Timeline: 1980s

After working unsuccessfully to get his Jim Morrison biography published, Jerry Hopkins teams up with Danny Sugerman for some help. Danny makes modifications to Hopkin’s original manuscript and uses his connections to get the book published. This biography, along with the Rolling Stone “He’s Hot, He’s Sexy, He’s Dead” magazine cover, is often credited as starting the resurgence of The Doors’ popularity in the ’80s.
For the ten years following Jim Morrison’s death, his grave was barely recognizable, essentially unmarked. If not for the graffiti on the surrounding tombstones telling you the way, it was very hard to identify. That all changed in July of 1981 when Croatian sculptor Mladen Mikulin installed a beautiful marble bust of Jim on the grave site. All three Doors visited Pere Lachaise in 1981 for a dedication ceremony.

Over the next seven years the bust would be continually vandalized and defaced, with fans chipping off pieces of the bust as souvenirs. In 1988, a duo of French fans stole the bust out of the cemetery and it’s whereabouts are unknown. (Do you know where it is? Please contact us!) It was replaced in 1991 with a new headstone with the Greek inscription “ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ” which translates roughly to “True to Himself”.

With the new resurgence of Doors popularity due to the book “No One Here Get’s Out Alive”, The Doors decide to create a television show based on the best selling book. The show would be called “No One Here Gets Out Alive: A Tribute To Jim Morrison” and would contain footage of live performances as well as interviews with Ray, Robby, John, Paul Rothchild, Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins. They produced two versions of the show, one version for basic TV and one “uncensored” version for cable. The censored version was later released on VHS and DVD under different titles including “A Tribute To Jim Morrison” and “No One Here Gets Out Alive”.

Related Info: ‘Tribute To Jim Morrison’ video
Darryl Read was a British singer, poet, actor and writer, who was a large part of the British proto-punk movement in the late ’60s. Ray and Darryl’s 30+ year friendship began in 1981. They played live together for the first time in 1987, and they continued working together on-and-off through the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s. They released three CDs together starting with 1993’s “Beat Existentialist” and ending with the 2007 release of “Bleeding Paradise”. Ray and Darryl had a true mutual respect for each other, and Darryl was always the first to tell you how lucky he felt to have Ray as a friend. When Ray passed away, Darryl was one of the first people to post a tribute on Ray’s Facebook page, plus also submitted his “Ray Story” that was to be featured on Ray’s Facebook page. Tragically, Darryl died in a motorcycle accident in Thailand days after submitting his story. Both of Darryl’s stories can be found on the “Beat Existentialist” and “Bleeding Paradise” links below.

Related Info: Beat Existentialist Freshly Dug Bleeding Paradise
After witnessing a what he saw as a slow degradation of the LA music scene throughout the ’70s, Ray started seeing something new and exciting emerging from within the scene in the early ’80s. Ray started attending more and more shows in the LA area, and saw something he hadn’t seen since the ’60s. He decided he really wanted to get this new type of music out to the masses and approached the band ‘X’ about helping them record a new album. He ended up producing (and performing on) he band X’s breakout album “Los Angeles” as well as their next few releases. He also worked in the studio with bands like Top Jimmy and the Zippers.
After his work in the LA punk scene Ray decided to focus on something he’d been interested in for a long time, and that was the 1937 Carl Orff composition, “Carmina Burana”. Carmina Burana was based on a collection of 24 poems written by a group of renegade Benedictine monks in the 13th century, filled with erotic tales of lust, gambling, drinking and general debauchery. Ray’s 1983 interpretation was a mixture of Gregorian chants and synthesizers with a rock beat.

Related Info: 1983 ‘Carmina Burana’ LP 1983 ‘Carmina Burana’ video
In the midst of the resurgence of Doors popularity, The Doors decided it was time to put out an official compilation of the best Doors performances. This would be the first release containing complete performances as “A Tribute To Jim Morrison” had used only snippets of the songs interwoven into the interviews. Ray also used this as an opportunity to exercise his film-making chops with a brand new video for the song “LA Woman”.

Related Info: ‘Dance On Fire’ video
Ray and Michael C Ford’s lives have been intertwined since 1964 when Michael, Ray and Jim Morrison all attended a class at UCLA taught by director Josef von Sternberg. A year later when The Doors were being formed, Michael was considered for the job of Doors bass player. Although that never came to fruition, Michael became friends with all four Doors, and later collaborated with Jim, John and Ray. In the mid ’80s Ray and Michael started working together with Ray playing improvisational piano while Michael recited his poetry. Over time they played live gigs together, and also went into the studio in 1994 to record a track for Michael’s compilation, “Fire Escapes”. Michael was also part of the very last recording Ray, Robby and John did together, bringing them all together for his 2013 recording, “Look Each Other In The Ears”, featuring Ray on keyboards, Robby on guitar and John Densmore on drums.

Related Info: Fire Escapes Look Each Other In The Ears
Michael McClure and Ray Manzarek’s relationship goes back to the late ’60s, when Michael and Jim Morrison were good friends. Michael and Ray were acquaintances back then, and they really didn’t start working together until 1986 when Michael saw Ray perform at McCabes Guitar shop with Michael C Ford. In that performance, Michael C Ford recited his poetry as Ray improvised on the piano in the background. After that event, Michael McClure approached Ray to discuss if Ray might want to do that with some of his poetry. Soon after, they began a collaboration and friendship that would last almost 30 years. Over that time period they released three CDs, two videos, appeared together in Ray’s movie “Love Her Madly”, and performed live together close to 200 times as a duo and as part of a band they called “Big Mix”. After Ray’s death, Michael was one of a small group of people asked to stand up and speak at Ray’s “Celebration of Life” event in Napa.

Related Info: Love Lion There’s A Word Love Her Madly Piano Poems
In 1986, Ray Manzarek got together with poet/author/punk-rocker Jim Carroll with the idea of working on some songs they had been discussing. With Jim’s words and Ray’s music, they were both excited with the prospects of putting out an album. They got together in Los Angeles and worked on the songs in for a few months. The results were a set of songs with names like “Cops Talk”, “Street of Crocodiles”, “An American Woman”, “Tension”, “Reign of Terror”, “Hurricane”, “American Express” and “Suki Lee”. In mid 1986, they went into the recording studio and recorded most of these tracks. After shopping the album around to various labels without success, they decided against releasing it at that time. But Ray wasn’t going to let all that time and effort go to waste. In 2003, Ray brought out a few of the songs worked through new arrangements with Robby Krieger and Ian Astbury, even preforming a few live in concert (Cops Talk, American Express). Some were also later released during his collaboration with blues guitarist Roy Rogers (Cops Talk, Street of Crocodiles, Tension, Hurricane and An American Woman).
In 1986, while going through The Doors archives, they discovered all of the original 16mm film shot of the Doors 1968 concert of the Hollywood Bowl. It had been originally filmed for inclusion in the Doors’ film, “Feat of Friends”, but they ended up only using “The End” from that performance. The rest of the film sat in the Doors vaults for almost 20 years before being rediscovered. At that point they took all of the film, which included multiple camera angles, a “slo-mo” reel and the original 8-track audio, and edited together the “Live at the Hollywood Bowl” release. The new film was broadcast on MTV, which exposed The Doors to millions of new fans.

Related Info: The Doors Live at the Hollywood Bowl

Share this page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.