50 years ago, The Doors’ singer was maced backstage by the cops and then arrested while performing – we take a look at the events that led to the arrest, including new details that have come to light.

The reasons, causes and explanations vary but the video does not lie. Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors—the Lizard King, Mr. Mojo Risin’—was arrested on stage by New Haven police on Dec. 9, 1967.

Like so many things in Morrison’s too-short life, the event in New Haven has taken on the stuff of legend. On the 50th anniversary of this event, PKM revisits this magic moment. Memory plays tricks on us all, and even those who were there at the New Haven Arena that night seem to view the events through a hazy lens. Many others who heard about the arrest second hand chalked it up, in the context of those tumultuous times, to “The Man” “busting The People’s music.”

Danny Sugarman, in his myth-making Morrison biography, No One Here Gets Out Alive (still in print, somehow, after 37 years), didn’t even get the year correct, attributing it to a Dec. 9, 1968 concert. This throws into question his entire account of the events backstage that led to the Mace-ing, roughing up and then, later, the arrest of Morrison—the first time in rock ‘n’ roll history a performer has been arrested on stage. Oliver Stone must have taken Sugarman’s book as gospel because he, too, has the New Haven Arena show depicted as happening in 1968 in his myth-making and much-criticized film The Doors.

Ray Manzarek, the Doors’ keyboard player, claims in his book Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors, that, before the concert, Morrison and a young woman were backstage talking in a hallway. Seeking more privacy, Morrison took the woman into the restroom connected to one of the dressing rooms. A police officer found them in there and told them to leave, Morrison provoked the cop (allegedly telling him to “eat it” while grabbing his crotch), the cop responded by Mace-ing Morrison. By the time Morrison made his way back to the hallway, he was blinded and in pain. After a long delay, the Doors went onstage.

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Retrieved on 28 December 2018 from https://pleasekillme.com/jim-morrison-new-haven/

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