Photo: Patricia Kennealy-Morrison (Rolling Stone) By Evelyn McDonnell, Yahoo | Patricia Kennealy‑Morrison, who died on July 21 at age 75, was a prolific, life‑long writer who in the late 1960s helped pave the way for women in music journalism and later penned popular science fantasy novels and mysteries.
She was a writer of fantasy who lived out a rock’n’roll dream of sorts. Her place in music history was sealed the day she interviewed Doors singer Jim Morrison in 1969. A romance followed, and Kennealy‑Morrison was immortalized in Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie “The Doors” as the woman to whom the singer committed in a Celtic hand‑fasting ceremony. The writer appeared in the movie as the priestess performing the pagan wedding.
It is sadly ironic that Kennealy‑Morrison is most famous for her rock‑star liaison, since she was a talented and strong‑voiced critic who was acutely aware of the paucity of opportunities offered to women in music. “For all its self hype to the contrary, rock is just another dismal male chauvinist trip, with one important difference: it’s got the power and the looseness with which to change itself,” she wrote in 1970 in Jazz & Pop, the magazine she edited.
“Patricia was as fierce as they come,” said Ellen Sander, a writer who was one of Kennealy‑Morrison’s peers in the early rock press, in an email to The Times. “She was in that first wave of rock journalists that penetrated print media with features and news that nourished a voracious but widely unrecognized readership at the time. She evolved from what she considered to be a small‑minded coterie of rock music journalists to become a popular genre fiction author and produced an astonishing volume of works.”
Patricia Kennely was born March 4, 1946, in Brooklyn, N.Y. (she later changed the spelling of her last name to match how it is pronounced). She got her bachelor’s degree from Harpur College (now State University of New York at Binghamton) in 1967. She settled into an East Village apartment shortly after moving to Manhattan “and basically never came back,” recalls her brother Kevin Kennely. The writer’s body was found in her bed in that apartment in late July. The cause of death was complications from heart disease.
Kennealy‑Morrison started her adult life in a time and place famous for its culture, politics and soundtrack. She lived a few blocks from the Fillmore East, Bill Graham’s club where rock stars honed their legends. “In those days music really could tear down walls, really could create a shared sense of community and context,” she wrote in her 1992 memoir, “Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison.”
The field of rock criticism was just being invented, and after quickly working her way up the masthead to become editor of Jazz & Pop, she emerged as one of the few women documenting the scene. She wrote with a sharp wit and a healthy mix of skepticism and romance about the towering figures of that time: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, etc.
Kennealy‑Morrison was acutely aware of the novelty of her position as a female music journalist. “Most of the women in rock journalism were little more than glorified gossipers, whether through circumstance or inclination. There were not all that many women who were given, or who seized for themselves, the freedom to write like men, like writers,” she wrote in “Strange Days.”
And yet she herself was vulnerable to the seductions of one of the most famous, and infamous, musicians of that time. Jim Morrison was a poet and sex symbol, the self‑styled “Lizard King” who had a reputation for volatility (he also had a longtime girlfriend, Pamela Courson). In “Strange Days,” Kennealy‑Morrison wrote that when they first met, sparks literally flew from static electricity when they shook hands. She took it as a sign: “I know already that this is so different, that he is different, that I am different with him. This is no editor and interview subject; nor is it star and starstruck groupie, as it would have been with those little girls downstairs. This is something else, something more, something realer.”
As a believer in Celtic witchcraft, for Patricia, the handfasting ceremony with Morrison was spiritually binding. They were never legally married and many Doors fans contest Kennealy’s assertions they were husband and wife. She maintained they were still in a relationship when he died of an overdose in 1971. In 1979 she changed her name to Kennealy‑Morrison. Years later she named her publishing company and website Lizard Queen.
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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
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Other Notable Musicians= Deaths…
Again, the number of deaths from COVID is astounding. Please get vaccinated. Truly may save your life. If you want to know more about any of the musicians we lost this past week, please check out http://www.wikipedia.com
5: Brian Henderson, 89, Australian television presenter (Nine News Sydney, Bandstand), kidney cancer.
4: Paul Johnson, 50, American DJ (“Get Get Down”) and record producer, COVID‑19.
3: Kelli Hand, 56, American musician and DJ; Allan Stephenson, 71, British‑born South African composer, cellist and conductor; José Ramos Tinhorão [pt], 93, Brazilian music critic and journalist, pneumonia; Lyutsiya Tulesheva, 80, Kazakhstani singer and pianist.
2: Kalyani Menon, 80, Indian playback singer (Nallathoru Kudumbam, Pudhiya Mannargal, Paarthale Paravasam).
1: Paul Cotton, 78, American musician (Poco, Illinois Speed Press) and songwriter (“Heart of the Night”); Kazimierz Kowalski, 70, Polish opera singer, opera manager and television presenter; Gino Renni, 78, Italian‑Argentine actor and singer, complications from COVID‑19.
31: Charles Connor, 86, American drummer (Little Richard); Alvin Ing, 89, American singer and actor (The Final Countdown, Stir Crazy, The Gambler), COVID‑19; Jerzy Matuszkiewicz, 93, Polish jazz musician, bandleader and film score composer (Melomani).
30: Jacob Desvarieux, 65, French singer (Kassav’), musician and record producer, COVID‑19; Olga Prats, 82, Portuguese pianist, teacher and pedagogue.
29: Gonzoe, 45, American rapper (Kausion), shot; Andre Manika], 58, Indonesian singer.
28: Giuseppe Giacomini, 80, Italian operatic tenor; Dusty Hill, 72, American Hall of Fame musician (ZZ Top) and songwriter (“Tush”); Shahram Kashani, 47, Iranian pop singer, COVID‑19; Ruben Radica, 90, Croatian composer; Johnny Ventura, 81, Dominican merengue and salsa musician, mayor of Santo Domingo (1998B2002) and deputy (1982B1986), heart attack.