Lou was the glue." Carr, Kerouac and Burroughs explored New York's grimier underbelly together. It was at this time that they fell in with Herbert Huncke, an underworld character and writer and poet. Carr had a taste for provocative behavior, for bawdy songs and for coarse antics aimed at shocking those with staid middle-class values. According to Kerouac, Carr once convinced him to get into an empty beer keg, which Carr rolled down Broadway. Ginsberg wrote in his journal at the time: "Know these words, you speak the Carr language: fruit, clitoris, feces, womb, Rimbaud." It was Carr who first introduced Ginsberg to the poetry and the story of 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Rimbaud would be a major influence on Ginsberg's poetry. Ginsberg was plainly fascinated by Carr, whom he viewed as a self-destructive egotist but as a possessor of real genius. Fellow students saw Carr as talented and dissolute, a prank-loving late-night reveler who haunted the dark pockets of Chelsea and Greenwich Village until dawn, without making a dent in his brilliant performance in the classroom.
On one occasion, asked why he was carrying a jar of jam across the campus, Carr explained that he was "going on a date." Returning to his dorm in the early hours another morning to find that his bed had been short-sheeted, Carr retaliated by spraying the rooms of his dorm-mates with the hallway fire-hose – while they were still sleeping. Carr developed what he called the "New Vision," a thesis recycled from Emersonian transcendentalism and Paris Bohemianism which helped undergird the Beats' creative rebellion: Naked self-expression is the seed of creativity; the artist's consciousness is expanded by derangement of the senses. Art eludes conv
The Human Be-In was an event in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park Polo Field on January 14, 1967. It was a prelude to San Francisco's Summer of Love, which made the Haight-Ashbury district a symbol of American counterculture and introduced the word "psychedelic" to suburbia; the Human Be-In focused the key ideas of the 1960s counterculture: personal empowerment and political decentralization, communal living, ecological awareness, higher consciousness, acceptance of illicit psychedelics use, radical liberal political consciousness. The hippie movement developed out of disaffected student communities around San Francisco State University, City College and Berkeley and in San Francisco's beat generation poets and jazz hipsters, who combined a search for intuitive spontaneity with a rejection of "middle-class morality". Allen Ginsberg personified the transition between the hippie generations; the Human Be-In took its name from a chance remark by the artist Michael Bowen made at the Love Pageant Rally.
The playful name combined humanist values with the scores of sit-ins, reforming college and university practices and eroding the vestiges of entrenched segregation, starting with the lunch counter sit-ins of 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee. The first major teach-in had been organized by Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Michigan, 24–25 March 1965; the Human Be-In was announced on the cover of the fifth issue of the San Francisco Oracle as "A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In". The occasion was a new California law banning the use of the psychedelic drug LSD that had come into effect on October 6, 1966; the speakers at the rally were all invited by the main organizer. They included Timothy Leary in his first San Francisco appearance, who set the tone that afternoon with his famous phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out" and Richard Alpert, poets like Allen Ginsberg, who chanted mantras, Gary Snyder and Michael McClure. Other counterculture gurus included comedian Dick Gregory, Lenore Kandel, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jerry Rubin, Alan Watts.
Music was provided by a host of local rock bands including Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Blue Cheer most of whom had been staples of the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom. "Underground chemist" Owsley Stanley provided massive amounts of his "White Lightning" LSD, specially produced for the event, as well as 75 twenty-pound turkeys, for free distribution by the Diggers. The national media were stunned, publicity about this event leading to the mass movement of young people from all over America to descend on the Haight-Ashbury area. Reports were unable to agree whether 30,000 people showed up at the Be-In. Soon every gathering was an "-In" of some kind: Just four weeks was Bob Fass's Human Fly-In the Emmett Grogan inspired Sweep-In, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In comedy television show began airing over NBC just a year on January 22, 1968; this was followed by the first "Yip-In", "Love-In" and "Bed-In". The Human Be-In was recalled by poet Allen Cohen as a meld that brought together philosophically opposed factions of the San Francisco-based counterculture at the time: on one side, the Berkeley radicals, who were tending toward increased militancy in response to the U.
S. government's Vietnam war policies, and, on the other side, the rather non-political Haight-Ashbury hippies, who urged peaceful protest. Their means were drastically different. According to Cohen's own account, his friend Bowen provided much of the "organizing energy" for the event, Bowen's personal connections strongly influenced its character; the counterculture that surfaced at the "Human Be-In" encouraged people to "question authority" with regard to civil rights, women's rights, consumer rights. Underground newspapers and radio stations served as its alternative media; the Be-In spawned a series of Digital Be-Ins. A UK theatre company, Theatre 14167, takes its name from the date of the Be-In. Bed-In Teach-in Central Park be-in Counterculture of the 1960s Timeline of 1960s counterculture Grogan, Emmett. Ringolevio: A Life Played for Keeps. Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-1168-0. Human Be-In 50th Anniversary Allen Cohen's website, with history from an insider. Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s'Rockument' commentary and sound bites.
1967 Berkeley Poster for'Pow-Wow: A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In' Loren Sears' Human Be-In film at'The Diggers Archive'
James Douglas Morrison was an American singer and poet, best remembered as the lead vocalist of the rock band the Doors. Due to his poetic lyrics, distinctive voice, wild personality and the dramatic circumstances surrounding his life and early death, Morrison is regarded by music critics and fans as one of the most iconic and influential frontmen in rock music history. Since his death, his fame has endured as one of popular culture's most rebellious and oft-displayed icons, representing the generation gap and youth counterculture. Morrison co-founded the Doors during the summer of 1965 in California; the band spent two years in obscurity until shooting to prominence with their #1 single in the United States, "Light My Fire," taken from their self-titled debut album. Morrison wrote or co-wrote many of the Doors' songs, including the hits "Light My Fire", "Break On Through," "The End," "Moonlight Drive," "People are Strange", "Hello, I Love You," "Roadhouse Blues," "L. A. Woman," and "Riders on the Storm."
Morrison recorded a total of six studio albums with the Doors, all of which sold well and received critical acclaim. Though the Doors recorded two more albums after Morrison died, his death affected the band's fortunes, they split up in 1973. In 1993, Jim Morrison, as a member of the Doors, was inducted into the Roll Hall of Fame. Morrison was well known for improvising spoken word poetry passages while the band played live. Morrison was ranked #47 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time," and number 22 on Classic Rock magazine's "50 Greatest Singers in Rock." Ray Manzarek, who co-founded the Doors with him, said Morrison "embodied hippie counterculture rebellion."Morrison developed an alcohol dependency during the 1960s, which at times affected his performances on stage. He died unexpectedly at the age of 27 in Paris; as no autopsy was performed, the cause of Morrison's death remains unknown. James Douglas Morrison was born on December 8, 1943 in Melbourne, the son of Clara Virginia and Rear Admiral George Stephen Morrison, USN.
His ancestors were Scottish and English. Admiral Morrison commanded United States naval forces during the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which provided the pretext for the US involvement in the Vietnam War in 1965. Morrison had a younger sister, Anne Robin, born in 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1947, when he was four years old, Morrison witnessed a car accident in the desert, during which a truck overturned and some Native Americans were lying injured at the side of the road, he referred to this incident in the Doors' song "Peace Frog" on their 1970 album Morrison Hotel, as well as in the spoken word performances "Dawn's Highway" and "Ghost Song" on the posthumous 1978 album An American Prayer. Morrison believed this incident to be the most formative event of his life, made repeated references to it in the imagery in his songs and interviews, his family does not recall this traffic incident happening in the way. According to the Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, Morrison's family did drive past a car accident on an Indian reservation when he was a child, he was upset by it.
The book The Doors, written by the surviving members of the Doors, explains how different Morrison's account of the incident was from that of his father. This book quotes his father as saying, "We went by several Indians, it did make an impression on him. He always thought about that crying Indian." This is contrasted with Morrison's tale of "Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death." In the same book, his sister is quoted as saying, "He enjoyed telling that story and exaggerating it. He said he saw a dead Indian by the side of the road, I don't know if that's true."Raised a military brat, Morrison spent part of his childhood in San Diego, completed third grade at Fairfax County Elementary School Fairfax County and attended Charles H. Flato Elementary School in Kingsville, while his father was stationed at NAS Kingsville in 1952, he continued at St. John's Methodist School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Longfellow School Sixth Grade Graduation Program from San Diego, California.
In 1957, Morrison attended Alameda High School in Alameda, for his freshman and first semester of his sophomore year. He finished high school in Alexandria, graduating from George Washington High School in June 1961. Cass Elliot attended the school several years earlier. A voracious reader from an early age, Morrison was inspired by the writings of several philosophers and poets, he was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, whose views on aesthetics and the Apollonian and Dionysian duality would appear in his conversation and songs. Some of his formative influences were Plutarch's Parallel Lives and the works of the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, whose style would influence the form of Morrison's short prose poems, he was influenced by William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Baudelaire, Molière, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Honoré de Balzac and Jean Cocteau, along with most of the French existentialist philosophers, his senior year English teacher said, "Jim read as much and more than any student in class, but everything he read was so offbeat I had another teacher check to see if the books Jim was reporting on existed.
I suspected he was making them up, as they were English books on sixteenth-