Interactive Chronological History

1 9 6 5



Note:  Some of the dates this year are estimates while using some dated guidelines.  This is by far the vaguest year according to actual dates because the events are not documented like they are through concert dates and record releases.  However, through exhaustive research, I feel that these events are very close to the actual date.

Legend:  (DU) = Date Unknown, Date, EVENT, Review, Timeline, Link, Quote, Poetry/Lyrics

J u l y   -   S e p t e m b e r

ray  Blake   

Throughout the site pictures are placed like above as previews to photos of events you may access via links in upcoming months. They are broken up into quarterly segments unless otherwise noted.

July 1965

I N   T H E   B E G I N N I N G
"I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps 'Oh, look at that!' Then whoosh, and I'm gone... and they'll never see anything like it ever again... and they won't be able to forget me - ever." - Jim Morrison

Thu. July 8:  Jim and Ray Come Together - Venice Beach, CA
(DU - Some people believe this encounter took place in August, as it is written in many books, but it is highly unlikely due to the first hand account of Ray, as the one that was there, and who has always claimed to remember this event very well and has always said July)

   Jim's view from Dennis Jacob's rooftop

 After receiving a Bachelor's degree in cinematography from UCLA and living on friend Dennis Jacob's rooftop, Jim Morrison runs into his fellow film school graduate Ray Manzarek on Venice Beach this afternoon around 1:00 p.m. and the idea of a band is formulated after Jim sings a couple of his songs in this order "Moonlight Drive", "My Eyes Have Seen You" and "Summers Almost Gone"

"Sitting on the beach thinking what I'm going to do with my life and who comes walking down the beach but the shaman himself. This transformation . . . Jim transformed himself. He went inside of a cocoon and came out absolutely gorgeous. He'd lost maybe thirty pounds. He was living on a friend's rooftop ingesting massive quantities of a certain psychedelic substance and didn't eat . . . was living off his baby fat and he was approximately 165, 170 pounds at U.C.L.A. and then went down to maybe 135. Six feet tall, lean, hard . . . his hair had grown. He looked like David, he looked like Michelangelo's David. I said, 'God, you look great man, what you been doing?' He said, 'Nothing, I haven't been eating' and he said, 'I've been writing some songs' . . . songs, aaahh." - Ray Manzarek
Source: Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2:11:83. - The conference was chaired by Robin Denselow, at that time, presenter of BBC-2's "Eight Days A Week"

Let's swim to the moon
Let's climb through the tide

Penetrate the evening

That the city sleeps to hide

Let's swim out tonight, love
It's our turn to try
Parked beside the ocean
On our moonlight drive.

    Jim tells Ray he wants to call the band The Doors, with  reference to the William Blake line: "If the doors of perception were cleansed man could see things as they truly are, infinite". The idea of using the name is also in association to Aldous Huxley and his book The Doors of Perception which Ray digs as both of them are experimenting with drugs and expanding their consciousness.  Huxley's book is primarily about his experiences and accounts of taking mescaline.  While staying on the rooftop, Jim would take acid daily, which is legal at this time and available at the local head shop, and rarely come down off the roof while writing constantly and eating very little.

"There are things known and things unknown and in between are The Doors." - Jim Morrison

    Jim Morrison wants to be the door by which others can experience the unknown and ultimately change persons/society's way of thinking by becoming open to all things possible. He wants to change the world's narrow perceptions and has given over his life, willingly as sacrifice, to be the one to do so.  He will pass through the door with the fear of death gone and along side an awakening of something greater than life.
"But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out.  He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly to comprehend." - Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception, last paragraph

    Jim knows what he has to do and he will never do anything in moderation again. He believes that by ravaging the soul he can attain the unknown and holds strong to another Blake line - "The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom".  His accepted job, as a college graduate entering manhood,  is to be the one to go out on the edge and bring his visions back to society, not unlike a shaman in a tribe, but the price he has to pay will be the greatest one of all.  Jim also wants deeply to be remembered for what he is about to do and has a strong desire to be remembered long after he is gone like many of his idols; writers and poets.  He sees poetry and writing as a way to eternal life and his plan is to use his words combined with music to reach the masses and change the world.

We want the world and we want it, now, now, NOW!
"I had been friendly with Jim at UCLA, and we talked about rock 'n' roll even then. After we graduated, he (Jim) said he was going to New York. Then, two months later, in July, I met him on the beach in Venice. He said he had been writing some songs, so we sat on the beach and I asked him to sing some of them.  He did, and the first thing he tried was 'Moonlight Drive'.  When he sang those first lines - 'Let's swim to the moon/Lets climb through the tide/Penetrate the evening/That city sleeps to hide' - I said: 'That's it.' I'd never heard lyrics to a rock song like that before. We talked a while before we decided to get a group together and make a million dollars."  - Ray Manzarek

Fri. July 9: Jim moves in with Ray and Dorothy - Ocean Park, CA
    Jim moves in with Ray and his girlfriend Dorothy in their small flat on the beach in Ocean Park and sleeps in Ray and Dorothy's room as they move their mattress into the living room near the heater.  Ray begins working on Jim's songs teaching him how to sing during the day while Dorothy is working. Ray has no piano in his place at the time so Jim and Ray travel to the UCLA Music Rooms to work on Jim's songs he has written on the rooftop.
    Often along the way, they stop at places to playfully workout like little kids on play sets, monkey bars, pullup bars and the sort. They are both young and full of energy and soon they are both pretty strong and defined as is their friendship and the music. This is a healthy time for both but Jim sneaks away every now and againto run around with Felix Venable - getting high and dropping acid and just doing what young adults do when they want to get fucked up.

Ray and Dorothy
Ray and Dorothy
    "The best songs come unasked for.  You don't have to think about them . . . Summer is good for songs.  When it's real warm, if you have a sense of freedom, not a lot on your mind, and a feeling there's plenty of time, it just seems to be a good climate for music." - Jim Morrison
Sat. July 24: Ray Introduces Jim to His Band - Ray's Parents House - Manhattan beach
    After staying with Ray for a few weeks Jim is introduced to Ray's band "Rick and The Ravens" who rehearse at Ray's parents. Members include Ray's two brothers Rick and Jim Manzarek. The lyrics Jim sings to the fellas soar over their heads but they agree to work with the new singer and new material.

" R i c k   a n d   t h e   R a v e n s "

Sun. July 25:  Timeline - Music
    Dylan goes electric at Newport Folk Fest and gets heavily booed for apparently selling out.

August 1965

Early August
    Jim writes lyrics to songs wherever he roams while constantly expanding his mind and his vocal style. Jim is not a great singer at first but he does have a strong desire to get better and with his strong rich voice and good pipes it's only a matter of time. Ray strongly believes in Jim and it is this commitment that gives Jim the confidence he needs to develop into one of the greatest rock singers of all time.

This Month:
  Timeline - Music
    The Beatles release Help!, Dylan releases Highway 61 Revisited, and the single "Eve of Destruction" is topping the charts.

Wed. Aug. 11 - Mon. Aug. 16: 
Timeline - Civil Rights
    The Watts Riots breakout in Los Angeles following the arrest of an unemployed black man on charges of drunken driving.  34 persons are killed, 1,032 injured, and 3,952 are arrested during the five day riot.  Fire damage and property loses total over 215 million dollars.

Fri. Aug. 13: 
Timeline - Music
    The Beatles play Shea Stadium to 55,000 and Marty Balin, singer and songwriter of The Jefferson Airplane, co-opens The Matrix in San Francisco.

D R U M M E R   J O H N   D E N S M O R E   J O I N S   T H E   B A N D

Fri. Aug. 20:  John Densmore - Joins The Doors (DU)
    John Densmore, while attending college and uncertain of his major, is given a call from Ray Manzarek to come to his parents house to play drums with the band. John and Ray know each other somewhat from a meditation class they both attend regularly.
    John is currently working with a band called the "Psychedelic Rangers" with friend Robby Krieger. John meets a shy Jim Morrison and likes the originals more than the covers the band is practicing. He is intrigued by Jim's self-consciousness and provocative mysterious lyrics and after a few rehearsals decides to join the band two weeks prior to cutting a demo.

"So Ray finally did call me and I went down to his parents' garage in Manhattan Beach, although he lived in Venice.  There wasn't any music.  It was just Jim's words.  Ray said, 'This is Jim, the singer.'  He had never sung.  But they showed me some of the lyrics and I was attracted to them.  Songs like 'Moonlight Drive' and 'Soul Kitchen' were real out there, yet I could see the fluidity and rhythm to them and right away thought, 'God, put this to rock music? Yeah! . . . I'll rehearse for a while and see what happens." - John Densmore
"There was this blond guy with glasses and a Japanese girlfriend. At the end of the session he said he'd heard I was a drummer and asked if I'd like to join a rock 'n' roll band. And then he said a curious thing. He said he'd call me in a few months because the time wasn't right yet. And I thought, 'Gee, that's pretty cosmic. Far out.'" - John Densmore

Note: The time came sooner than expected and John was asked to join the band in a few weeks.

Late August: Partying with College Friends, Getting to Know John, Avoiding the Draft, Soul Kitchen
    Jim has no car but the other band members, especially John, regularly run him around to party with his old film school pals Phil O'Leno, Dennis Jacob, and Felix Venable at their apartments. Jim is smoking pot all day and often tripping on LSD while regularly hanging out around the UCLA campus or Venice Beach. He often crashes at the girl of the moment's house or anyone that will have him when he can't make it back to the beach from a long night of partying.
    During these times John takes Jim to his Draft Boards. Jim, like many young men of the sixties, has been dreading this day for weeks. He intentionally has not slept in days in an attempt to appear as unfit as possible and states that he has strong homosexual tendencies. He is given a low draft status and avoids being drafted.
    After and during rehersals the guys frequently run off to Olivia's for some food and drink - the place that inspired the song "Soul Kitchen". The southern style diner reminds Jim of southern cooking and is frequented by all kinds of artists and students who come for the good cheap food cooked by a large black southern woman, Olivia. She loves to cook for the kids but doesn't put up with any messing around in her place. The guys love it here and it is always packed looking like an "Amtrak dining car that got stranded at the beach" (Riders on the Storm p. 40)

Well, the clock says it's time to close, now,
I know I have to go, now,
Really like to stay here, all night

Let me sleep all night in your soul kitchen,
Warm my mind near your gentle stove,
Turn me out and I'll wander, baby,
Stumblin in the neon grove.

"It's like gambling somehow, You go out for a night of drinking and you don't know where your going to end up the next day.  It could work out good or it could be disastrous.  It's like the throw of the dice." - Jim Morrison

Thu. Aug. 26:  Timeline - Vietnam War
    This is the last day marrying can improve your draft status.

Sun. Aug. 29: 
Timeline -
    The Beatles play The Hollywood Bowl.

Tue. Aug. 31: 
Timeline - Vietnam War
    LBJ signs the Selective Service Act making draft card burning a federal offense.

September 1965
T H E   D O O R S   C U T   A   D E M O

Thu. Sept. 2:  World Pacific Jazz Studios - Los Angeles, CA
    "Rick and the Ravens" have some free studio time coming from a trade off on an Aura Records deal. The Doors (without Robby Krieger) cut a demo which sounds very little like The Doors with a very young sounding Jim Morrison. The six songs on the demo are all Morrison originals. The band immediately begins to locally shop the demos around after the three hour session. Jim is delighted after hearing his voice on a record for the first time.

"Moonlight Drive"
"Hello I Love You"
"Summers Almost Gone"
"My Eyes Have Seen You"
"End of The Night"
"Go Insane (A Little Game)"

"Actually, I think the music came to my mind first and then I made up the words to hang onto the melody, some kind of sound. I could hear it, and since I had no way of writing it down musically, the only way I could remember it was to try and get words to put to it. And a lot of times I would end up with just the words and couldn't remember the melody." - Jim Morrison

Sun. Sept. 4:  Jim Writes His Parents in London (DU)
    Around this time, Jim writes his parents in London disclosing his plans to sing with a band. Jim's father, an admiral in the navy, vehemently disagrees with Jim's choice and is very upset with his son.  He writes Jim back conveying his objection while mentioning paying for four years of college, Jim abandoning his piano lessons as a child, never caroling with the family, and most importantly mentioning the band will never amount to anything. Jim never saw his father after this point and probably never had any contact either verbally or in letter. Jim was on his own. He would however stay in touch with his brother Andy and more so with sister Anne.

"We got transfered to London in 1965 [Adm. Morrison was on the staff of the commander in chief, Naval Operations, Europe], and my dad annd Jim had a falling out because Jim wanted to go into music or borow some money. And I didn't hear from him for two years." - Andy Morrison, Jim's younger brother  p.14 The Doors by The Doors

"He called me and told me he was going on the road with a rock band. I told him it was ridiculous. I said, "You're not a singer. You can't sing." He never had. Driving across country, we all liked to sing. It was just to pass the time. I didn't think any of us had a voice. I said, ''You're on the wrong track here. Get yourself a job. That's not a job."
Amiral Steve Morrison p. 14 The Doors by The Doors
Adm. Morrison is said to have written in his letter back to Jim "I think it's a crock,"

"I tried piano for a while, but I didn't have the discipline to keep it up. I think I got to about the third grade book."
Jim Morrison (1969) Source: In Their Own Words

"Some people surrender their freedom willingly but others are forced to surrender it. Imprisonment begins with birth. Society, parents they refuse to allow you to keep the freedom you were born with. There are subtle ways to punish a person for daring to feel. You see that everyone around you has destroyed his true feeling nature. You imitate what you see." - Jim Morrison

Mon. Sept. 5:  Timeline - Of Interest
    Writer Michael Fallon coins the term "hippie" in describing the San Francisco counterculture.

G U I T A R I S T   R O B B I E   K R I E G E R   J O I N S   T H E   B A N D

Late September: Robby Krieger - Joins The Doors (DU)
    Uncertain and dissatisfied with the direction of the band Rick and Jim Manzarek decide to quit returning to school.  John asks friend Robby Krieger to play guitar with the band.  Robby is a talented guitar player who can play many styles including a mean bottleneck that Jim loves immediately and asks him to play on every song they rehearse.  Robby likes the feel of the music and continues to play with the band quitting his other band The Clouds and becoming the final member completing the group.
    The band rehearses for the first time together with Robby at  friend Hank Olguin's garage behind a Santa Monica Greyhound bus depot in Venice. According to Robby, the first song they ever did together was "Moonlight Drive". The band rehearses one more time with Robby at Hank's and a third time at Robby's parents house in which Jim did not show up because he had gone on an adventure with some friends to Arizona but only got as far as Blithe, CA in which he got into a bar fight with some bikers and was arrested. The band members had called around looking for Jim and found out about the trouble he had got into and went to bail him out of jail. (info - Doors 40tth Anniversary Interview 2007)

"In the beginning we were creating our music, ourselves, everynight...starting with a few outlines, maybe a few words for a song. Sometimes we worked out in Venice, looking at the surf. We were together a lot and it was good times for all of us. Acid, sun, friends, the ocean, and poetry and music." - Jim Morrison

"Looking around Ray's place, I felt a college buzz and an Oriental flair. Books, film magazines, Oriental rugs, Indian bedspreads, erotic photos. Whole new worlds were opening up to me in this room." John Densmore - Riders On The Storm p. 39
"I was in another group and John was telling me about this group he was in called The Doors. They had this wild and crazy guy, Jim Morrison, who was going to be the lead singer even though he couldn't sing at the time. But I knew he had potential because he had just started singing about a month before and he was already pretty good. A couple weeks after John joined they needed another guitar player. John brought Jim over to my house and we hit it off good. So we rehearsed and that was it." - Robbie Krieger

Fall:  Timeline - Fashion
    Mini-skirts appear nationwide in stores.


O c t o b e r   -   D e c e m b e r

October 1965

T H E   D O O R S   S I G N   W I T H   C O L U M B I A   R E C O R D S

Late October:  Provisional Contract - Columbia Records (DU)
    The Doors members are taking the demos around, individually and as a band, to local record companies but are repeatedly shown the door for being too different. The band sees a picture of Billy James from Columbia Records in a trade magazine wearing a beard and think he looks hip - let's try him!  The band meets with Billy and two days later are notified by his secretary that he wants to sign the band. The Doors are offered a five-and-a-half year deal with Columbia Records with a six month initial term, during which the company agrees to produce a minimum of four sides and release a minimum of two. Billy doesn't want the band to be hung up if nothing seems to be going on. The band, especially Jim, is delighted with the deal.

"One day late in '65, I came back from lunch and there were these guys waiting for me.  It was them, The Doors.  They had a quality that attracted me to them immediately.  I guess they appealed to the snob in me because they were UCLA graduates and I thought, 'Great, here are some intellectual types getting involved with rock 'n' roll.'  They played me an acetate of several songs they'd recorded.  The music was so raw, so basic, so simplistic, so unlike anything I was familiar with.  It intrigued me that they could combine this sort of music with such interesting lyrics." - Billy James
"It's incredible they got a deal off that first demo, because they almost sounded  incompetent.  The female bass player is like a full beat behind on everything." - Bill Siddons

November 1965

    The band gets a few rare gigs at bar mitzvah's, weddings, and fraternity parties leaning heavily on a few easily recognized songs such as "Louie, Louie" and "Gloria" while occasionally slipping in one of their own compositions. Jim is too shy to sing most of the songs where Ray handles the vocals and Jim punctuates the music with a harmonica or yelling "Yeah!" or "Drive on!" occasionally.

Fri. Nov. 5:  Pioneer Club Boat Ride - Los Angeles, CA (DU)
    This is one of The Doors earliest engagements outside of frat parties and playing for friends.

Fri. Nov. 19: 
Hughes Aircraft Union Dance - Los Angeles, CA (DU)

Jim and Thor (Ray's brother's doberman) on an abalone hunt with Ray, Dorothy and Ray's mother. (DU) Jim was still staying at Ray and dorothy's at this time.
Photo Credit Ray Manzarek. Scanned from p. 15 of The Doors on The Doors

December 1965

T H E   D O O R S   F I N D   T H E I R   B A S S   P L A Y E R

    The Doors begin auditioning in various small clubs, but are continuously turned down for either being too different or having no bass player. The band auditions bass players but none fit the mold. Ray, while auditioning for a gig,  finds a unique Fender Rhodes piano bass organ which Columbia picks up the bill for. The Doors sound is finalized.

"We never found a bass guitarist we wanted to work with.  The bass players invariably played too much.  No bass player would want to play the way we wanted which was sparse and hypnotic.  Then one day we were auditioning at some place - we didn't get the gig of course because we were too weird - but the house band there had an instrument called a Fender Rhodes piano bass sitting on top of a Vox Continental organ just like I had.  I switched on the amplifier, played the thing, and realized it was a keyboard bass.  When I saw that I said 'This is it.  We have found our bass player!' " - Ray Manzarek

Wed. Dec. 8:  Jim Morrison's 22nd Birthday
    Jim turns 22 and is beginning to sing with more authority and confidence.  Everyday or so he brings a few crumpled pieces of paper to rehearsals or coffee stained napkins with incredible lyrics formulating them into songs as the band continuously gets tighter and tighter.

Fri. Dec. 10 - Sat. 11:
  Royce Hall Auditorium - University of California, Los Angeles, CA
    This evening is a ceremony in which the best UCLA film students are given a chance to show their films to an audience.  Jim only made one film while in college and received a D- so he was obviously not invited as a filmmaker to this evenings event.  The film Jim made contained many sexually explicit clips that he "borrowed" from film friend Phil O'leno.  Phil had made this film for the psychology department for purposes of creating sexual excitement for experiments.  The film was locked away in the vaults but Phil allowed Jim to see it and he loved it and spliced it up to make it look like a lot more was going on than there actually was, typical Morrison, and he put it in his "dirty film".
    The Doors set-up beside the stage where they are presenting the films and they play acoustically as a soundtrack to two of Ray's films that are being shown, Who & Where I Live and Induction.  Both of these films feature his girlfriend Dorothy Fujikawa.  Jim's eccentric friend Max Venable also has a film shown, Les Anges Dormants.

Fri. Dec. 31: 
( New Year's Eve) Private Residence - Los Angeles, CA
    The band plays a party for friends of the well to do Krieger's.  They mostly play requests in a loose arrangement interacting with the crowd while having a good time themselves.  At midnight Jim tosses a quarter in the air, catches it in his mouth and swallows it!  This is his portrayal of a human jukebox - I guess from honoring a few too many popular songs tonight.

End of the year:
  Timeline - Vietnam War
    184,000 American troops in Vietnam.

In that year we had a great visitation of energy

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