Contact Us

48 Years Ago: The Doors Banned From ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’

It was a clash of mainstream culture vs. the counterculture when the Doors were booked to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show on Sept. 17, 1967. Things did not go as smoothly as the producers may have hoped.

Fronted by their charismatic-but-unpredictable singer Jim Morrison, the group had recently scored its first No. 1 hit with “Light My Fire,” and Sullivan’s show — which had made instant superstars of Elvis Presley and the Beatles — was a choice booking. 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.

According to the official Ed Sullivan Show website, rehearsals for the show went well, and with 15 minutes to air time, Sullivan went to see the band in their dressing room, telling them, “You boys look great, [but] you ought to smile a little more.” Shortly after, a producer from the show 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,” ostensibly because the line might be construed as referring to drugs.

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. After the show, producers informed the Doors that they had hoped to book the band six more times, but had decided instead to ban the group from the show in the future  -  to which Morrison reportedly replied, “Hey, man, we just did the Sullivan show.”

The Doors would go on to other television appearances, and a career that encompassed hit albums like Strange Days and L.A. Woman, but they never played Sullivan’s show again. Morrison’s increasing volatility and unreliability due to drinking and drugs slowly ate at the group, and the Doors performed their last concert together on Dec. 12, 1970.  Jim Morrison was found dead in a bathtub in Paris on July 3, 1971 at the age of 27. Since no autopsy was conducted, no cause of death was ever officially determined.

See the Doors and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the ’60s

This Day in Rock History: September 17

Next: Top 10 Doors Songs

Best of B102.7

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for B102.7 VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive B102.7 VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.