On this day in 1967 Jim Morrison gets arrested on stage in New Haven

One day after celebrating his birthday, the frontman of The Doors became the first Rock star ever to be arrested on stage

On this day in 1967 Jim Morrison gets arrested on stage in New Haven

On December 9th, 1967, one day after celebrating his birthday, Jim Morrison, the frontman of The Doors became the first Rock star ever to be arrested on stage. It is one of Rock music’s most seminal moments, at the height of The Doors popularity in the U.S after having hit the top of the charts during that summer with “Light My Fire”, the band were touring promoting their latest released album “Strange Days”, but things went downhill in New Haven, Connecticut when Morrison engaged in an exchange of words with the local police. Minutes before going on stage, Jim Morrison was backstage in the shower room “making out” with a groupie when a police officer who didn’t recognized Morrison, asked him to leave the area. Known for his anti-system ethics, the singer refused to leave the area, also explaining he was with the band, however, it was the way that he refused to leave that sparkled the confront, when Morrison supposedly grabbed his crotch and asked the officer to “eat it”. The things escalated quickly and The Lizard King got sprayed with mace on his face by the police officer. Once out, the crew confirmed he was indeed with the band, but he was not going to just do nothing after that episode, and while on stage, Morrison tells the story of the backstage episode and starts taunting the police who drag him off the stage and arrest him. This wasn’t the first time Morrison was arrested, but it was the first since he had became famous, and the event caused the crowd to riot leaving the venue in disarray and many are arrested. Later over 100 protesters gathered at the police station in demonstration and more arrests were made. There were several photos shot during that evening of Morrison confronting the police, but only a few seconds of stage footage exists, and it shows the singer being dragged off stage by the police. In the 1991 biopic The Doors, Oliver Stone recreated this episode with Val Kilmer starring as Jim Morrison, however, the police station scene after the concert didn’t made it to the final cut but can be found on the movie DVD extras. Jim Morrison was arrested several more times after New Haven, leading The Doors to be considered as a dangerous band and with a growing bad reputation for the rest of their time together with Morrison. Most notably was the Miami episode where the singer, a Florida native, reportedly exposed himself on stage after extensive raps offending the crowd and glorifying California. For that, the FBI issued a warrant, but Morrison never saw the end of the trial as he passed away ate age 27 while living in Paris in 1971, but several decades later the state of Florida issued a pardon.

Watch the moment where Jim Morrison is dragged off stage by the New Haven police with audio comment by The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek

Also watch a recent news report on the New Haven episode featuring some eye witnesses and one of the police officers who arrested Morrison that night

Browse through these six photographs featuring the sequence of events at The Doors concert in New Haven

Watch more The Doors related videos


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