Explore Jim Morrison and The Doors place in a unique timing, and the cultural, social and historical events which led up to that time


1884 - Movie producer and director Mack Sennett is born Michael Sinnott, in Québec Province, Canada. As a young man he worked in vaudeville and burlesque, and, at the age of 24, he took a job with the Biograph film company, where he appeared in a comedy alongside D.W. Griffith. Sennett wrote and acted in some of Griffith's films, and then began to direct films himself. He put together the Keystone Cops - who could run, leap, fall, jump and tumble well enough to outmaneuver moving cars, speeding trains, and anything else that got in their way. He was one of the first directors to shoot outdoors on location, and he cranked his cameras at a little less than the normal speed to make his films, "a shade faster and fizzier than life." He had a hard time making the transition to talking pictures, however, and spent the end of his life in a show business retirement home, living on social security checks.

1948 - Former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor is born.

1957 - Humphrey Bogart dies of cancer of the esophagus.

1967 - An article appears in today's Daily Mail about the "holes in our roads." The snippet gives John Lennon an idea for a lyric in his song A Day in the Life.

1969 - Led Zepplin’s debut album is released in the US.

1970 - The Doors perform two shows at the Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden, NYC. This smaller venue within the Madison Square Garden complex allows the band a more intimate setting than the Garden itself would allow, similar to the Aquarius Theater shows.

1996 - David Bowie, Tom Donahue, The Jefferson Airplane, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Little Willie John, Pink Floyd, Pete Seeger, The Shirelles and the Velvet Underground are inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Doors History Spotlight: Felt Forum

The Doors are in fine form for these shows, despite the fact that it takes several numbers into the early show for them to get warmed up, after which the energy starts intensifying and building with each song, climaxing with a well-received encore of Soul Kitchen.

Jim Morrison opens the late show with the exclamation that "Everything is fucked up as usual!" The momentum of the second show picks up where the first show left off. Of particular note is their finale of The End which Morrison introduces with the macabre wailing of "Bring out your dead!", the mournful cries evoking the corpse gatherers during the Black Plague epidemic of fourteenth-century Europe.

Hofstra University's Chronicle comments on the late show: "The Doors have gone back to their earth, their roots, way back to those 1967 Whisky moments in LA where singer and musicians come together in a tightly interwoven package of melodic delight. They have given up the orchestrated stuff and didn't do one song from The Soft Parade album. The closest they came to that material was when they started Wild Child and couldn't get it together; the guitar wasn't harmonizing with Morrison's voice and they stopped dead, he held his nose, shook his head and groaned ''uunnh-uuhh". They did a haunting chant in the Horse Latitudes vein where Manzarek tickled bells, Krieger emitted eerie squeaks by playing his guitar strings below the bridge and Densmore rubbed his cymbals in scraping rasp while James is screaming "Bring out your dead. . .Bring out your Dead" like some twelfth-century flagellant. They ended their first night with The End, and when they left you could see they had drained all their passions out and were completely spent, like the boy who had just experienced his first taste of love-making. The audience clapped and clapped, as they had been doing all night." (Douglas Sizer, "Morrison, Doors at the Felt Forum: Pre-Parade Style Scores Heavily," Hofstra Chronicle, Jan 1970)

New York Times Critic Mike Jahn commented: "Saturday at least two dozen teen-age girls and quite a few boys had to be dragged away from the Doors' singer, Jim Morrison, by stagehands. The other three Doors played on unperturbed. Mr. Morrison has had trouble before when the police of other cities found his performances variously lewd, lascivious, indecent and profane. But by the standards of the Off-Broadway stage, Mr. Morrison's performance is fairly tame. The Doors played their familiar songs quite well, much better than in last year's concert in the Garden." (Mike Jahn, New York Times, Jan 19, 1970)

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