Patti Smith, 1976, by Claude Gassian. “I was just discovering Patti Smith’s masterpiece album Horses. At that time I was listening to it all day long. So it was a real privilege, and one of my first important sessions, to accompany Patti when she visited Jim Morrison’s grave at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.”


Jim’s grave

Jim died a sad July 3rd of 1971. The morning of the 7 of July, he was buried at Pére Lachaise, on the zone reserved for cheap graves. Pam paid for the ceremony and coffin, 878 franks, 50 dolars of today.

In August of 1971, the autorities putted a wooden plaque with the wrong name (Morisson), but then was stolen. On 1972, they putted black metal plaque, mispelled again “Morisson, James Douglas”, this plaque was stolen too.

On 1973, they putted a little rock plaque but it was stolen too, so they left the grave unmarked.

On July 2nd of 1981, a Yugoslavian artist sculpted the Jim’s bust on white marble. After being painted, broken and destroyed was finally stolen on one night of August of 1988.

On 1998, Morrison family instaled a stone with a metal plaque, written James Douglas Morrison, 1943-1971. With the famous greek inscription KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY. This is a curious phrase, because it has different translation. It means “Faithful to his own spirit” but also means “By his own demons”.

Patti Smith visiting Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris, 1975, by Claude Gassian.

“something new is coming down and we got to be alert to feel it happening. something new and totally ecstatic. the politics of ecstasy move all around me. I refuse to believe Hendrix had the last possessed hand that Joplin had the last drunken throat that Morrison had the last enlightened mind. they didn’t slip their skins and split forever for us to hibernate in posthumous jukeboxes.

they are gone and we’re still moving.“

~ Patti Smith, “Jukebox Cruci-fix,” CREEM, June 1975.