News that Marianne Faithfull had copped to her ex-boyfriend Jean de Breteuil’s (alleged) involvement in Jim Morrison’s death sent me back to a poem I’d read in 2011. That poem, “The Final Times of Jim Morrison” by Ed Sanders of the Fugs, gives a concise account of how de Breteuil was (allegedly) connected to Morrison, Morrison’s longtime companion Pamela Courson, and Marianne Faithfull.
A very compressed summary of Sanders’ story follows. In the summer of 1970, Pamela was living with de Breteuil, a French count and heroin dealer, in Los Angeles. When Janis Joplin overdosed on de Breteuil’s uncut shit, he freaked out and fled with Courson to Paris; Pam left Jim a note, “which upon reading he burned.”
“Some time in the several months thereafter / de Breteuil hooked up with / Marianne Faithfull / meeting her in London / while he stayed at Keith Richards’ house.” Around Christmas, while the Doors were finishing L.A. Woman, Pam returned to L.A., telling Jim to quit the band and move to Paris with her. He agreed, and moved into a Right Bank apartment Pam (“now a stone junkie”) found for him “through connections of de Breteuil.”
Comte Jean de Breteuil
In June 1971, de Breteuil returned to Paris from London, bringing Faithfull with him and displacing Pam, who had been living in his Paris digs. Pam moved in with Jim. She scored pure Chinese H from the count. Jim and Pam spent the night of July 2 watching home movies and hoovering rails of scag. (“In between reels / they honked down strips of the powerful horse.”)
Jim gurgles. Pam slaps him awake. Jim gets in the tub. Jim pukes blood and pineapple. “After considerable vomiting / She later claimed Jim said to go back to bed / He felt better.”
Pam calls de Breteuil and tells him Jim is dead. De Breteuil rushes to the apartment and tells Pam to flush the drugs. Though he is in a big hurry, he can’t help beating up Marianne Faithfull before rushing her out the door and onto a plane to Tangier.
You’ll like the poem better. It’s got prosody, diction, rich detail—you know, a poem. Sanders’ most famous book is The Family, but did you know he was hired by Glenn Frey in the 70s to write a biography of the fucking Eagles? The 800-page manuscript, still unpublished, should be their Cocksucker Blues, but sadly there are no bootleg copies.
A 1968 episode of William F. Buckley’s Firing Line, featuring a drunken Jack Kerouac, The Fugs’ Ed Sanders and confused academic Lewis Yablonsky discussing the “Hippie” movement.