The late legendary front-man for The Doors, Jim Morrison received a pardon today from the Florida Clemency board for conduct during a drunken 1969 Miami concert that resulted in his arrest and conviction after he was accused of lewd public behavior during the show. Morrison had to surrender to FBI agents days after the show on one felony count of lewd and lascivious behavior as well as three misdemeanor counts related to his public drunkenness after a newspaper ran a terrible review of the show. Morrison was later convicted of two misdemeanors, indecent exposure and open profanity, and sentenced to six months hard labor in jail and a $500 fine. While appealing the conviction in 1971, Morrison left the U.S. for Paris but died suddenly, effectively ending the case. Morrison was offered a plea bargain deal for the band to perform a free Miami concert, but rejected that fair offer, because a lot of fans of the band expected much better than the drunken behavior of Morrison that evening.
During the concert, some claim that a drunken Morrison taunted the crowd with “Do you want to see my cock”, and supposed pulled down his signature leather pants and briefly simulated masturbation for the audience and also simulated oral sex with guitarist, Robbie Krieger. The incident not only resulted in the eventual arrest and charges against Morrison, but took The Doors off parts of their concert tour as shows were canceled and many mainstream stores stopped selling records by The Doors in response to “decency groups” exerting public pressure(read extortion. Public law just doesn’t allow someone to threaten to do something to someone unless you do as they demand). 1969 also was a difficult year for the band as well, as critics weren’t very happy with THE SOFT PARADE album for the most part, although the album spurred four singles including the smash hit, “Touch Me”. But singles such as “Runnin’ Blue” with Robbie Krieger’s hillbilly voiced chorus seemed just plain weird to many music critics. The album was a commercial success, but a critical failure.
By 1971, The Doors performing with Jim Morrison was probably over. His alcohol and drug abuse, and wild living just seemed to be too much of a strain for the highly disciplined musicianship of the other band members. On one hand, Jim Morrison was their star, and they were his backing act. On the other hand, such fine musicians deserved much better conduct from their front-man and far less problems. Morrison was both good and bad for business. But, two efforts by The Doors without Morrison, OTHER VOICES and FULL CIRCLE were generally both failures, both with fans and the critics, despite some fine musicianship. Both albums made it pretty clear that Jim Morrison was The Doors. His poetry, his performances, his persona were The Doors.
Outgoing Florida Governor Charlie Crist read a statement which seemed to indicate that Morrison could not appeal his conviction due to his death, and numerous witnesses backed up Morrison’s account of the Miami event, but the judge cutoff testimony during trial. The governor also cited that Morrison wasn’t allowed to present a “community standards” defense, although such a defense was generally part of the 1973 Supreme Court decision regarding obscenity. All of these issues seemed to demand that the case be dropped. But, the real untold story here is that Jim Morrison was a true music legend, and no doubt all of the Florida Clemency board as well the governor remember being raised with The Doors on the radio or in their record collections. And whatever drunken nonsense Jim Morrison got himself into at this concert that evening should probably be overlooked for his contribution to music and to American culture. Jim Morrison was a troubled genius. He had his own demons. But, now he has one less. And that probably makes both his family and fans feel much better today.
Regardless of all things, the Miami show had to one for the legend books. Few shows are talked about years later like this one. And Jim Morrison certainly cemented his “bad boy” image with legendary concert shows such as this, making him an original rock and roll rebel.