When the Doors defied Ed Sullivan—and got banned from the show

On Sept. 17, 1967, the Doors were booked to appear on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and things did not go exactly as planned.

Fronted of course by the iconic Jim Morrison, the group had recently earned its first No. 1 hit with “Light My Fire,” and Sullivan’s show was a choice booking, Ultimate Classic Rock’s Sterling Whitaker writes. “But the Doors’ performance that night would live on in a very different way, resulting in the group being banned from the show in perpetuity,” Whitaker adds.

According to the official ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ website, rehearsals for the show went well. Shortly before air-time, a producer from the show soon came by to inform the band that they needed to change the line “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” to “Girl, we couldn’t get much better” when performing “Light My Fire.” Whitaker explains that this was “ostensibly because the line might be construed as referring to drugs.”

He adds, “Band members have given varying accounts of whether they ever agreed to change the line or not, but there’s no denying what happened live on the air.

“After a strong, but unremarkable performance of ‘People Are Strange,’ the band launched into ‘Light My Fire,’ and as the video shows, Jim Morrison sang the original lyric instead of making the suggested change.”

According to accounts, producers had hoped to book them six more times, but instead decided to indefinitely ban the Doors from the show. Whitaker writes that Morrison reportedly replied, “Hey, man, we just did the Sullivan show.”

>>Read more here.

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