Jim Morrison's love/hate relationship with Florida?

JoAnn Ryan

Yes, it's true, Jim Morrison, infamous front man for The Doors, may of in fact had a love/hate relationship with Florida... just like the rest of us, eh?

Hey, not singling Florida out here. Everyone has a love/hate relationship with wherever they're from... or happen to end up in life. Don't you think?

Morrison may have had additional reasons to love/hate Florida though.

Born in Florida

Jim Morrison was born in Melbourne in 1943. His father was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and thus the family moved around a lot. A few years later his sister was born in New Mexico. A year after that his brother was born in California.

Living an essentially nomadic lifestyle, combined with being raised in a household that was not always exactly warm and loving, had a profound effect on Morrison throughout his life.

Return to Florida and first arrest

He did return to Florida for a spell in 1963 though. He lived with his grandparents in Clearwater before attending Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee. Attempting to do the "straighten up and fly right" thing, just like most of us do, I suppose. For him though, it didn't quite work out... which is also true for some of us, isn't it?

The first of several arrests for Morrison occurred during this time. Cementing his legendary bad boy image, he got drunk and caused a lot of mayhem at an FSU football game. Allegedly, he taunted the football players as well as some spectators, resisted arrest and stole a police officer's helmet.

Leaving Florida, again

I guess he decided then and there that Florida wasn't for him because he returned to California soon afterward and transferred to UCLA. An avid reader, he enrolled in the literature program and later finished his degree in the theatre arts department. As a voracious reader and film buff myself, I love that!

With his high IQ, Jim Morrison was indeed a bona fide genius, and soon after began writing the lyrics to some of his most infamous songs. Along with fellow classmate Ray Manzarek, the formation of The Doors soon followed with the addition of Robby Krieger and John Densmore.

I find that just rather magical. The stars aligned perfectly. Love it when that happens!

Another return to Florida and second arrest

Oddly enough, his last arrest took place in Florida as well. It was his first time back in the state since his first arrest, and it's assumed he only returned to Florida so that he could perform at a concert in Miami. I'm sure he ended up regretting it though.

By this time, he was a much different person. He was a huge star.

Not everyone in Miami was impressed with his star status though, as he was charged with public exposure and profanity during the concert. The charges were suspect, as the rest of the band members denied the incidents in question ever even took place.

In an interview published by the L.A. Free Press, Morrison noted how much time and energy was wasted by the subsequent trial, and also how he thought his star status gave him an unfair advantage over those who were not so lucky to have such clout. Perhaps he felt guilt about that, and the overall experience proved to wear on him heavily.

Later pardon by the government... and his father?

It wasn't until thirty years later in 2010, long after his untimely death in 1971, that Morrison was pardoned by Florida governor Charlie Crist.

One additional positive note to end on, even though Morrison had long been estranged from his father and the rest of his family by the time of his 1970 arrest, and although his father had once declared that his famous son had no talent whatsoever as a singer, he did write a letter on his son's behalf to the Florida Probation and Parole Commission District Office. In the letter, his father blamed himself for the estrangement and furthermore said he was proud of his son and his accomplishments.

Aww... how lovely!

Additional sources:

Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison--Biography

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