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Colorado College alumni remember legendary performance by The Doors at 1967 homecoming

October 13, 2017 Updated: October 13, 2017 at 2:47 pm
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Jim Morrison and The Doors play the Colorado College homecoming dance at The Broadmoor ballroom Oct. 21, 1967.

As Colorado College alumni arrive in town for homecoming weekend, a few who attended the school in 1967 are remembering a musical milestone.

Almost 50 years ago to the day, CC hosted The Doors at The Broadmoor for at the homecoming dance - two months after "Light My Fire" sat at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

"It was huge and wild," said Steve Ehrhart, a member of the class of 1968 and president of CC's student government in the spring of 1967. "It was maybe one of the wildest nights that The Broadmoor had in their history."

The student government, which was in charge of planning the dance, had about $3,500 to spend - about the equivalent of about $25,000 in 2017.

And that's what The Doors' manager at the time offered when Doug Brown, Class of 1968 and president of the Blue Key Society, signed the contract in April 1967 after a friend suggested he contact the record label.

"I had never heard of them, but my friend was heavily in the music scene and said they were good. I exchanged telegrams with the manager and we negotiated a contract," Brown said.

At the end of May, CC students left the college for the summer, and by July, the band they had signed for their homecoming dance for $3,500 suddenly had the most popular hit in the country.

The Doors manager soon contacted Brown, told him the band did not want to play and asked if he could send another band.

"We had a hot commodity with The Doors," Brown said. "They asked if we'd take someone else, and we said no."

On Oct. 21, through a cloud of marijuana smoke, Jim Morrison and his band played "Break on Through (to the Other Side)," "People Are Strange," "Back Door Man," and what Ehrhart and Brown remember as a 30-minute rendition of "Light My Fire."

The turnout was relatively tiny compared to the throngs that had been flocking to see the new super group. Ehrhart even got the opportunity to meet Morrison and the band.

"I talked to Morrison at one time that night - he never opened his eyes," Ehrhart said. "He was in his own. Let's put it that way."

Recordings of the concert are available to the public in the CC Tutt Library special collections section. The college was not given permission from The Doors to make the recordings available online.

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