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The Doors - Light My Fire CD (album) cover

LIGHT MY FIRE

The Doors

 

Proto-Prog

4.85 | 7 ratings

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NotAProghead
Special Collaborator
Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars Way to the top

THE DOORS released their debut album in January 1967, its first single, ''Break On Through'', released 3 days earlier, reached number 106 in national charts and failed to appear in Billboard Top-100. The band played gigs, but to make a real breakthru they needed a hit single. And it was going to be ''Light My Fire''. Radio stations demanded a 3-minute single because the album version was too long by their standards (''You are not so famous as Bob Dylan to play 7-minute songs on the radio'').

And then Paul Rothchild made it and called the band to listen to edited version.

In his book ''Light My Fire. My Life with The Doors'' Ray Manzarek recalled:

''Now I want all of you to sit down and pretend you're listening to the radio'', Paul said. ''You've never heard a song called ''Light My Fire''. You're just digging the radio and the groovy tunes that keep coming. You don't know anything about the Doors, never heard of them. You're seventeen and you're in Cleveland.''

And he pointed at Bruce, who hit the play button... And out it came on those Sunset Sound speakers. Big and full and very crisp on the top end. ... So the organ intro hits and then Jim starts to sing and the entire first verse and chorus go by and there are no cuts! Into the second verse and still no cuts. ... Where are the edits? The second chorus, no cuts. Now the beginning of the solos. We vamp a bit and just before I begin my solo - BAM! - we're at the end of the solos and the cartwheel organ intro repeats itself and Jim begins to sing the third verse. The solos were gone! The best part of the song ... was gone! ... And the rest of the song played itself out as we recorded it.

Robby was the first to speak. ''I hate it'', he said.

''I hate it, too,'' I joined. ''You've cut the solos. That's the whole point of the song.''

John said, ''It's not that bad. I can live with it.''

Jim was mute, in shock, I suppose.''

In the end Paul convinced the band that it sounds like a real hit single (Robby grinned. "Man, it sounded like a hit single the day I wrote it". ''It's gonna be a famous radio song,'' Jim said. ''I predict a monster hit.'').

Released in April 1967, with ''The Crystal Ship'' (the same as the album version) on B-side, the single stormed national charts and in July ''Ligh My Fire'' became the number-one song in America.

This little record changed THE DOORS life. Almost 2 years of writing, rehersals, frustrations, when record labels, one after another, rejected ''this potheads' sh*t'', were at last rewarded. The band became famous.

As far as I can tell, single version of ''Light My Fire'' was released only on quite rare now 1991 promo-CD. Though its proper place was on 40th Anniversary edition of THE DOORS first album, but it's not present there. Mayby next time, on the next jubilee edition or on some compilation.

No doubt, album version is better, but great song is a great song and Paul Rothchild made a jeweler's work. I highly recommend to find this edited version somewhere and listen to it.

NotAProghead | 5/5 |

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