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


1759 - Scotland's National Poet, Robert Burns is born in a small thatched cottage in the town of Alloway, and at the age of seven moves with his family to a farm a few miles away. He grew up working with his father in the fields and hearing his mother sing and tell stories. After his father died in 1784, he and his brother Gilbert became partners in the family farm. But his main occupations were writing, drinking, and womanizing. In 1786, in the midst of financial troubles which made him think of emigrating to Jamaica, his first volume of poetry was published. Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was a huge and immediate success with all classes of Scottish society. In 1788, he settled down to marry Jean Armour, and accepted a post as a tax collector. He was only thirty-seven when he died in 1796, of heart disease. He's known for his great Scottish songs, such as the perennial favorite Auld Lang Syne, for his poems of country life, and for his love poems. When he wrote his first poem, in 1783, he commented in his journal: "There certainly is some connection between Love and Music and Poetry. I never had the least thought or inclination of turning Poet till I once got heartily in love, and then rhyme and song were, in a manner, the spontaneous language of my heart."

1874 - William Somerset Maugham is born in Paris at the British Embassy. He will observe succinctly: "To write simply is as difficult as to be good."

1882 - British novelist and essayist Virginia Woolf is born Adeline Virginia Stephen, in London. Her father was the formidable Victorian intellectual Sir Leslie Stephen. As the editor of Cornhill Magazine, he nurtured the careers of Thomas Hardy, Robert Lewis Stevenson, and Henry James. After her father died in 1904, she settled in Gordon Square in London, where a circle of artists and writers gathered around her which became known as the Bloomsbury group. She married Leonard Woolf in 1912, and five years later they founded a small press, the Hogarth Press. Her novels include The Voyage Out (1915), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928). The novels focus less on traditional plot and more on the ways in which her characters experience time and the events of their daily lives. She was also a brilliant essayist, best known for her long essay, A Room of One's Own (1929), about the difficulties faced by women who want to be writers. She suffered from mental illness for most of her life, and was carefully tended by her husband Leonard. However, in March 1941, she placed several large stones in the pockets of her coat and drowned herself in the river near her home in Rodmell, Sussex. Virginia Woolf, once wrote to a friend: "I read the book of Job last night; I don't think God comes out of it well." Playwright Edward Albee said that the title of his play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf came from a piece of graffiti he read on a West Berlin wall. It’s probable the title can be interpreted in relation to the character Martha's fear of insanity.

1909 - Richard Strauss' opera Electra premieres in Dresden.

1938 - Blues great Etta James (Jamesette Hawkins) is born.

1939 - Filming begins on Gone With The Wind.

1961 - On his second day in New York, Bob Dylan hunts down his hero Woody Guthrie's family in Howard Beach. He teaches Woody's son Arlo some rudimentary harmonica.

1961 - The first live, nationally televised Presidential news conference is held by John F. Kennedy.

1963 - Janis Joplin performs in San Francisco for the first time, singing at the North Beach coffeehouse.

1969 - Jim Morrison meets Patricia Kennealy, when she interviews him for Jazz And Pop Magazine at the Plaza Hotel.

1970 - The Doors were originally scheduled to perform at the Honolulu International Center Arena, Hawaii. The Director, Guido Salmaggi prohibited the Doors from performing at the Center. He later rescinds his decision, instead offering the Doors a special contract, clearly designed to dissuade them from performing. The contract stipulates that the 'Leasor (Salmaggi) shall have the absolute right in his sole discretion to terminate the performance in progress and, regardless of whether the performance is terminated, to delay and withhold payment and settlement of all accounts and funds related to monies collected by coliseum under this agreement until completion of an investigation relating to any incident thought to be a violation.' Further, should Salmaggi decide there had been a violation, he can automatically refund all money collected at the gate. The promoters bring up the very sensible proposal that, in all fairness, a small panel, consisting of at least one clergyman, could be assigned to more objectively determine the status of any possible violations, but Salmaggi steadfastly refuses to relinquish absolute jurisdiction. Rather than allow themselves to be subject to the questionable intentions of one inflexible and clearly biased individual, the Doors immediately cancel the date, resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue for the city of Honolulu.

1971 - Grace Slick and Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane become the proud parents of a baby girl, which the they originally wanted to name God, but settled on China.

1971 - Charles Manson and three female members of his "family" are found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit murder and seven counts of murder in the first degree. They are all sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1969 killings.

1989 - Alvin Robinson, whose guitar work graced several of Dr. John's '70s recordings, dies in New Orleans.

1990 - Actress Ava Gardner, who played in several films based on Hemingway novels, dies in London.

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