Musings On Music History: In Which Jimbo Turns Himself In, The Beatles Rule The World, And Kurt Says Goodbye

04.03: On this day in 1969 Jim Morrison turned himself over to the FBI on six charges of lewd behavior and public exposure at The Doors March 1st Miami show from that same year. Though nobody is really sure what happened the night of the concert, the authorities in attendance didn’t seem to find anything wrong with the show, other than Jim’s general lack of enthusiasm for being there. Many police even hung out backstage after the show, yukkin’ it up and having a good time. It wasn’t until a review of the show appeared in the Miami Herald two days later, stating that Morrison had exposed himself (nobody really saw anything, but Jim said he exposed himself, asking the crowd, “Did you see it?”) and hurled indecent epithets about the auditorium, that the good ol’ decency patrol really got their motors revving. With the cops having to explain why they just sat around and let Morrison expose himself and attempt to incite a riot, the city of Miami hastily issued an arrest warrant for The Lizard King. He’d eventually be put on trial and found guilty of profanity and indecent exposure. This incident would prove to be the beginning of a very tumultuous time for The Doors, leading to the cancellation of many shows, to long breaks from recording (they’d still put out, however, Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman), to Jim’s ramping up of his spoken word recordings, and to Jim eventually moving to Paris in March of ’71, to escape everything that’d been going. He died in Paris four months later, of a drug overdose. [more]

04.04: On this day in 1964 The Beatles ruled the music world. The group held the top 5 spots of the Billboard Singles Chart with 1.) “Can’t Buy Me Love”, 2.) “Twist and Shout”, 3.) “She Loves You”, 4.) “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, and 5.) “Please Please Me.” Yeah, that’s amazing. Nobody has ever done that or likely every will again (never say never, but it seems, on the surface, at this date and time in the fractured world of contemporary music, impossible). In addition to the top five songs, they also had seven other songs (!) in the top 100. Holy crap. 12 songs in the top 100 at the same time. Unbelievable. To us, it’s a testament to just how popular The Beatles were at that time, to just how incredibly new and exciting their songs were to the record-buying public. It’s almost impossible to imagine a group ever being that big again. Except for Roxette, of course.

04.05: On this day in 1994, Kurt Cobain took his life in his Seattle home. After months of angst and interventions and rehab and a previous suicide attempt, Cobain took what he considered to be the only possible step to deal with his depression, to deal with his misery, to deal with his inability to love what he did, to love the world, or to love the coming years of watching his daughter grow up. Such a final step. We often wonder what it would’ve been like to have Kurt around through the ’90s and the first decade of the new millennium. Listen to Nirvana’s third and final album, In Utero. What an amazing work, so different from Nevermind, so alienating to the mainstream fans they’d picked up, yet such an evolution from what they were to what they were becoming. Even the MTV Unplugged In New York special hinted at what might’ve happened had Kurt just been able to accept himself and his place in the world. We are eternally grateful for the music he left behind, but know that there would’ve been much more to emerge from his imaginative, if frantic, mind.

04.08: On this day in 1977, The Clash released their first, self-titled LP in the UK. The record almost never made it stateside. CBS released a modified version of the album in 1979, but only after it had become the best-selling import of all time in the US. A harbinger of incredible things to come, with London Calling on the horizon, The Clash would emerge as one of the most influential groups of the punk era.