Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison is first rock artist to be arrested onstage

Jim Morrison was arrested On December 9, 1967
The Doors performed a now infamous concert at New Haven Arena in New Haven, Connecticut, which ended abruptly when Morrison was arrested by local police. Morrison became the first rock artist ever to be arrested onstage during a concert performance.

Morrison’s mugshot taken in New Haven
Morrison had been “making out” with a fan backstage in a bathroom shower stall prior to the start of the concert when a police officer happened upon them. Unaware that he was the lead singer of the band about to perform, the officer told Morrison and the girl to leave, to which Morrison said, “Eat it.” The policeman took out a can of mace and warned Morrison, “Last chance”, to which Morrison replied, “Last chance to eat it.” There is some discrepancy as to what happened next: according to No One Here Gets Out Alive, the girl ran and Morrison was maced; but Manzarek recounts in his book that both Jim and the fan were sprayed and that the concert was delayed for an hour while Jim recovered.

Halfway through the first set, Morrison proceeded to go on an obscenity-laced tirade to the audience, describing what had happened backstage and taunting the police, who were surrounding the stage. The concert was abruptly ended when Morrison was dragged offstage by the police; he was taken to a local police station, photographed and booked on charges of inciting a riot, indecency and public obscenity. Charges against Morrison, as well as those against three journalists also arrested in the incident (Mike Zwerin, Yvonne Chabrier and Tim Page), were dropped several weeks later for lack of evidence.

Recording of the group’s third album in April 1968 was marred by tension as a result of Morrison’s increasing dependence on alcohol and drugs, and the rejection of his new epic, “Celebration of the Lizard”, by band producer Paul Rothchild, who deemed the work not commercial enough. Approaching the height of their popularity, The Doors played a series of outdoor shows that led to frenzied scenes between fans and police, particularly at Chicago Coliseum on May 10.

The band began to branch out from their initial form for this third LP. Because they had exhausted their original repertoire, they began writing new material. Waiting for the Sun became their first No. 1 LP, and the single “Hello, I Love You” was their second and last US No. 1 single. With the 1968 release of “Hello, I Love You”, the rock press pointed out the song’s resemblance to The Kinks’ 1964 hit, “All Day and All of the Night”. Kinks guitarist Dave Davies was particularly irritated by the similarity. In concert, Morrison was occasionally dismissive of the song, leaving the vocals to Manzarek, as can be seen in the documentary The Doors are Open.

A month after riotous scenes took place at the Singer Bowl in New York, the group flew to Britain for their first performance outside of North America. They held a press conference at the ICA Gallery in London and played shows at The Roundhouse Theatre. The results of the trip were broadcast on Granada TV’s The Doors Are Open, later released on video. They played dates in Europe, along with Jefferson Airplane, including a show in Amsterdam where Morrison collapsed on stage after a drug binge.

The group flew back to the US and played nine more US dates before returning to work in November on their fourth LP. They ended the year with a successful new single, “Touch Me” (released in December 1968), which hit US No. 3. They started 1969 with a sold-out show on January 24 at Madison Square Garden.

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