Jim Morrison and the Doors in History for April
Explore Jim Morrison and the Doors in a unique timing and the cultural, social, historical and political events which led up to that time.


1327 - Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca), 22, sees a beautiful married woman in the Church of Santa Clara, Avignon. He will write 366 poems to her throughout his life, addressing her always as 'Laura,' never revealing her true identity.

1884 - Famed film director Walter Huston is born Walter Houghston. He would go on to win the Academy Award for Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Duel in the Sun.

1895 - Following the acquittal of the Marquis of Queensberry on libel charges, Oscar Wilde is arrested and held in custody. During the trial Wilde denied he had written The Priest and the Acolyte. 'Was that story immoral?' asked the court. 'It was much worse than immoral,' Wilde replied. 'It was badly written.'

1909 - According to news of the day, Commodore Robert Peary becomes the first man to reach the North Pole–not counting Santa Claus, of course. In truth, Robert Peary and Matthew H. Henson, Peary’s servant, were the first men to reach the North Pole. Because Henson was a hired black man, his presence at this historic moment was not recognized until 1945 when he received a medal for outstanding service in the field of science from the U.S. government.

1916 - Charlie Chaplin is 26 years old this day when he signs a movie contract with the Mutual Film Corporation. At $675,000 a year, becoming the highest-paid film star in the world.

1924 - Bessie Smith records Bo Weavil Blues with Robert Robbins on viola, and Irving Johns on piano, in New York City, for Columbia records.

1927 - Gerry Mulligan, extraordinary jazz baritone sax player and composer, who would go on to work with everyone from Miles to Mingus to Monk, is born today in New York.

1929 - Pianist, composer and Academy Award winner André (Ludwig) Previn is born. His film scores include Gigi, Porgy and Bess, Irma La Douce, and My Fair Lady. He would also conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony, London and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras.

1937 - Country musician and songwriter Merle Haggard is born. He is known for Okie from Muskogee, Workin’ Man Blues and Mama Tried.

1942 - Film writer and director Barry Levinson is born. He would win the Academy Award for Rain Man in 1988. His films also include Disclosure, Bugsy, Good Morning, Vietnam, The Natural, Diner, Avalon, Tin Men, Inside Moves, And Justice for All, High Anxiety and Silent Movie. He would also win the Emmy Award as a writer on the The Carol Burnett Show [1974, 1975], for producer for Displaced Person, an American Playhouse production in 1985; and the Emmy Award as director for Gone for Goode, an episode of Homicide-Life on the Street.

1944 - The Pretty Things bass player John Stax is born.

1944 - Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas is born Holly Michelle Gilliam in Long Beach, CA.

1945 - Bob Marley is born Robert Nesta Marley in Rhoden Hall, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica.

1954 - The frozen TV Dinner is first put on sale by Swanson & Sons. 

1956 - Capitol Tower, the home of Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA, is dedicated. The building is the first circular office tower designed in America, at 13 stories tall and 92 feet in diameter. At night, a light at the tip of the tower blinks the letters "H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D" in Morse Code.

1957 - Trolley cars in New York City complete their final runs from Queens to Manhattan, to be retired at the end of the day.

1958 - Alan Freed's Big Beat Show opens in Cleveland featuring Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Frankie Lymon, Danny & The Juniors, The Chantels, Larry Williams, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Jo Ann Campbell And Ed Townsend.

1959 - Hal Holbrook opens in the critically acclaimed, off-Broadway presentation of Mark Twain Tonight. Quotes from the famous humorist include: “It is best to read the weather forecast, before we pray for rain.”; “The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.”; “Modesty died when clothes were born.”; “Be good and you will be lonesome.”; and “Familiarity breeds contempt–and children.”

1959 - America’s funny men, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis and Mort Sahl, and comedic actor Tony Randall, along with the Great Britain’s outstanding actors, David Niven and Laurence Olivier, entertained the guests of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science at the 31st Annual Academy Awards ceremony. The audience filled the RKO Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles with applause for the Best Picture of 1958, Gigi.

1962 - Pravda warns Soviet youth of the dangers of 'twisting.'

1965 - The Beach Boys record California Girls.

1967 - The Doors play The Modesto Skating Rink Arena, Modesto, CA.

1968 - Steve Miller, on tour in England, writes an article for Billboard decrying the British rock scene as 'more an industry than a scene...It's at a low, lifeless point...The only good bands I've seen are Traffic, Marmalade and Procul Harum. I've seen bands doing queer bits in their underwear to get attention.'

1968 - Apple Corps Ltd., the Beatles' new record company and management and publishing firm, opens offices at 95 Wigmore Street, London.

1968 - Pink Floyd announces founder Syd Barrett has officially left the group. He suffering from psychiatric disorders compounded by drug use.

1969 - Bassist Pete Quaife announces that he's quitting the Kinks.

1969 - Procol Harum, John Mayall and others appear at the first, and last, Palm Springs Pop Festival and San Andreas Boogie in Palm Springs, California. The festival site holds 15,000 people but 25,000 show up which meant more force needed to disperse the crowd and the rioting.

1970 - Jim Morrison's attorney, Max Fink requests a deferral of sentencing in the trial on federal charges stemming from the Continental Airlines flight. Judge William P. Copple approves the extension, based on Morrison's claim that it was a case of mistaken identity.

1971 - Russian born composer Igor Stravinsky, who shook the world with his compositions, The Rite of Spring and The Firebird, dies in New York at age 88.

1971 - Rolling Stones Records is formed to promote the hits of The Rolling Stones. The famous Stones trademark, the lips logo, would become widely used. Brown Sugar is the first hit released by the Rolling Stones on the new label, followed by Wild Horses.

1973 - The Stylistics receive a gold record for their ballad hit, Break Up to Make Up. The Philadelphia soul group placed 10 hits on the pop charts in the 1970s, including You Are Everything, Betcha By Golly Wow, I’m Stone in Love With You and You Make Me Feel Brand New.

1974 - The first concert film featuring a soundtrack in quadraphonic sound opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre. Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones turned out to be a ‘stone’ smash.

1986 - Roger Waters releases a statement saying that he will contest the use of the name Pink Floyd by the other three in the band, as he considers himself to be the driving force behind them.

1992 - In London, George Harrison plays his first full-length live concert there since the final Beatles performance in 1969, to benefit the Natural Law Party.

1996 - Acting legend Greer Garson dies in Dallas at 92.

1999 - Tipper Gore, wife of Vice-President and presidential candidate Al Gore, sits in on conga drums with former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Mickey Hart during a fundraiser for her husband's presidential campaign in San Jose, California. They play Queen Jane.

1999 - Red Norvo, who performed with such greats as Charles Mingus and Frank Sinatra and is credited with introducing the xylophone to jazz, dies at the age of 91.

1999 - Sony Corp. announces plans to begin selling Super Audio CD players and related products in Japan. Sony's first SACD products are targeted mainly at the high end of the audio market. The SCD-1 SACD player has a suggested retail price of 500,000 Yen ($4,200).

2000 - An all-star tribute to Joni Mitchell is held in New York featuring performances by Shawn Colvin, James Taylor, Cyndi Lauper, Richard Thompson, Sweet Honey, Elton John, Cassandra Wilson, Wynonna Judd, k.d. lang, Bryan Adams, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

For more day-by-day history go to HistoryUnlimited.net