Today, September 17th, marks the 46th anniversary of The Doors highly controversial performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Doors were asked to appear and perform two songs that evening, deciding to do their current single, “People are Strange,” and their megahit, “Light My Fire.” However, moments before entering on stage, producers approached the band and asked them to adjust the lyrics of the latter song. The lyrics, “Girl we couldn’t get much higher,” that referenced illegal drug use, were considered inappropriate for the family variety show and yet despite lead singer Jim Morrison’s grudging refusal to change them, the rest of the band agreed to cooperate.
When The Doors hit the stage, Morrison gave a fairly subdued delivery of “People are Strange,” but when “Light My Fire” was up, Morrison broke into a ferocious performance. Morrison did not change the lyrics and instead sang them as they were originally written. The band members snickered discreetly in the background and finished the performance. Ed Sullivan gave a wide grin, masking his fury, and proceeded off stage where he told The Doors that they would never be invited back to appear on the show ever again.