Tag Archives: Shelby Cobra

The Jim Morrison Come On Buick Light My Fire Story

In the late summer of 1967, Elektra Records requested the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) to certify that The Doors album and single both qualify as Gold Records. As of that week The Doors had accounted for sales of substantially in excess of $1 million wholesale, and 1 million copies of the doors single ‘Light My Fire’ had gone to the market.

When The Doors appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show later that year they were informed that CBS could not let them say the word “higher” in their song ‘Light My Fire’. “Sure” said Jim “I think we can come up with another line”. When the others left the room, Jim and the guys exchanged looks. They would sing a new line in rehearsal and then, on the show, they would sing the original version. In the control room when it happened the manager screamed “you can’t do that! You guys are dead on the show you’ll never do the show again!” And of course they never did.

‘Hello I Love You’ went to first place in the singles charts, becoming the group’s second million – selling 45 or RPM. The album title was changed several times during the LPs five month long gestation, from American Nights (Jim’s early choice) to the ‘Celebration of The Lizard’ (where Jim wanted the album cover done in an imitation lizard skin) and finally to ‘Waiting For The Sun’, which was the title song left out. At the time Jim had wanted to recite small poems between songs, but in the end it was decided to print the text of the poem that thus far had refused to be wedded to music ‘The Celebration of the Lizard’, inside the album sleeve.

Jim explained his fascination with reptiles “we must not forget”, he said “that the lizard and snake are identified with the unconscious and with the forces of evil. There is something deep in human memory that responds strongly to snakes even if you’ve never seen one. I think that a snake just embodies everything that we fear.” His long poem, he said, “was kind of an invitation to dark forces” but The Lizard King image he projected was not, “it’s all done tongue in cheek“ he insisted, “I don’t think people realize that it’s not to be taken seriously it’s like if you play the villain in a western it doesn’t mean that’s you. That’s just an aspect that you keep for show. I don’t really take that seriously. That’s supposed to be ironic.”

Jim was in a bad mood all weekend. The Madison Square Garden shows went well, but something was bothering him and he didn’t speak to the other Doors that weekend in New York. It turned out that when Jim had been in London with his girlfriend Pamela Courson, Jac Holzman, who still controlled The Doors music publishing, was asked by an advertising agency if he’d allow Buick to use “Light My Fire” in a commercial for $50,000. Jac said he would ask the boys. When Robbie Krieger, John Densmore and Ray Manzarek were unable to contact Jim they voted without him. Jim heard about “Come On Buick Light My Fire” when he returned to the United States, and he went right to Jac Holtzman, cornering him on the patio outside his office, telling him he held the song sacred even though he was tired of performing it publicly. “I want it clear Jac, I’m telling you now, I want it clear, don’t you ever do that again. That song is precious to me, and I don’t want anybody using it.” The song was never sold. But still, Jim gave them all the silent treatment without ever telling anybody what he was so upset about.

Backstage after the infamous 1969 Miami concert that Jim was later arrested for lewd and livacious behavior,  there was about two dozen people talking at once with a few expressing concern over how much equipment was lost and the inevitable personal injuries to members of the audience. Jim was heard to say something like “Uh oh, I think I exposed myself out there”. While others contend he said, “Now let’s see Buick use “Light My Fire”!

And then there is a mystery ‘til this day of “What happened to the Blue Lady?” It was a dark blue ‘67 Shelby Cobra. Jim; “I only drive American cars”. It was December 1969 when the band had finished taping the “Smothers Brothers Show”. Afterwards Jim went to the Troubadour bar, where after getting nearly too drunk to walk, he convinced one of the waitresses to leave with him. On the way to his car, he was approached by two homosexuals. “Listen, that’s not my trip”, he said curtly. They continued to follow him and pushed their way into his car. Jim sped off, he pressed the accelerator to the floor, and wheeled onto Doheny Drive. He was on the wrong side of the road and speeding. There was a tree. There were screams, tires screeching, horns honking, and then for some reason, the Cobra came to a dead stop when it hit a curb. The doors flew open, the passengers were thrown to the ground unharmed, and Jim roared off into the night again. The waitress returned to the Troubadour bar to call a cab. Jim appeared, screaming that she had to get into the car with him. She refused, he was too crazy, she said, and Jim sped off, ending his spree less than a mile away where he drove the “Blue Lady” into a tree on Sunset Boulevard. Someone transported him, unconscious but otherwise unscathed, to his Motel room. Half an hour later the waitress called and he begged her to come to him immediately. She rushed to the motel room and Jim said “I don’t want to hurt anybody“ over and over again. No one was hurt, and the car was towed away to a repair shop in Beverly Hills. This is when the Cobra went missing. That 1967 Shelby Cobra has not been seen since then, but there is a real strong chance that she is still somewhere out there, either with or without the current owners knowing the true value of the car. If you would like to see Morrison‘s film tribute featuring the “Blue Lady”, locate a copy of “HWY”, the Morrison ‘69 production that features the two them out on the open highway of course!

Ray Manzarek, The Doors number two man, said in the liner notes of a 1997 release of their Elektra Album Collection;  “The Celebration of the Lizard “ that it was a real Doors epic, Jim’s intro showed his rapport with audiences. He always spoke to them like friends. He knew them. And we were all there, in Madison Square Garden, for the same reason. Fun! If you couldn’t have fun at a Doors concert… well, there just wasn’t any hope at all!

Robby Krieger the great guitarist on this song topic; Jim got in an awful lot of shit for proclaiming himself the “Lizard King”. But he really loved lizards and snakes. He was serious about this. Many of his acid trips were very lizard-laden.

Ray Manzarek; “The Crawling King Snake” is the John Lee Hooker classic. Jim loved the blues – as we all did – and would have been happy to be a bar singer in a New Orleans crawfish, oyster and gumbo blues bar in the mid-fifties. The fates had another destiny in store for him, however. And that was Dionysian, with the Crawling King Snake as his scepter. Now, Dionysian does not mean drunken debauchery or a license to party. That’s too simplistic. Too naive. That’s Bacchus. Dionysus is the god of the dark and green and fecund and regenerative powers of the earth. He’s the god of ovum and semen. The god of the richness of nature. The cycles, the dark cycles of life coming into and going out of existence. The renewal and regeneration of all life.

There was a not too well known meeting between Jim Morrison and Steve McQueen, two film and stunt masters. Jim was introduced to Steve by an old friend from the Whiskey-a-Go-Go club. McQueen’s production company was casting for actors for a film called “Adam at 6 A.M.” After meeting Jim just once, McQueen turned him down cold. Apparently he talked too much, told them how the film should be made and the script rewritten. Although he had shaved for the interview, he looked a bit hung over. “They were afraid of his drinking” said his friend Elmer Valentine, “it was a big missed opportunity.”

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Excepts from the Book “No One Here Gets Out Alive” written by Jeffrey Hopkins and Danny Sugerman. Copyright 1980 by Haku Olelo, Inc a Warner Books Edition, Warner Books, Inc 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10103 

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Excepts & Images from the Liner Notes of The Doors Box Set. Copyright 1997 by Elektra Entertainment Group, a division of Warner Communications Inc, a Time Warner Company, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019

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Images from The Doors Complete Studio Recordings Box Set. Copyright 1999 by Elektra Entertainment Group, a division of Warner Communications Inc, a Time Warner Company, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019

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Images of The 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe Hand-crafted Ertl Die-cast Metal Replica in 1:18 Scale and 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10 & 1996 Dodge Viper GTS Coupe Hand-crafted Burago Die-cast Metal Replica in 1:18 Scale Copyright 2019 by HKK Productions Inc

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Copyrighted 2019 by HKK Productions Inc

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