Jim Osterberg had dropped out of the University of Michigan but on October 20, 1967, he used his old college identification to attend The Doors concert at the University’s Homecoming Dance. The Doors concert changed Osterberg’s life.
Osterberg was a smart kid, voted most likely to succeed by his high school graduating class. Although Osterberg already had an interest in rock ‘n’ roll and been in a couple of bands – The Iguanas and the Prime Movers – he hadn’t considered it anything more than passing time (this was still a time when very few people made a living in rock ‘n’ roll).
The dance was attended by mostly fraternity brothers and their sorority house girlfriends. The Doors came onstage and started to play without Morrison. When Morrison finally came out onstage he was clearly intoxicated and immediately started to antagonize the audience. He refused to sing in anything except a falsetto voice, and made weird sounds with the microphone. He mocked the audience and threw things at them. The audience in turn threw things onstage, booed and left in large numbers. To conclude the show, Doors drummer, John Densmore, threw down his drumsticks and left the stage, followed shortly by Robby Krieger. Ray Manzarek, trying to save the show, grabbed a guitar and sat down while Morrison drunkenly sung an early version of “Maggie M’Gill”, actually more of drunken ditty than a song. After that Manzarek and Morrison left the stage.
That fifteen or twenty minutes of a show, inspired and excited Osterberg, who thought: “if this guy can do it, I can do it.” (Patti Smith in her book, “Just Kids”, reports much the same reaction at seeing The Doors). Osterberg went on to form the band The Stooges, taking the name Iggy from his former band: The Iguanas. By 1968 he was Iggy Pop and was in Los Angeles signed with Elektra Records.
Originally published October 20, 2013. This article appears in “The Doors Examined”