Gillian G Gaar: The Doors: The Illustrated History

Legend of the lost.

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If you’re hoping to read a new twist on The Doors’ legend, look away now. Gillian G Gaar’s career commentary is fact-filled but perfunctory, as are the album re-reviews by an array of guest critics. But where this book really scores is with its picture selection, this being an illustrated history after all.

If you think you’ve seen every Doors-related photo ever taken, you’re bound to be surprised. Odds are you’ll be gawping at the close-up of Jim Morrison’s first home (2100 Vernon Place, Melbourne, Florida) as much as at the full-page shot of his final residence at 117 rue Beautreillis in Paris.

There’s even pictorial evidence of the first of Morrison’s many run-ins with the law: pictures from the Tallahassee Police Department of a brooding college student who was arrested and charged with (you guessed it) public drunkenness in 1963.

But perhaps most poignant of all is a tiny Polaroid tucked away unceremoniously on page 123: a blurred snapshot said to be of Jim in Paris in 1971, shortly before he died. It’s of a portly, bearded figure in a shapeless cardigan, hands in trouser pockets, gazing vacantly into space. No Lizard King, just a lost and lonely man.

Classic Rock 215: Stuff

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Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.