Rock 101: Jim Morrison Arrested in New Haven in 1967

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Jim Morrison in 1971. (Credit: Gloria Stavers. Producer: THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.)

Jim Morrison in 1971. (Credit: WNET.ORG.)

On December 9, 1967, 46 years ago today, Doors singer Jim Morrison was famously maced and arrested during a concert at the New Haven Arena.

According to rock lore, Morrison was making out backstage with a female fan. A police officer, not recognizing the Lizard King, told the couple to knock it off, and Morrison allegedly pushed back and cursed him out, leading to his getting zapped in the face with that awful stuff. Morrison finally made it onstage, but soon told the audience about the incident (his famous “little blue man, in the little blue cap” speech) and apparently used a few choice words, leading to his arrest and the end of the concert. He was later charged with obscenity and incitement to riot. (Watch late keyboardist Ray Manzarek tell the story below.)

When Morrison died in a Paris hotel in July 1971, he was still waiting to be tried for a 1969 obscenity conviction in Miami. Manzarek passed away earlier this year, but last week, surviving members Robby Krieger and John Densmore, after years of squabbles and legal disputes over the band’s legacy, performed together at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (Here’s some fan footage.)

The New Haven incident is an unfortunate thing to have happened in our state, sure. But today we might as well use the anniversary as an excuse to listen to some Doors music. (Warning: turn down those office speakers before you hit play.) 


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