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Jim Morrison Poetry Sessions

A list of all known poetry sessions recorded in the studio by Jim Morrison.

For each entry, there is a corresponding page citation to find the published poem in the books Wilderness and The American Night. The descriptions on this page are as accurate as I can make them, but they should be regarded as a work in progress. A special thanks to John Haeny for his assistance with this content.

Elektra Session Birthday Session Jomo And The Smoothies

FEBRUARY 9, 1969
Elektra Sound Recorders - West Hollywood, CA
Length: 36:40

Jim Morrison's first poetry session, recorded at Elektra Sound Recorders in West Hollywood, CA in 1969. As the master tape is undated, the exact date of this session was uncertain for a long time. But just recently, session producer and engineer John Haeny discovered the original recording date written in his diary — confirming it as Sunday, February 9, 1969. It was Haeny who recorded and engineered both of Jim Morrison's poetry sessions and was contracted to co-produce, along with Morrison, his poetry album (Haeny later helped conceive, produce, and record An American Prayer).

The "Elektra Session," as it's come to be known, was recorded as a demo for Morrison's poetry album and was captured in stereo with slight reverb. Also present at the session was Elektra West's Head of A&R, David Anderle, who assisted in keeping the tape logs.

In 1994, Jim Morrison's only personal copy of this recording was discovered in Paris and released on a bootleg CD called The Lost Paris Tapes. You can read more about the strange history behind this bootleg in "The Truth Behind The Lost Paris Tapes." In addition, a second copy of this session, given to composer Fred Myrow in 1969, has recently been uncovered. Click here to see pictures and learn more.


     "In that year..." (Wilderness, pp. 135-138)
     "Bird Of Prey" (Wilderness, p. 139)
     "Tape Noon" (Wilderness, pp. 140-141)
     "Whiskey, Mystics And Men" (Wilderness, pp. 144-145)
     "Orange County Suite" (Wilderness, pp. 142-143)
     "All hail the American Night..." (Wilderness, pp. 146-148)
     "The American Night" (No Book Reference)
     "The Holy Shay" (No Book Reference)
     "Hitler Poem" (No Book Reference)
     "Can We Resolve The Past" (The American Night, pp. 121-122)
     "Always a playground instructor..." (The American Night, pp. 123-124)
     "There's a belief..." (Wilderness, p. 107)
     "Indian, Indian..." (No Book Reference)
     "The Woman In The Window" (The American Night, pp. 103-104)
     "She's selling news..." (Wilderness, p. 99)
     "Science Of Night" (Wilderness, p. 172)
     "Tales Of The American Night" (The American Night, p. 119)
     "Texas Radio And The Big Beat" (The American Night, p. 127)
     "Babylon Fading" (No Book Reference)
     "Thank you, O Lord..." (The American Night, p. 191)

DECEMBER 8, 1970
Village Recorders, Studio C - Los Angeles, CA
Length: 90:00 (Approx.)

Jim Morrison's second poetry session, recorded on the evening of his 27th birthday at Village Recorders in Los Angeles, CA on December 8, 1970. Morrison again met with producer John Haeny for what Jim referred to as the combined official start of his poetry album and birthday party. Within a few weeks, on December 31, 1970, the two men would execute completed contracts with Elektra Records to co-produce Morrison's solo poetry album. It is this recording session that is famously recreated (and rather dramatically embellished) in Oliver Stone's 1991 film.

Just prior to the session, Haeny buys Morrison a bottle of Bushmills Irish Whiskey as a birthday gift and they record about an hour-and-a-half's worth of poetry. Unlike their previous session at Elektra, Haeny records this material in mono without any reverb or other effects in preparation for its use in the final album. Morrison reads his recently self-published poem "An American Prayer" and other work.

In addition to Morrison and Haeny, Frank and Kathy Lisciandro are present along with Florentine Pabst and several other friends who join the birthday party later in the session. Photographs taken by Frank Lisciandro show Morrison wearing a jersey with the number 66 on it and a Native American mascot in full warrior headdress on the sleeves.

There is a break at some point in the middle of the session during which Morrison, Haeny, and the Lisciandros go out for some tacos at one of Jim's favorite college haunts, The Lucky U. When they return to the studio, Morrison continues to record as more friends arrive. They help read some of Jim's poetry along with Kathy and Florentine who read from "All hail the American Night..."

The following information about what was recorded during Jim Morrison's birthday session was compiled from the books Wilderness and The American Night as well as the published accounts of John Haeny and Frank Lisciandro and select recordings that have have been released over the years. But as the complete session remains unheard, this information is largely speculative and likely to be incomplete.


     "In that year..." (The American Night, p. 55)
     "& the cool fluttering rotten wind..." (The American Night, pp. 56-57)
     "Lament For The Death Of My Cock" (The American Night, pp. 59-61)
     "A wake/Shake dreams from your hair..." (The American Night, p. 62)
     "Curses & Invocations" (The American Night, p. 63)
     "The Crossroads" (The American Night, p. 64)
     "I walked thru the panther's living room..." (The American Night, p. 65)
     "The flowering/of god-like people..." (The American Night, p. 66)
     "The Wild whore laughs..." (The American Night, p. 67)
     "Tales Of The American Night" (The American Night, p. 119)
     "Can We Resolve The Past" (The American Night, pp. 121-122)
     "Always a playground instructor..." (The American Night, pp. 123-124)
     "An American Prayer" (The American Night, pp. 3-18)
     "Come/for all the world lies..." (Wilderness, p. 169)
     "Of the Great Insane/American Night..." (Wilderness, p. 170)
     "Blessings..." (Wilderness, p. 171)
     "Science Of Night" (Wilderness, p. 172)
     "The Politics of ecstasy are real..." (Wilderness, p. 173)
     "Ledger domain..." (Wilderness, p. 175)
     "Cobra sun..." (Wilderness, p. 176)
     "Cassandra At The Well" (Wilderness, p. 177)
     "Where are my dreamers..." (Wilderness, p. 179)
     "It was the greatest night of my life..." (Wilderness, p. 180)
     "In this full-throated..." (Wilderness, pp. 181-182)
     "All these monstrous..." (Wilderness, p. 183)
     "Argue w/ breath..." (Wilderness, p. 184)
     "I fell on the earth..." (Wilderness, p. 185)
     "If the writer can write..." (Wilderness, p. 187)
     "To have just come wondering..." (Wilderness, p. 188)
     "Round-up, Rondolay, Rhonda..." (Wilderness, pp. 189-193)
     "The Endless quest a vigil..." (Wilderness, p. 197)
     "Fence my sacred fire..." (Wilderness, p. 198)
     "Why the desire for death..." (Wilderness, p. 199)
     "In that year..." (Wilderness, pp. 135-138)


     Unknown Poems (No Book Reference)
     Unknown Poems [With Tambourine] (No Book Reference)
     Unknown Poems (No Book Reference)*
     "All hail the American Night..." [False Start] (Wilderness, p. 146-148)**
     "All hail the American Night..." (Wilderness, p. 146-148)**

*With Unknown Friends
**With Kathy Lisciandro & Florentine Pabst

Elektra Sound Recorders - West Hollywood, CA
Length: 14:25

Jim Morrison records a brief impromptu jam session with two musicians, attempting a rendition of his song "Orange County Suite." Morrison has been drinking, but he's in a playful mood as he improvises some alternate lyrics and claps out the beat while the musicians play along on stringed instruments. The session ends after only fifteen minutes.

This session was released on a bootleg CD called The Lost Paris Tapes in 1994. Though technically not one of Morrison's poetry sessions, I've included the recording here as a curious footnote. It is often erroneously claimed to be Jim Morrison's final studio recording, taped in Paris just weeks before his death in 1971. However, the engineer's voice heard on the tape has been confirmed by both John Haeny and Frank Lisciandro as that of Doors producer Paul Rothchild.

In addition, as first revealed in "The Truth Behind The Lost Paris Tapes," I have identified one of the musicians who plays on the session as the poet Michael McClure (playing his autoharp) who in the spring of 1969 was working with Morrison on a screenplay adaptation of his novel, The Adept. The identity of the third musician, who plays an acoustic guitar, remains unknown.

It is said that this reel was titled (allegedly by Morrison himself) as "Jomo And The Smoothies." However, a closer look at the only available photos of the original reel box shows the handwriting is not Morrison's but rather Doors engineer Bruce Botnick's. And what has been read as the unusual word "JoMo" is simply meant to be Jim Morrison's initials ("J.M.") with the periods written as tiny circles.

Click here for more details on this recent discovery.

Given those involved, it's likely this session was taped at Elektra Sound Recorders in West Hollywood, CA in the spring of 1969, perhaps in May or a bit earlier, during sessions for The Soft Parade.


     Warm Up/Tuning
     "Starting Now!"
     Orange County Suite (Jam)

Please Submit Any Corrections/Additions

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