Of course it’s not only the Goths and Rebecca Black who dare go near the legacy of Venice Beach’s most famous sons. Superstar DJ (here we go) and Ex-Housemartin, Freak Powered Mighty Dub-Kat Pizzaman and Beats International mastermind Norman (real name Quentin) Cook AKA Fatboy Slim had a massive hit single with Jim Jim Morrison Morrison crooning away on what is essentially an outtake of a track in it’s earliest form.
Bird Of Prey is an acapella recording of Jim half singing a slight lullaby of a tune which was tacked onto the rereleased and expanded edition of The Doors final album. The posthumously composed An American Prayer featured the three band members who hadn’t broken on through to the other side composing something close to mood music behind existing recordings of Jim reading his poetry. The record is credited to Jim first and then The Doors to mark the change in the state of things. The sleeve reads An American Prayer: Jim Morrison Music By The Doors and features an order of service style photograph of the bearded Lizard King tastefully placed on the front. I have to say, It’s a solid album. I like it a lot. The scrappy feel of the band turning their hands to different things over the recordings adds a depth to the record. Much like when bands make an album of their odds and ends to fulfill a contractual obligation (I’m thinking The Smiths‘ Hatful Of Hollow or Nirvana’s Incesticide) it often adds a dexterity by virtue of it’s piecemeal collecting of stuff from all over. Very useful in a DJ box too. Which brings us back to the man with so many aliases.
(Sunset) Bird Of Prey was a Y2K single for Cookie after his huge genre busting hit album You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby! had wiped the floor with the 1990’s and took TV presenter Wife Zoe Ball home with him in the process. He has ruled club culture in the UK ever since. This particular single was a top ten smash in a era when everything he touched turned platinum. He famously remixed Beastie Boys, Cornershop & The Clash, he’s produced records for Blur, legitimised raves (on beaches no less) helped Spike Lee get on as a director and showed the world Christopher Walken’s dance moves. All while remaining the only balding middle aged man to look cool in a Hawaiian shirt (though the rest of us keep trying)
The rest of the An American Prayer album does feature some of Jim’s best work as a wordsmith. Awake and The Movie featured heavily in Oliver Stone’s 1991 film about Jim and the band. The movie The Doors may have been a flop at the cinema but it was a cult hit with the grunge era teens on VHS. It played on an almost constant loop in many a student digs throughout the first half of the decade. There’s also a full on live archive recording of Roadhouse Blues right in the middle of side two which while smacking of barrel scraping is a bit of a belter of a version. It’s the one that’s also on the In Concert album. That’s the famous one where he plays about with a girl in the audience who is clearly besotted (and possibly as high as a weather balloon). He talks star signs, shes the same one as him. He calls it bullshit. She agrees. He parps on about getting his kicks. The crowd whoop. While it made for a kinetic scene in the film. On tape it feels like a drunk pestering a girl and coming off like a dick. But the tune is a swaggering jar of jam.
Normandy Cooker’s dalliance with The Doors may have been a crude vocal lift to add star power to a fairly text book bit of tinkly electronica but you can’t deny the guys midas touch.