December 1967: The Night Jim Morrison Was Arrested On Stage

Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images
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Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images

The equal-parts rebellious and romanticized Jim Morrison may be long gone, but the trailing remainders of his legendary romps and roundabouts continue to drift by years later. 

52 years ago, Doors frontman Morrison was arrested onstage at a Doors show in New Haven, Connecticut, earning him the distinct title of being the first rock star to be arrested onstage during a gig. 

RELATED: November 1969: The Time Jim Morrison Almost Got Arrested Mid-Flight

According to keyboardist Ray Manzarek, Morrison was "making out with a girl," in the backstage showers, but was interrupted by a police officer who commanded the two to leave. Morrison defiantly refused and the cop, in response, maced Morrison, only to be informed by the manager afterwards that his victim was in fact, the Doors lead Morrison.

The officer then apologized, but the anti-authoritarian streak in Morrison had only begun its flare. "Okay, if you're famous, you don't get maced. If you're just a kid making out, then you're gonna get it." Manzarek recounted. 

Following a short delay while Morrison recovered, the provoked singer went on stage and during the performance of "Back Door Man," Morrison altered the song to inform his fans about his grievances with the police. 

Manzarek described, "There they were. The bulls, the thick guys, thick necks. Making double-time, working night, working a rock and roll show, a lot of fun. Maybe [they would] get to whack a few kids, a few teenagers, if [they could] hit a couple of long-hairs, even better."

And then Morrison began to sing, "A little blue man, in a little blue hat, a little blue pig." He told his audience, "Because I'm famous, I wasn't gonna be maced. But I'm just like you guys, if they do it to me, then they'll do it to you."

The cops immediately responded by coming onto the stage and stopping the show. They arrested Morrison mid-performance and took the singer into custody, charging him with inciting a riot, indecency and public obscenity.

The audience reacted with mass disapproval and a mini-riot, swarming the streets of New Haven in a fury, which resulted in 13 more arrests.

The Connecticut charges against Morrison were eventually dropped, but Morrison himself immortalized the infamous night years later in the Doors' 1970 album "Morrison Hotel" with the lyric, "Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven."

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