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The Doors – Morrison Hotel | Gary Burden for R. Twerk & Co.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

The Doors – Morrison Hotel

Morrison Hotel

Ray Manzarek and his wife were driving around downtown LA and spotted the Morrison Hotel and thought it would be great for an album cover. So when I was asked to do the Doors cover, it was determined that the hotel would be our location. We all piled into John Densmore’s VW van and headed down town to do the cover.

Henry Diltz remembers;

“We came inside the hotel and I told the guy at the desk, we’re gonna just take a couple pictures, we’ll just be a minute, you know, no problem. He said, ‘Oh no, no, no. You can’t do that unless you have permission from the owner.’ At first I was just going to have them stand in front of the window outside, which wouldn’t have been as good, but as I looked through the window I could see the guy leave the desk, get in the elevator and split. So I said, ‘quick, run in there’ And then they hit their marks - I mean, none of it planned, right - Jim was up in the middle, like that, and then bang, bang, bang… One roll of film and they were outta there.”

Later that afternoon we decided we needed a beer so we drove around skid row and came upon the Hard Rock Caf̩e. The original one, way before the chain. Perfect! Bums and beers. We had a wild few hours buying drinks, hearing stories and laughing. Jim was very interested in what these guy had to say. They all had a story! Years later when Peter Morton and Ian Schrager decided to start their chain, inspired by the Doors cover, they called the Doors to ask if the band had any problem with them calling it Hard Rock Caf̩e.

As a result of doing this cover I made a deep friend and drinking buddy in Jim and spent many afternoons bending our elbows and discussing things that matter in the bar of Xavier Cugat's restaurant. We both loved film and he was editing his film in the same building I was making the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young documentary film; The Clear Thoughts building. It's also where David Geffen and Elliot Roberts had their first office when they and their family of artists were just getting started and hanging out together every day. Coincidently, it's also where Jim Morrison's girlfriend Pam Courson had her clothing store, Themis. I remember nights after hours on the floor of the mirrored and feather walls with Pam and Jim. Talking and laughing. How sweet it was. The coincidence is that, unknown to me or Jim, Pam and my wife at the time had been the two rebel girls in junior and senior high in the heart of uberconservative Orange County. Wow! Coincidence? I think not!


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