The Doors may be etched into Los Angeles lore, but rock icon Jim Morrison? He's from Clairemont.
Well, sort of...
Coming from a Navy family (the son of Rear Admiral Steven Morrison, no less,) Jim traveled much as a youth, but his family settled in San Diego on and off. A visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will confirm the rumors: Morrison attended Longfellow Elementary School in good old Clairemont. Many of the Lizard King's childhood mementos are on display at the Hall, including his report card.
The infamous anecdote about a young Jim Morrison being thrown out of the Cub Scouts for either mouthing off to a den mother or riding a bike without using his hands (oh no!), depending on your source, took place right here. Clearly an early stab at rebellion, his Cub Scout membership card and uniform hang in the Hall like items abandoned in his cosmic laundromat. Which would probably freak Jim out.
While many locals were aware of the Morrison family ties to San Diego-and Coronado in particular-it wasn't until a reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News called the school to confirm this info that most early Doors biographies were incorrect. They erroneously confused our Clairemont with L.A.'s Claremont.
According to one bio that does get it right-“Angels Dance, Angels Die” by Patricia Butler-Morrison was Longfellow's class president and gave a few speeches to the student body, but his stay would be short. The family arrived late in 1952, with Jim in class from 1953-54. The next noted time he returned was in the early '60s to inform his parents, again stationed here, of his decision to attend UCLA, which was not received positively.
The rest, as they say, is history. Naturally, the Doors played a few shows here: July, 8 1967 at Balboa Stadium on a bill that included the North County band, Lyrics; Nov. 4, 1967 and June 29, 1968 at Golden Hall, Aug. 22, 1970 at the Sports Arena.
For those who saw the recent Doors reunion as sacrilege, consider this: the Morrison-less Doors also played a gig at Balboa Stadium Aug. 13, 1972.
Doors members Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger often returned to San Diego with their solo projects and have recently reunited for concerts capping a brilliant career, but it can't be the same without Morrison. As rock icons come, they don't get any bigger than Jimbo. And it's fascinating to think that in some small way, elementary school politics and a cub scout den mother from our little burg left a mark on the Lizard King..