Ode to a Deep Love: Jim Morrison & Pamela Courson

Ode to a Deep Love: Jim Morrison & Pamela Courson

They say opposites attract, and though that may be true, there is a connective factor that emerges once our love interest digs the same type of music we do. A common ground is created; a mutual understanding of what sets each other on fire. As I’ve grown to discover in my own life, nothing bonds a relationship more than music – especially rock and roll music. It’s an obsessive attraction most of us KQ fans share, and there is really nothing better than sharing that feeling with someone you care about. Anyone who has fallen in love with a batshit crazy music lover must understand how I feel.

Since today is Valentine’s Day, I’d like to remember one of the most intriguing and deepest loves in all of rock and roll: Jim Morrison from The Doors and his “cosmic mate” Pamela Courson.

The Doors allowed Jim to break though and express his most powerful thoughts about love, life and death through poetic lyrics that still appeal to many people today. Though many have felt a special bond towards his craft, there was one woman in particular who deeply connected with his words rather than his rockstar persona, so much that The Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek described her as Jim’s “other half.” Her name was Pamela Courson: the beautiful redhead who instantly captured Jim’s heart and remained close with him until his death in Paris in 1971.

Jim spoke to Pam often through his lyrics and his poetry. Songs like Love Street, Queen of the Highway, My Girl and Blue Sunday, along with many of his poems, were said to be written about her. I believe many more Doors songs were inspired by their love; some are just a little less obvious than the others. Shaman’s Blues, for example, is a song that makes you want to know everything that’s going on in Jim Morrison’s head. Now I can’t interpret every line of every song — only The Doors themselves know the true meaning of their lyrics — but I feel that their music is not intended to be entirely deciphered. Like poetry, one can take his or her own meaning out of any compilation of words and feelings. We all have our own thoughts that circulate in our minds all day long, and music and lyrical poetry are outlets that often help them rise to the surface.

Personally, when I listen to Shaman’s Blues, I think of a lover, one that is far away but is still very much a part of me. Though I am young, I feel I’ve encountered a strong enough love that has the stamina to stay with me for life, even though my independent curiosity is intensely present. Like many young people around me, commitment is not something I need, though the desire is there hidden behind it all. Unfortunately at this point, distance controls our situation and there’s no denying an obvious disconnect that neither of us can control.  

How you must of think and wondered
How I must feel
Out on the meadows
While you run the field
I’m alone for you
And I cry

I feel that these lines from Shaman’s Blues epitomize exactly what’s going on my relationship; how lost I feel when we are separated. It’s an obvious feeling that many must relate to but are too afraid to admit. The fact that Morrison can state his emotions so boldly inspires me to be more courageous to do so my own life. Whether he’s speaking about his relationship with Pam in this song, or if he’s singing from her point of view, or about someone else entirely, his feelings are out in the open. I so badly want to know the details but instead I do what I do with every other Doors song: I drop my head, start to move my body as if it’s an instrument being used to construct the melody, and escape completely. I lose myself in the music and shout the lyrics directly to the person I’m picturing in my mind. Morrison’s passion seeps into my thought without hesitation and allows me to make the song my own.

Pamela’s caring devotion to Jim was one of true love, and she was the one who pushed him to focus on his writing. The longing to be with her, along with the exhaustion of his very public lifestyle, led him to move to Paris to focus on his poetry. He used his feelings towards Pam to write some of his most powerful poems dwelling on some of the most unexplainable feelings. When Jim published his poetry book, The New Creatures, he even dedicated to her. It makes me extremely sad that he passed away just as he was beginning to understand himself and his prime focus. I like to think he wanted to simplify his life and start a new beginning with Pamela.

Jim and Pam’s love feels familiar to me; it feels genuine and real. The only thing I have to help me understand it is Jim’s lyrics and poetry. It seems to me that they have an eternal love — something I wish to endure in my own life, though the thought of it is honestly a little scary to me. But I do think that once we decide to let go of everything and jump into a whirlwind of emotions with another being, that’s when the real love starts and fear starts to slip away. Thankfully I’ll always have my rock and roll to help see me through it all, and if I’m fortunate enough, I’ll be able to share that with my own deep love one day.