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Jim Morrison And Cannabis Culture Crash Primetime TV

Jim Morrison would have turned 72 today if he hadn't joined the 27 club on July 3, 1971, shortly after the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

The Lizard King is synonymous with 60s psychedelia. And almost every album by The Doors contains at least one song that could be claimed by cannabis enthusiasts as an anthem for the culture.

But the most celebrated song is the poppy "Light My Fire," which included the illicit lyric, "You know that it would be untrue. You know that I would be a liar. If I was to say to you. Girl, we couldn't get much higher."

The song - co-written by Morrison and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger - doesn't make explicit reference to cannabis. But there's no doubt that "higher" was a nod to the emerging '60s counterculture.

Even Ed Sullivan detected the controversial allusion. On Sept 17, 1967, The Doors were set to make their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. At the time, they were a relatively new band skyrocketing to fame on the strength of "Light My Fire." The appearance was a great chance for The Doors to achieve superstardom. Instead, they achieved infamy - among network broadcasters, at least.

According to rock lore, after rehearsal, producers asked the band to change the contentious lyric to "Girl, we couldn't get much better."

They weren't the first band asked to tone down their tunes for network TV. In January 1967, Sullivan producers asked The Rolling Stones to change "Let's Spend the Night Together" - their ode to casual sex - to "Let's Spend Some Time Together." Mick and the boys agreed.

But The Doors refused to sanitize their song for primetime consumption. Check the 1:20 minute mark of this video to see that they did indeed include the line, "Girl, we couldn't get much higher":

As punishment, the band was banned from the show forever. Doors organist Ray Manzarek offers his account of the story and the fallout (including Jim Morrison's characteristic response to being exiled from the Sullivan Show) in this clip:

h/t Rolling Stone, Biography, Ultimate Classic Rock


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