Jim Morrison and the Doors in History for February
Jim Morrison and the Doors in History for February 15


1797 - Piano maker Henry Engelhard Steinway is born.

1882 - Actor John Barrymore is born in Philadelphia.

1941 - Big band leader Duke Ellington makes his first recording of the classic Take the A Train at Victor’s Hollywood studio. The song would become the Duke’s signature, receiving a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1976.

1943 - American Jazz pianist Thomas "Fats" Waller dies at 38.

1944 - Mick Avory, drummer with the Kinks, is born.

1954 - Joe Turner records the original version of Shake Rattle & Roll for Atlantic. By April it will soaring up the R&B charts. But just two months later, a white Western Swing band named Bill Haley & The Comets records it, knocking Big Joe out of the record stores.

1958 - The Dick Clark Show, a new Saturday night rock & roll television program debuts on ABC-TV. The show features appearances by Jerry Lee Lewis, Pat Boone, Connie Francis, Chuck Willis, the Royal Teens and Johnnie Ray.

1964 - A Billboard story headline reads 'U.S. Rocks & Reels from Beatles Invasion - Beatles Begin New British Artist Push.' The story goes on to report that 'Great Britain hasn't been as influential in American affairs since 1775.' The fame of the Beatles has major and independent firms scrambling for more Britsh product. Meantime, Billboard, for the first time ever, lists one act, The Beatles, with five songs in the Hot 100.

1965 - Nat 'King' Cole dies of complications following surgery for lung cancer in Santa Monica. The music legend was 45. Cole was born in Alabama and raised in Chicago. He first recorded in 1936, then formed the King Cole Trio in 1939 (he was the group’s pianist). He began his phenomenal solo career in 1950. Cole had feature roles in the films St. Louis Blues and Cat Ballou, and made many appearances in Hollywood and on TV. His own network show was abruptly canceled in the mid-1950s when sponsors refused to advertise on a program hosted by a black entertainer. Nat Cole was posthumously awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1990.
1967 - The first anti-bootlegging recording laws are enacted.

1969 - The No. 1 single on the American pop chart today is Sly & the Family Stone with Everyday People, with the Doors' Touch Me at No. 3.

1969 - A Florida woman is arrested for impersonating Aretha Franklin during a concert. Vickie Jones' impersonation is so convincing that nobody in the club asks for a refund.

1970 -The Doors appear at the Chicago Auditorium Theater for two shows.

1970 - The Daughters of the American Revolution impose a ban against rock concerts at their Washington D.C. auditorium, Constitution Hall, after Sly & the Family Stone arrive five hour late for their gig and the crowd inflicts $1,000 worth of damage on the building.

1971 - Pamela Courson checks into the Georges V Hotel in Paris, where Jim Morrison had stayed during his previous visit to the city. Jim is to join her a short while later. The luxurious hotel, one of the most expensive in Europe, is considered a 'Safe Haven' for celebrities.

1981 - Blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield, known for his work with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Electric Flag, Bob Dylan and Al Kooper, dies at age 37 in San Francisco. He is discovered dead in his car of an accidental drug overdose.

1970 - The Doors nonchalantly take the stage for the early show at The Chicago Auditorium Theater, proceeding to play a very relaxed but unusually tight performance. Preceding The Spy, Jim initiates an impromptu rendition of Will the Circle be Unbroken during which Ray quickly jumps in on acoustic piano. This may well have been the only time the band played this song. The band ends with a lengthy Light My Fire jam during which, Ray takes an extended solo, and Jim concludes Summertime with numerous repetitions of the song's plaintive refrain, "Please Don't Cry."

In the second show, Jim frequently inserts poetry into the songs, eliciting mixed reactions from the audience. Ray remembers the show fondly, likening it to nights at the Whisky, when Jim would drift into a stream of spontaneous poetry. Many appreciate the variations, but others seem to be frustrated by the detours. Overall, their performance goes very well, with much of the audience delighted by the Door's immersion into the blues. Also appearing with the Doors are The Staples Singers.

Billboard gives a somewhat negative evaluation of the shows which seems to miss the point of the second show entirely: “The Doors just couldn't put it together despite playing for nearly two hours in both shows. The first show was clearly superior to the second, which was drowned in the ocean of free verse by singer Jim Morrison. The second show found Morrison and the rest of the group to be in separate worlds. Although fine instrumentally, especially Densmore, Morrison frequently got caught up in his own lyrics, mixing lines from different songs, and generally confusing everyone. The concert closed, appropriately, with The End, featuring a strong solo by Manzarek.” (George Knemeyer, “Talent in Action” Billboard, Feb. 28, 1970)

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