This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat
Jim Morrison aka The Lizard King, is the bad boy and frontman of classic rock and blues rock. I’m not interested in heavy metal and punk rock, where I’m sure you’ll find guys who got into more trouble and perhaps had even bigger addiction problems. Curt Cobain and Axel Rose come to mind damn fast for me. But, the heavy reliance and influence of black leather that you saw at least in the 1980s and 1990s especially with the leather jeans, boots, jackets, came from Jim Morrison. Which just to my point about how big a deal The Lizard King is when it comes to rock and roll and not just classic rock and blues rock where he made his biggest impact. But again heavy metal when you’re talking about wardrobe with the leather jeans, boots and jackets. That Jim Morrison made a staple of his wardrobe in the late 1960s, when almost no one else outside biker culture was wearing at all.
I don’t know of a frontman that meant more to his band than Jim Morrison. Not to take anything away from Ray Manzarek especially, who was great on the keyboards and also had a great singing voice. And Robby Krieger was an excellent guitarist and John Densmore could play the drums. But The Doors are famous because of Jim Morrison, but Morrison wouldn’t have needed The Doors at least the group that was put together to be famous and successful. How many other rock frontman at least from that generation, had the intelligence, the wit, the writing ability and then throw in the style that The Lizard King had. In an era where frontman looked somewhat preppy except for the long hair and looked like hippies, I mean we are talking about the late 1960s after all, Jim Morrison is wearing a black leather suit. Skin-tight black leather jeans, that would be called skinny leathers today. With a black leather suit jacket, an Indian concho belt and black suede and leather boots.
Jim Morrison not just put leather jeans on the map in rock and roll, but leather period. To the point that Elvis Presley starts wearing a black leather suit in the late 60s and early 70s. John Kay, from Steppenwolf has his own Lizard King outfit. With a leather vest, black leather jeans and an Indian belt. The hard rockers of the 1980s Kiss, Motley Crew, Guns N Roses, as well as heavy metal bands like Skid Row, are all wearing leather jackets and leather jeans. But much more casually than Jim Morrison and wore biker jackets and t-shirts with their leathers. Morrison, again was a rebel and did his own thing and did it so well that he made it so cool and had others following him. To the point that there are countless Doors cover bands and Jim Morrison covers. With the Jim Morrison figure always in his black leather and concho belt and at times with the black leather jacket.
But with The Lizard King, it’s not just his leather rock and roll fashion. And the fact that perhaps no other man has ever wore a black leather suit better. Or the fact that thousands of women went to Doors concerts to check the man out every night and to see what he would do on the stage next. But it was also his music and the fact that he and The Doors did their own thing and made their own music and to a certain extent sung about the times the 1960s, but did it their own way. Morrison, especially didn’t want to fit in some place, but instead create his own place that was even different from his own band members from again how he carried and presented himself on stage. And then see if others would follow him. The Baby Boom Generation, the 1960s rockers who made it big in that decade, lost three great stars. Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. But I’m not sure as great as Jimi and Janis would’ve been even combined would’ve they’ve meant more to rock and roll than Jim Morrison. The Lizard King was one in a kind and great at simply being himself as an entertainer. And we haven’t seen anyone as good, or similar since.