Light My Fire

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For other uses, see Light My Fire (disambiguation).
"Light My Fire"
Single by The Doors
from the album The Doors
B-side "The Crystal Ship"
Released April 1967
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded August 1966
Genre Psychedelic rock, acid rock
Length 7:05 (album version)
4:40 (long radio version)
2:52 (single version)
9:51 (live version)
Label Elektra
Writer(s) The Doors
Producer(s) Paul A. Rothchild
Certification Gold (RIAA)
The Doors singles chronology
"Break On Through (To the Other Side)"
(1967)
"Light My Fire"/"The Crystal Ship"
(1967)
"People Are Strange"
(1967)

"Light My Fire" is a song by The Doors, which was recorded in August 1966 and released the first week of January 1967 on the Doors' debut album. Released as an edited single on June 1, 1967, it spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late July, and one week on the Cash Box Top 100, nearly a year after its recording. It was their breakthrough hit, and is considered their signature song.[1]

A year later, it re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968 following the success of Jose Feliciano's version of the song (which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard chart), peaking at number 87. The song was largely written by Robby Krieger,[2] and credited to the entire band. The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1967, representing sales of one million units.[3]

A live version was released in 1983 on their album Alive, She Cried, the first of several live albums released in subsequent decades to include the song. "Light My Fire" achieved modest success in Australia, where it peaked at number 22 on the ARIA chart. The single originally reached number 49 in the UK in 1967, but experienced belated success in that country in 1991, when a reissue peaked at number 7. The reissue occurred on the back of revived interest in the band following Oliver Stone's film biopic The Doors. The song is number 35 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[4] It was included in the Songs of the Century list. José Feliciano's cover version won a 1969 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, the same year he won another Grammy for Best New Artist.

History[edit]

The song originated as an unfinished Robby Krieger composition, which the other band members then expanded upon. Ray Manzarek said that the distinctive organ intro was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's Two and Three Part Inventions.[5] Although the album version was just over seven minutes long, it was widely requested for radio play,[2] so a single version was edited to under three minutes with nearly all the instrumental break removed for airplay on AM radio.[5]

Manzarek played the song's bass line with his left hand on a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass while he performed the higher keyboard parts with his right hand. For the recording session, producer Paul A. Rothchild brought in session musician Larry Knechtel to play Fender Precision Bass guitar to double the keyboard bass line.[6][7][8] When the Doors played the song live in concert, Manzarek used the Fender Rhodes Piano Bass without this sort of augmentation.

The Ed Sullivan Show[edit]

The band appeared on various TV shows, such as American Bandstand, miming to a playback of the single. However, "Light My Fire" was performed live by The Doors on The Ed Sullivan Show broadcast on September 17, 1967. The Doors were asked by producer Bob Precht, Sullivan's son-in-law, to change the line "girl, we couldn't get much higher", as the sponsors were uncomfortable with the possible reference to drug-taking.[9][10] The band agreed to do so, and did a rehearsal using the amended lyrics, "girl, we couldn't get much better"; however, during the live performance, the band's lead singer Jim Morrison sang the original lyric.[9] Ed Sullivan did not shake Morrison's hand as he left the stage. The band had been negotiating a multi-episode deal with the producers; however, after breaking the agreement not to perform the line, they were informed they would never do the Sullivan show again. Morrison's response was "We just 'did' Sullivan."[11]

The Buick Incident[edit]

John Densmore recalls,[12] that Buick offered $75,000 in October 1968 to adapt the song for use in a Buick Opel TV commercial ("Come on, Buick, light my fire").[13] Morrison, however, was still in London after a European tour had just ended on September 20 and could not be reached by the other group members, who agreed to the deal in his absence. As the band had agreed in 1965 to both equal splits and everyone having veto power in decisions, Morrison consequently called Buick and threatened to personally smash an Opel with a sledgehammer on television, should the commercial be aired.[14]

Speed discrepancy[edit]

The 40th Anniversary mix of the debut album presents a stereo version of "Light My Fire" in speed-corrected form for the first time. The speed discrepancy (being about 3.5% slow) was brought to Bruce Botnick's attention by a Brigham Young University professor, who noted that all video and audio live performances of The Doors performing the song, the sheet music, and statements of band members show the song in a key almost a half step higher (key of A) than the stereo LP release (key of A♭/G#). Until the 2006 remasters, only the original 45 RPM singles ("Light My Fire" and "Break On Through") were produced at the correct speed.[15]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak position
Australian Go-Set National Top 40[16] 16
Irish Singles Chart[17] 1
Netherlands Singles Chart[18] 27
UK Singles Chart[19] 49 (1967), 7 (1991 reissue)[20]
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[21] 1
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[22] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[23] Gold 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Personnel[edit]

Rock Band Music Gaming Platform[edit]

The song was made available to download on October 26, 2010 for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform in both Basic rhythm, and PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar / bass guitar, along with support for standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to main and backup vocals.[25][26]

Covers[edit]

José Feliciano[edit]

"Light My Fire"
Single by José Feliciano
from the album Feliciano!
B-side "California Dreamin'"
Released 1968
Format 7" single
Genre Soft rock
Length 3:33
Label RCA Victor
Producer(s) Rick Jarrard
Certification Gold (USA)
José Feliciano singles chronology
"La Copa Rota"
(1968)
"Light My Fire"
(1968)
"Hi-Heel Sneakers" / "Hitchcock Railway"
(1968)

Vocalist and guitarist José Feliciano experienced significant international success when he released his version of "Light My Fire" in 1968 as a single on the RCA Victor label. It is perhaps the best known cover of this song, reaching number 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts, only a year after the original had been a number 1 hit on the same chart. Feliciano's remake blended Latin influences, including a mixture of classic Spanish guitar, flute and flamenco, with American pop. The single helped to spur the worldwide success of its album, Feliciano!, which was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards in 1969. Feliciano's arrangement of "Light My Fire" has influenced several subsequent versions, including that by Will Young. Song writer Robby Krieger said in an interview about the cover: "It's really a great feeling to have written a classic. I think I owe a big debt to Jose Feliciano because he is actually the one, when he did it, everybody started doing it. He did a whole different arrangement on it."[27]

Country Peak
position
Australia 3
Brazil 2
Canada 1
France 62
Ireland 14
Netherlands 24
United Kingdom 6
United States 3

Shirley Bassey[edit]

"Light My Fire"
Single by Shirley Bassey
Released 1999
Format 12" single, CD single
Recorded 1970
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:17
Label Blue Note EMI Music France
Writer(s) The Doors
Producer(s) Nicolas Pflug
Shirley Bassey singles chronology
"History Repeating"
(1997)
"Light My Fire"
(1999)
"World in Union"
(2000)

"Light My Fire Remix" is a single released by Shirley Bassey in 1999. This is a remix of the vocal recorded in 1970 for the album Something, which is also included on this release.[28][29] The single was issued by Blue Note, EMI Music France in two formats a 12" single and a CD single.

In spring 1998, Blue Note France and Radio Nova organised a competition to find the best remix, created from the Groove and Jazz back catalogues. The DJ had to be an unknown, who had not yet had any work published. DJ Booster was the winner and the hip-hop and club dance remixes of "Light My Fire" were released to the public. French musician DJ Olivier Armbuster, alias Booster, has origins in the suburbs of Paris. He is a musician, who plays a variety of instruments and went on to release an album entitled Loop in 2001.

Bassey's original recording of the song was arranged by Johnny Harris, who also recorded his own instrumental version using a similar arrangement for his 1970 album Movements.

Track listing
  1. "Light My Fire" (Booster-Remix Edit) - 3:17
  2. "Light My Fire" (Booster Mix) - 5:05
  3. "Light My Fire" (Shirley Bassey original version) - 3:23
  4. "Light My Fire" (Booster Jungle Mix) - 4:23
Personnel
  • Shirley Bassey - vocals
  • Rob Nicolas Gueguen - keyboards

Will Young[edit]

"Light My Fire"
Single by Will Young
from the album From Now On
B-side "Ain't No Sunshine"
"Beyond the Sea"
Released May 27, 2002
Format CD single
Recorded 2002
Genre Pop
Label BMG
Producer(s) Absolute
Will Young singles chronology
"Anything Is Possible" / "Evergreen"
(2002)
"Light My Fire"
(2002)
"The Long and Winding Road" / "Suspicious Minds"
(2002)

Pop Idol series 1 winner Will Young covered the song in 2002.[30] He originally performed a piano version the song in the final 50 of Pop Idol, and again, with a backing track, in the final 10. It was later released as his second single. It went straight to the number one spot in the UK Singles Chart, selling 177,000 copies in its first week of release. The single stayed at number one for two weeks. The cover version was recorded in the style of José Feliciano's version.

Young also performed the song on World Idol, where he came in fifth place.[31]

Charts
Chart Peak
position
Germany 44
Italy 4
Netherlands 21
Republic of Ireland 5
Switzerland 76
United Kingdom 1
Certifications
Region Certification Sales/shipments
Italy (FIMI)[32] Gold 25,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Gold 400,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Light My Fire by The Doors". songfacts.com. Retrieved December 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b The Doors interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  3. ^ "GOLD & PLATINUM". riaa.com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-17. Retrieved February 29, 2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) Note: User, put the data of the song.
  4. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". RollingStone.com. Retrieved June 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Light My Fire". guitarworld.com. Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  6. ^ Davis, Stephen (2005). Jim Morrison: LIfe, Death, Legend. Penguin. p. 139. ISBN 9781101218273. 
  7. ^ Sullivan, Steve (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings 2. Scarecrow Press. pp. 484–5. ISBN 9780810882966. 
  8. ^ Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret. Macmillan. p. 2. ISBN 9780312619749. 
  9. ^ a b Korpe, Marie. Marie Korpe (2004-09-04). Shoot the singer!: music censorship today. Zed Books. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-84277-505-9. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ Hicks, Michael (2000-08-01). Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions. University of Illinois Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-252-06915-4. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  11. ^ Hogan, Peter K.; Charlesworth, Chris; Chris Charlesworth, Peter K. Hogan (1994). The complete guide to the music of the Doors. Music Sales Group. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7119-3527-3. Retrieved October 7, 2009. 
  12. ^ "July 8, 2002". The Nation. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  13. ^ "Light My Fire Lyrics - The Doors". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  14. ^ Harmon, Rod. "From the Editor: The Doors, the Buick, and the book". Portland Press Herald. Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Botnick, Bruce: Liner notes to 40th Anniversary CD release, May 2006.
  16. ^ "27 September 1967 Singles". poparchives.com.au. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved February 29, 2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  17. ^ "Light My Fire". irishcharts.ie.com. Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  18. ^ "The Doors - Light My Fire (song)". australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Light My Fire". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  20. ^ David Roberts (May 2005). British Hit Singles and Albums 18 Ed. Gullane Children's Books. ISBN 978-1-904994-00-8. 
  21. ^ "Billboard Singles". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  22. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". cashboxmagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved February 28, 2010. 
  23. ^ "American single certifications – Light My Fire". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  24. ^ http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/robby-krieger-talks-guitars-and-the-doors-212284/
  25. ^ staff, IGN (October 22, 2010). "The Doors Most Loved Songs Kick Off Rock Band 3 DLC". IGN. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  26. ^ Snider, Mike (June 10, 2010). "Rock Band 3: What's New, What's Notable". USA Today. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  27. ^ James, Gary (1994). "Interview With Robby Krieger". Classic Bands. Retrieved January 18, 2011. 
  28. ^ "All Albums by Shirley Bassey". Amazon.com. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  29. ^ Weidman, Rich (1 October 2011). The Doors FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Kings of Acid Rock. Backbeat Books. p. (page number not displayed). ISBN 1617131105. 
  30. ^ Cowell, Simon (April 29, 2004). I Don't Mean to be Rude, But.... Ebury Press. p. 180. ISBN 0091898285. 
  31. ^ Wilkes, Neil. "Will insulted by 'World Idol' judges". Digital Spy. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  32. ^ "Light My Gold" (in Italian). MTV Italy. June 27, 2003. Retrieved July 10, 2003. [dead link]
  33. ^ "British single certifications – Will Young – Light My Fire". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Light My Fire in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Windy" by The Association
US Billboard Hot 100 number one single
July 29, 1967 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"All You Need Is Love" by The Beatles
Preceded by
"Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf
Canadian RPM 100 number-one single
(Jose Feliciano cover version)

September 9, 1968 (one week)
Succeeded by
"1, 2, 3, Red Light" by 1910 Fruitgum Company
Preceded by
"Without Me" by Eminem
UK Singles Chart number one single
(Will Young cover version)

June 2, 2002 – June 15, 2002
Succeeded by
"A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis and JXL