Billy Idol’s Observation About Jim Morrison’s Enigmatic Nature

The music industry is a fascinating world where artists often inspire and idolize one another. It is a place where musicians draw from the creativity of their predecessors and contemporaries, emulating their styles, attitudes, and even clothing. This mutual admiration not only fosters growth in the industry but also creates a sense of friendship that transcends genres and generations.

Jim Morrison is an undeniably legendary figure in the rock world, holding a special place in the hearts of many artists, including the punk rock icon Billy Idol. As the frontman of The Doors, Morrison’s magnetic stage presence, poetic lyrics, and unique voice made him a force to be reckoned with. His influence on the music industry is still felt today, and to Billy Idol, Morrison is nothing short of a hero.

Billy Idol, known for his trademark sneer and platinum blonde hair, has left his own indelible mark on the music world. With hits like ‘Rebel Yell’ and ‘White Wedding,’ he became a symbol of the punk rock movement in the ’80s. However, despite his own massive success, Idol found himself questioning his musical talents and ability to connect with an American audience, all because of the looming presence of Jim Morrison. Morrison’s charisma and connection to the audience left Idol feeling insecure about his place in the rock scene.

In an interview with Stereogum in 2021, Billy Idol once said:

“I love the Doors a lot. I love Jim Morrison. ‘No One Here Gets Out Alive’ used to walk around with that in my back pocket — the guide to being a rock star. Jim Morrison was one of the people I thought about when I was coming to America in ’81. I looked at the charts, and it was bands like REO Speedwagon, these harmony bands that sang very high up.

I was like, ‘I don’t sing anything like that, how would I connect with an American audience?’ I started to think, well, Jim Morrison wasn’t singing in the stratosphere and wasn’t singing in three-part harmony. Americans like Jim Morrison. I started to listen to a lot of the Doors music, kind of drinking it all in.”

It is quite clear how much Idol admired Morrison and how he used him as a benchmark for his own success. But that’s not all – Idol’s love for Morrison went even further. He was actually supposed to play a role in the movie ‘The Doors’ directed by Oliver Stone. However, a motorcycle accident kept him from taking on the full role he was initially cast for.

After speaking about his unfortunate accident, Billy went on to explain how difficult it has been for actors to play Jim Morrison. The musician noted that it has been easier for many to play Elvis as many actors who weren’t even ‘that good-looking’ have done a great job. However, this could not be the case with Jim Morrison since he had an ‘enigmatic quality‘ that many haven’t grasped well enough to mimic.

Reflecting on the missed opportunity, Idol said:

“When I knew Oliver Stone was doing the Doors movie, I was very excited about the idea of being in it. I thought, wow, this could be incredible. I was going to play Michael Madsen’s part. I was going to be a friend of Jim Morrison’s. Unfortunately, I had the motorcycle accident right as they were starting shooting. I did end up in it but in a much more truncated part, of Cat, one of his hanger-ons. I had a couple of lines but nothing incredible.

I had a couple scenes with Val, who I thought was just doing a great job as Jim Morrison. I don’t think it’s easy to play Jim Morrison. It’s easier to play Elvis. You’ve had people who aren’t even that good-looking play Elvis, and it’s worked, somehow.

But there haven’t been many successful versions of Jim Morrison. There’s an enigmatic quality, something that’s a lot more difficult. Val’s a great actor, and I thought he did probably the best job that could be done at that moment.”

It’s clear that Jim Morrison’s profound impact on Billy Idol goes beyond mere admiration. Idol’s feelings of insecurity stemmed from his respect for Morrison’s talents and how they resonated with the American audience. This connection between two iconic rock stars is a testament to the power of inspiration and the complex emotions that can arise when legends collide.

The music industry is a rich tapestry of interwoven influences and admiration. Icons like Jim Morrison continue to inspire musicians like Billy Idol, even decades after their time. While feelings of insecurity may arise from such deep admiration, it is this very dynamic that propels artists to push boundaries and create unforgettable music. So let us celebrate the legacy of Jim Morrison and the impact he’s had on musicians like Billy Idol, who continue to shape the world of rock and roll.