It was once thought that Neil Young wrote Cinnamon Girl about her. While this was simply a rumor, what is true is that Meg Ryan once played her in a movie.
What’s also true is that Pamela Courson’s boyfriend – who just happened to be Jim Morrison of the Doors – once lived with her in Laurel Canyon. The street they lived on would became the subject of one of the band’s most cherished songs.
You won’t find Love Street on any MapQuest searches of Los Angeles. What you will find is 8021 Rothdell Trail, where the couple once resided on the top floor. “Love Street” was their nickname for the thoroughfare because of all the hippies who lived in the canyon.
Courson was born in 1946 and dropped out of high school to join the music and drug scene of the Sunset Strip (which may have seemed destined for a girl born in Weed, California). It was there that she met Morrison, while the Doors were still struggling to land a recording contract.
The couple began a relationship that was described as “open” and “tumultuous.” It would continue throughout the remainder of Morrison’s life.
Sometime before 1968, Morrison and Courson moved into the apartment on Rothdell Trail where Morrison wrote a poem about her. It would later become the song Love Street after Doors guitarist Robby Krieger put the words to music. The song appeared on the band’s Waiting For The Sun album, and was the B-side of the single Hello, I Love You.
Courson had “a house and garden” when she lived on Rothdell Trail, as well as a balcony, from which she and Jim would watch the hippies pass by. (The “she has me and she has you,” line in the song is said to refer to Courson’s habit of sharing her bed with other men besides Morrison.)
When Jim died in Paris in 1971, his entire estate went to Courson, who he had named in his 1969 will. When she followed him in death from a heroin overdose during this week in 1974, the Morrison fortune passed to Courson’s parents.
Morrison’s parents, who Jim always claimed were dead, were both very much alive at the time of his death, and later contested his will. In an effort to strengthen Courson’s claim to Morrison’s royalties, the Courson family attorneys were somehow able to successfully argue that Jim and Pamela were a common-law married couple, even though common-law marriages don’t exist in the state of California.
After Courson’s OD, her parents tried to have her body buried in Paris alongside Morrison’s, but legal red tape prevented this from happening.
Instead, her cremated remains were entombed in Santa Ana in a niche with her name listed as “Pamela Susan Morrison.”
(Last June, the couple’s house on Rothdell Trail, where Jim wrote Love Street and several other of the band’s songs, came on the market for $1.1 million.)