He was known as "The Lizard King."
A true rock legend, for his music, his style and his on-stage antics, Jim Morrison and the Doors rose to mega heights before his untimely death in Paris at age 27.
Morrison died before I started my official duties as rock writer, but I, like thousands of others, was a fan.
My encounters with the Doors actually began in 1967 in Fort Worth, Texas. A big rock extravaganza was booked for the Roundup Inn, part of the Will Rogers cultural complex on the city's west side.
One of the big sponsors was local AM station KFJZ, featuring legendary DJ Mark Stevens, better known to his followers as "Mark E. Baby." The big headline act was The Box Tops, who were riding atop the charts with a song called "The Letter."
But one of the secondarty acts was also generating quite a bit of excitement with the song, "Light My Fire." That group was of course The Doors, led by the sultry, deep-voiced Morrison, sporting his trademark leather pants and long, tossled locks. He earned the moniker "Lizard King" with his serpentine stage moves.
Understand the Roundup Inn was a big, cavernous hall, and the acts were scattered about in various locations. Concertgoers shuffled from stage to stage and could literally stand right by the amplifiers, almost able to touch the performers if they wanted to.
So there was Morrison and the rest of the Doors -- Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger -- performing "Light My Fire" to the crowd that had gathered around them. I was probably 10 feet from Morrison's gyrating microphone stand.
The next time I saw Morrison in Texas was under much different circumstances.
The Doors were headlining a concert in Dallas and "bad boy" Morrison had made headlines when he was arrested for exposing himself at a performance in Miami. Needless to say, Dallas police was out in force.
But this time I brought a camera and managed to snap 20 or so photos of Morrison in action. It was the last time I would see The Doors in concert.
Rock star, poet, film-maker ... Morrison seemed yet another victim of a drug-and-alcohol-laden lifestyle that also claimed fellow rock stars Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, each of the age of 27.
His songs and persona remain ingrained in our culture, and his gravesite has become one of the top tourist attractions in the City of Light.
Music was always a big deal to me. Whether records, reel-to-reel tape or cassettes, I liked to surround myself with music. So it wasn't a big stretch that when i joined the staff of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1970, I volunteered in my off time to write about music and musicians.