Rare Portrait Photos of Jim Morrison in 1968

Here, four decades after Morrison’s death in Paris, LIFE.com presents color portraits of the 24-year-old rocker/poet, plus a few previously unpublished shots of the Doors playing New York’s famed Fillmore East.

At the time of his 1968 portrait session with Joel in New York, Morrison and his bandmates had released two albums (featuring hits like “Light My Fire,” “People Are Strange” and “Love Me Two Times”), and were about to record a third, Waiting for the Sun. As their popularity grew, 33-year-old LIFE writer Fred Powledge, taking a break from his typical beat (civil rights and race relations), aimed to “dig,” in an almost scientific fashion, the weird but compelling music his 9-year-old daughter was into.

(Photos: Yale Joel—TIME & LIFE Pictures/Getty Images)

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