REMINISCENT MONDAY: Jim Morrison's Privates and the 'Miami Incident'

Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, onstage at Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami, Florida on March 1, 1969. Photo by David Levine.
Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, onstage at Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami, Florida on March 1, 1969. Photo by David Levine.

Everyone loves a good mystery, and while we usually expect tales of unknown intrigue to be in the form of books or movies, there are many unsolved tales throughout music history that has puzzled fans for years. Is Paul dead? Who killed Biggie and Tupac? Did Led Zeppelin get freaky with a groupie and a freshly caught mud shark? Most of these stories have either been proven false or remain unsolved (except for the "mud shark" one...turns out that one's true), but there is one particular question that has remained a classic rock legend to this day: What the hell happened at the Doors' concert in Miami?

There are many varying accounts of the night of March 1, 1969, but what we at least know for sure is that the show was unmitigated chaos, the incident marked the beginning of the end for the Doors, and the night ended with the band's enigmatic frontman, Jim Morrison, facing jail time for allegedly showing his genitals to the crowd of 12,000 people. But before we get into whether or not Morrison pulled out his little Jimmy onstage, let's zoom out and discuss the night in its entirety, including the events leading up to it and its lasting impact on the legacy of the Doors and Jim Morrison.

Despite a string of hits and a strong wave of success, 1969 proved to be a trying time for the Los Angeles quartet, largely thanks to Morrison's increasingly erratic behavior. The singers drinking problems and increased reluctance to cooperate in the studio caused the recording sessions for the bands fourth album, The Soft Parade, to grind to a near halt, only to be released to lukewarm critical reception. Morrison had built his persona on being provocative and confrontational, from insulting police to their face onstage to refusing to censor himself on The Ed Sullivan Show (yes, "higher" was hard-R language in 1967). It was only expected for Morrison to be seductive and dangerous onstage, "The King of Orgasmic Rock" as the Miami Herald called him at the time, but problems arose when that persona consumed him, both onstage and off, to the point where he couldn't properly function.

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