Tuesday, July 03, 2007

La Alhambra-Granada, Morrison last vision?

Morrison Hotel Outtakes 1970

Jim Morrison in Granada Spain

The 10th of April 1971, 3 months before he died, Jim Morrison and girlfriend Pamela Courson traveled all along the south Europe. From Paris, where he was living at the time, Lyon and then Spain crossing finally to the north of Africa. They rented a Peugeot and went all the way through the Pyrenees and Catalan countryside, drove across Spain and then headed down south to Granada.
Some of the places where they stayed during those 3 weeks remains a mystery although I´ve been told by some relatively reliable sources that Jim was spotted here and there by the time [In Costa Brava for Example and even in Menorca in the Balearic islands!]. You know the classic, I know someone who knows someone.. etc etc..


When they arrived to the Andalusian city of Granada Jim and Pam were supposed to meet some local people who owned a club. The place was called 'Zingara' and it was build in a cave facing a top view of 'The Alhambra'. You could see live bands there every night, poetry gatherings, painting exhibitions and other cultural acts.
A pretty avant garde place if you ask me, considering the situation in Spain at the time.

Zingara Granada 1971
A young lad from Granada called Angel Carmona, one of the former founders of the club, lived for a while in California on the late sixties so he experienced the explosion of the Hippie culture at the time. He later brought all his knowledge to Spain, a place where all this things were still undiscovered.
His friend Rafael Cuellar lived in the US too and also helped Angel to build the club when they both were back. They also made good friends in America so few years later 'Zingara' got loads of American visitors, people from the US, Canada and other parts of the globe. Bands like Ten Years After, Jefferson Airplane, Santana or Jimi Hendrix were played by the local DJs and also mixed with some of the local folk music.

One night going to his club Angel noticed a car parked on the front door, a pretty uncommon thing he said, apparently due to the narrowness of the streets and the hard accessibility to the old quarter  (You know Americans and their car culture he he. Only Joking.)
That was of course Jim Morrison's car. Apparently he was told by  some circles in L.A. about that bar and wanted to pay a visit.
As soon as Angel was inside he noticed the female waiters very excited because the unannounced visit of Jim and his partner. Joanie Roseblant y Joanne Yablosky were two young Californian girls traveling around Europe and they were working in 'Zingara' temporarily. (I tried to look for some information about this girls on the Internet and have found nothing to be honest).  The girls were the ones who recognized the bearded singer. Pam told them they were there for few days and they were staying in the house of some Australian friends. She told them they both wanted to remain incognito.

According to Angel, Jim ordered some whiskey, a drink they didn't have in the bar, so he offered to send someone to find some of the stuff for Mr Morrison in town. Later that night while Angel admits Morrison  mates didn't drink much and remained pretty quiet, Mr. Mojo Risin' drank the whole bottle. Apparently he enjoyed the live bands and although at some point he was invited to perform he kindly refused to sing. Jim asked for some Janis Joplin music to be played instead.

The next day, early on the morning, they went with Angel to see the great 'La Alhambra' the Moorish palace whose gardens and architecture is one of the wonders of the world, a pilgrimage Mr. Morrison had wanted to do for years. Seems our good 'ol Jimbo was instantly trapped by the magic of the palace. He apparently went there few more times.

Jim in Venice in 1965

There is some Super 8mm video recording of Pam shooting Jim sat where the Alhambra lions and the fountains are located [along with other footage they previously taped during the trip] and at the end of the film he approaches towards the camera with his arms stretched wide until only one Morrison eye filled the last frame of the sequence. Apparently that was the last footage they recorded ever while in Spain. It has never seen the light.
Few days later they flew to Tangier [Where Jim is reportedly being ripped off trying to score some solid!], Marrakech and then finally a clean shave Morrison went back to Paris on the 3rd May 1971, two months before he died.

Unseen photo of Jim in 'La Alhambra'

Last vision of Morrison?

The rest is story.
His body was found on the bath on a 4th floor in 17 de Rue de Beautreillis Paris just 36 years ago today. The official version says he died of a heart attack
But french Gilles Yepremian, who knew and meet Jim Morrison few times in París says he died on the toilets in a pub called 'Rock and Roll Circus' [57 rue de la Seine], after he tried some of the strong chinese heroin [China White] he supposedly bought for his girlfriend and was apparently easy to score in Paris these days.
I personally think we will never know what happened the 4th of July,1971. 
Pamela Courson reported that they went back home from the cinema later that night [After watch Robert Mitchum film 'Pursued'], they played some 'The Doors' tunes by Jim request and also watched some of the videos they did record on their holidays in Spain. Jim was unable to get any sleep that night.
If we give the credit to Pamela version perhaps last thing Jim ever saw before he died was the unseen footage they both recorded in La Alhambra?

*I did translate this article from spanish to English and was originally published by the spanish journalist Juan Jose Lahuerta.   
James Douglas Morrison December 8th 1943- July 3rd 1971

You can read about my visit to Pere Lachaise cemetary in Paris HERE

Photos of my visit to Jim apartment in 17-19 Rue Beautreillis in Paris HERE


Anonymous said...

I´m the journalist who wrote the Jim Morrison´s history in La Alhambra. I have a question for you... The Photo of jim in Granada that you put here... It´s true?
Thank You
Juan José Lahuerta

Anonymous said...

I´m the journalist who wrote the Jim Morrison´s history in La Alhambra. I have a question for you... The Photo of jim in Granada that you put here... It´s true?
Thank You
Juan José Lahuerta

Anonymous said...

Hi, I´m Juan José:
And... Where you find the photo?

Pedro Vila said...

Got it send by someone in the US

Anonymous said...

Hola amigos, la foto de Jim no es de la Alhambra, es de la place Djema el-Fna de Marrakech. Conozco bien ese sitio, no hay duda. Yo diría que se trata del Café de France...

Anonymous said...

Juan José tu artículo me interesó muchísimo. Vivo en un pueblo de Granada, encima del Sacromonte...
¿Sabes si conservan recuerdos de la visita de JM en la Zíngara?
Muchas gracias