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Paris. It was the first year of NPR and Mike Walters, an early host of All Things Considered, worked his way up to that news by reciting a few relevant lyrics from "An American Prayer," a song written by Morrison: "We live, we die, and death not ends it / Journey we more into the nightmare / Cling to life our passioned flower."

Morrison's death was a cultural milestone of NPR's first year. The Doors had just released L.A. Woman, an album so memorable it still lives and breathes, half a century later. The title track is one of the great rock songs of that period: "Driving down your freeways / Midnight alleys roam / Cops in cars, the topless bars / Never saw a woman / So alone, so alone," Morrison sings on the rock classic, a vignette about people at the margins of society.

Morrison often wrote about alienation, drawing millions of fans, including generations of high school kids who could relate. Listeners were also entranced by the band's unmistakably dark sound. When Morrison performed, he and the band packed auditoriums with their theatrical screams and pulsating electronic music. And by 1971, the year of NPR's story, The Doors had played some of the biggest gigs, like the Hollywood Bowl and The Ed Sullivan Show.

That spring, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter moved to Paris, where he had plans to develop his poetry. But, a few months later, he died of a cause that was listed as heart failure, though no autopsy was performed. The initial news of Morrison's death and funeral was kept quiet to avoid the attention that surrounded the passing of such other rock personalities as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

"Morrison's death was heartbreaking," says Anthony Decurtis, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. "You know, he lived hard for someone to die at 27, certainly. And it was a big, big loss. I think Morrison had much more work to do. We all have missed out on that."

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Be on KRCB 104.9...answer this month's "Talk to Me" question: With fire season upon us, are you having second thoughts about Sonoma County?
 
You can do a recording right from your computer or smartphone, but please use an external microphone (ear buds are good enough). Don't worry, you can try as many times you like until you get a "good take." We won’t hear any of the bad ones. After you finish, the page will give you a chance to listen and decide if you like it. Once you get a good one, you'll be asked for your name and email address. Then hit "Send.” (Click "reset" if you would rather try again.)
 
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Each week, Santa Rosa-based travel writer Dana Rebmann introduces us to great local spots to visit. Listen on-air for the latest. Or click here:
 
Crane Creek Regional Park
Marijke's Sculpture Grove
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Listen to the Sonoma County Birdwatch!

fullerThroughout the week, we play short segments about what birds are out in Sonoma County and what they sound like, from Harry Fuller. Here's what we've aired so far. Harry spent his working career as a TV and Internet newsman in the Bay Area.  He’s been leading bird trips and writing about birds for thirty years.  He has written three natural history books: Freeway Birding, I-5 San Francisco to Seattle; San Francisco’s Natural History, Sand Dunes to Streetcars; Great Gray Owl in California, Oregon & Washington. He blogs regularly about birds: atowhee.blog.  And he frequently leads birding trips on the Pacific Coast. Check him out at http://www.towhee.net/.

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Our podcast "Living Downstream" has been named by the Global Center for Climate Justice as one of "Five Climate Justice Podcasts You Need to Follow." Wow: https://bit.ly/2Xkbs0D

Listen to some recent episodes! Generations in Houston's Fifth Ward Contend with Contamination, Cancer Clusters will break your heart, and perhaps solidify your resolve to make change. The Sea Next Door is told in true partnership with the community living near California's Salton Sea, an environmental powder keg, where the state has no idea how to avoid a coming health disaster.

Get them here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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