U-M History: How the 1967 Homecoming Dance Affected Rock History

Submitted by MGoShoe on November 11th, 2010 at 3:31 PM

[Ed-M: Not enough original analysis. Going to board.]

Check out "The Doors' Disaster at Michigan", a new article in Michigan Today by Alan Glenn. It tells the story of the disastrous appearance by The Doors at Michigan's 1967 Homecoming dance.   

Then it was time for the Doors, who took the stage to enthusiastic applause—but without singer Jim Morrison. The other three band members launched into the opening riff of their song "Soul Kitchen," which they proceeded to play over and over while everyone waited for Morrison to appear.

"After a while it started to get uncomfortable," says Fred LaBour. "There was scattered booing." LaBour recalls that the band withdrew and then returned about half an hour later, this time accompanied by their charismatic bad-boy vocalist, who seemed in no condition to be on stage. "Morrison could barely stand up. He was practically falling on his face every few moments."

[Opening act] The Long Island Sound's Steve Welkom, who had stayed to hear the Doors, remembers Morrison lurching up to the microphone and making weird sounds that the audience soon realized were words—and that the words were f-bombs.

"At the time it was kind of an outrageous thing to say," explains Welkom. "The girls started to blush, and guys were putting their hands over the girls' ears. These were guys with crew cuts. They were football players. It wasn't the hippest dance you could possibly imagine."

Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek remembers that evening well. It all started, he says, when the band decided to stop for a frosty treat while riding in the limo from Detroit to Ann Arbor.

Jim Morrison under the spotlights at the University of Michigan.

At the show's beginning, Jim Morrison was so inebriated he could barely stand. But at the end of the night, when most of the crowd had departed, the Doors returned to the stage to deliver what Welkom described as one of the best concerts he's ever seen. (Photo: Jay Cassidy.)

"We all wanted some ice cream," explains Manzarek. "But Jim says, 'Ice cream is for babies. I want whiskey.' So we had to stop at a liquor store and buy a bottle of booze." Something about the others eating their ice cream seemed to set Morrison off, and for the rest of the trip he sat in the back, drinking sullenly.

By the time they reached Ann Arbor, remembers Manzarek, the singer was "drunk as a skunk." When he finally came out on stage he was unable, and perhaps unwilling, to perform.

One hipster who was there was a U-M dropout and Ann Arbor native who would later help to change the course of rock and roll history.

Like most others, [Jim] Osterberg watched in astonishment as Morrison stumbled around the stage, making strange noises, swearing, and generally antagonizing the audience. Except instead of being annoyed by the singer's behavior, Osterberg thought it was cool.

Inspired by what he had witnessed, the former member of the Ann Arbor High debate team adopted the nom de guerre of Iggy Pop, and with his band the Stooges went on to alter rock and roll history. His outrageous onstage antics and heedless, often belligerent attitude toward his fans—as well as his apparent lack of musical ability—helped encourage a generation of young rebels to pick up guitars and launch the punk rock phenomenon of the late '70s.

Read the article for the rest of the story including how the portion of the audience that stuck with the show were later rewarded. And don't miss the comments.  Lots of good stuff from '60s era alums who were there.




November 11th, 2010 at 5:05 PM ^

...a stickler for good grammar, I take your critique seriously.  I chose effect vs. affect consciously.  Feel free to disagree with my decision, but it was made based on the concert experience having a direct result on Iggy Pop's rock persona.  See rule #1 here.

Other than that, how'd you like the article?


November 11th, 2010 at 6:03 PM ^

Rule #1 in your link uses "effect" as a noun. The use in the title is as a verb as described in rule #3 and I see your point that the title could be synonymous with "How the 1967 Homecoming Dance Caused Rock History", however that's still an awkward phrasing since history isn't "caused" but "created".

Your title with "effect" as noun: "The 1967 Homecoming Dance Effect on Rock History"

The article is interesting. Before he got famous, Iggy Pop used to do shows at a roadhouse near where I grew up in the Little Traverse Bay area.

Thanks for sharing!


November 11th, 2010 at 4:05 PM ^

When I was at Michigan in the mid '80's, I wrote for the Daily and one of the articles I did was on Fred LaBour. At the time, he was in a band called Riders in the Sky, which was a wacky cowboy band in town for a show, but the story was actually about his own tenure at the Daily, back in the '60's, and his claim to have started the "Paul McCartney is Dead" rumor through a record review he did of Sargeant Pepper's. In the review, he claimed that if you played the record backwards, you could hear John Lennon chant "Paul is Dead" over and over again. I believe he was the editor of the Daily at the time. To this day, I have no idea if he really did start the rumor or if he just wanted to take credit. 


November 11th, 2010 at 5:57 PM ^

According to the Michigan Today article, it was Abbey Road, not Sergeant Pepper's. I guess I'll have to pull my article out of the mothballs and check it out again. It was one of the more fun articles to write, but I don't remember getting tickets to the show. 

Blue Blue Blue

November 11th, 2010 at 4:40 PM ^

saw Sly and the Family Stone at Hill in 1974.   Sly was too wasted to appear onstage until the final song, when he came out and growled " Izzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz  a fammmmmmmleee affaaaaaaaaaaaairrr over and over.

pretty sure they helped him on and off.

didnt have any effect on music history.


November 11th, 2010 at 5:15 PM ^

...R.E.M. concert at Detroit's State Theater in 1985 on their Fables of the Reconstruction tour.  Great concert.  Their set started with the theater in complete blackness until a train whistle sounded and a single blinding light shown from the stage out to the audience and then the band started with "Driver 8".  Of course, the crowd went wild.  What's the relevance? One of the two warm up acts was The Replacements.  Paul Westerberg and the boys stumbled out onto the stage and started in on their first song which they aborted after a few bars.  They tried again and trundled off stage.  Quite a disappointment, but the main event more than made up for it. And I got to see a great example of rock decadence live.


November 11th, 2010 at 7:35 PM ^

Great show, and I remember the 'Mats as well - they actually played the next night (it's been too long, and I can see the club in my mind - also Black Flag, Bangles/English Beat, and a bunch of A2 bands there but can't remember the name) and, only slight less drunk, played an amazing show...

Thanks for this article as well!  Loved Iggy, even though I got to Ann Arbor after his prime...


November 11th, 2010 at 4:43 PM ^

I was in town during that concert.  Ann Arbor was pretty wild and far out back then. Of course I was only five at the time and couldn't particiapte in all the antics, but I do remember them like they were only yesterday.


November 11th, 2010 at 5:22 PM ^

In the version I heard, Morrison came pretty close to suffering great bodily harm at the hands of some pissed off members of the football team, and deservedly so.


November 11th, 2010 at 8:04 PM ^

Those were the days...band behavior at its very best or worst, depending upon your point of view.  Morrison was something else...but he was also very talented.  Light My Fire had to be one of the best songs of the '60's and is often considered as one of the top rock songs of all time.

I had the joy of attending Woodstock, in my opinion the ultimate rock concert, and still have some very interesting memorabilia and my original tickets, along with some pretty good stories.

Feat of Clay

November 12th, 2010 at 9:22 AM ^

I really like how they solicit alumni contributions in comments.  I've read some really great stories there, and the comments usually offer some superb perspectives and memories.