Pam Courson was Jim Morrison’s “cosmic mate” and common-law wife. Pam was Morrison’s muse, he wrote songs for and about her, such as “Love Street”, she also appears in “Celebration of the Lizard” in the lines “her dark red hair. The white soft skin” and Morrison’s final ode to her in “Orange County Suite”. On April 25th, 1974 Courson died of a reported heroin overdose.
Pam was born in Weed, California December 22nd, 1946, and lived the rock ‘n’ roll much as Morrison did. Before she met Morrison she was rebelling on her own, cutting classes in school, smoking cigarettes and hitchhiking to L.A. It isn’t known when she met Morrison. Oliver Stone’s Doors movie has Jim and Pam meeting on Venice Beach, Ray Manzarek say’s it was at The London Fog, the first club The Doors played on the Sunset Strip. Even before she met Morrison, Pam was interested in design and fashion and with Morrison’s aid she opened a boutique on Santa Monica called “Themis” and they invested heavily to decorate the shop, it had feathers on the ceiling and buying the hippest clothes from around the world.
Pam was also Morrison’s equal in daring and adventure, from driving without headlights on Mulholland Drive (a winding road). She was also well read . Their relationship was volatile and they frequently had arguments, with Pam throwing plates and cups at Morrison (Morrison telling people “that chick has one hell of an arm“). Both Courson and Morrison were involved with others but always came back to each other. Pam was also involved in drugs (as was Morrison), her drug of choice seemed to be heroin. Pam was with Jim in Paris in the spring of 1971, when he died mysteriously in the bathtub.
Pam is also supposed to have inspired other 60’s, Sunset Strip era singer/songwriter’s. Neil Young’s, “Cinnamon Girl”, is rumored to have been written about Pam. There’s also supposition that The Eagles based the song “Hotel California” on Pam and Morrison’s relationship.
After Morrison’s death, Pam took his death badly and blamed herself for his death. Many think that Morrison may have gotten into her heroin, and combined with the alcohol it arrested his heart. Ray Manzarek recalls seeing her once after Jim’s death and all she could do was cry while Manzarek held her. Her life after Morrison spiraled out of control. She sued The Doors for Morrison’s share of the royalties. Some allege that Pam took to prostitution after Morrison’s death, but those claims seem unverified, and seem to come from those with an animus towards Courson. Danny Sugerman in “Wonderland Avenue” reports that Pam had taken up with a UCLA film student who had started a band, trying to relive the early years with Morrison. Shortly before her death Pam won her lawsuit with The Doors and was recognized as his heir. One thing that is undeniable is she became more involved in drugs until in an almost self-fulfilling prophecy she died on April 25th, 1974 at age 27.
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