Light My Fire

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"Light My Fire"
Single by The Doors
from the album The Doors
B-side"The Crystal Ship"
ReleasedApril 24, 1967
Format7" vinyl
RecordedAugust 1966
GenrePsychedelic rock[1]
  • 7:06 (Album Version)
  • 2:52 (Single Version)
Songwriter(s)Jim Morrison, Robbie Krieger, John Densmore, Ray Manzarek
Producer(s)Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors singles chronology
"Break On Through (To the Other Side)"
"Light My Fire" / "The Crystal Ship"
"People Are Strange"

"Light My Fire" is a song by the Doors, which was recorded in August 1966 and released in January 1967 on their self-titled debut album. Released as an edited single on April 24, 1967,[2] it spent three weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late July, and one week on the Cash Box Top 100, nearly a year after its recording.

A year later, it re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968 following the success of José 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 the band's guitarist Robby Krieger,[3] and was credited to the entire band. The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in September 1967 for 500,000 units shipped.[4] As of December 1971, it was the band's best-selling single; with over 927,000 copies sold.[5] The single was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in September 2018 for 2,000,000 units shipped.[6]

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. This reissue was more successful in Ireland, peaking atop the IRMA chart for two weeks in June. The reissue occurred due to a revived interest in the band following Oliver Stone's film biopic The Doors. The song is ranked at number 35 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[7] It was included in the Songs of the Century list, ranking number 52. 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.


The song originated as a Robby Krieger composition,[8] with Jim Morrison writing the second verse. Although the album version was just over seven minutes long, it was widely requested for radio play,[3] so a single version was edited to under three minutes with nearly all the instrumental break removed for airplay on AM radio.[8]

Ray Manzarek played the song's bass line with his left hand on a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass, while performing the other keyboard parts on a Vox Continental using his right hand. After the recording session, producer Paul A. Rothchild brought in session musician Larry Knechtel to overdub[9] a Fender Precision Bass guitar to double the keyboard bass line.[10][11][12] When the Doors played the song at live concerts, Manzarek used the Fender Rhodes Piano Bass without 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 drugs. However, the meaning of the line was confirmed to be literal. [13][14] 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, unaltered lyrics.[13] Ed Sullivan did not shake Jim Morrison's hand as he left the stage. The band had been negotiating a multi-episode deal with the producers; however, after violating the agreement not to perform the offending line, they were informed they would never do the Sullivan show again. Morrison's response was "Hey man. We just did the Sullivan show."[15]

This performance was portrayed in the 1991 Oliver Stone film The Doors, but without Morrison's subsequent retort to Sullivan and the show's producer.[16]

Buick TV commercial[edit]

John Densmore recalled that Buick offered $75,000 in October 1968 to adapt the song for use in a Buick TV commercial ("Come on, Buick, light my fire").[17][18] Morrison, however, was still in London after a European tour had just ended on September 20 and could not be contacted by the other band 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 a Buick with a sledgehammer on television, should the commercial be aired.[19]

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 Brigham Young University professor Michael Hicks, 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.[20]

Charts and certifications[edit]


The Doors

Session musician


José Feliciano[edit]

"Light My Fire"
Single by José Feliciano
from the album Feliciano!
B-side"California Dreamin'"
Format7" single
GenreSoft rock
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)Jim Morrison, Robbie Krieger, John Densmore, Ray Manzarek
Producer(s)Rick Jarrard
José Feliciano singles chronology
"La Copa Rota"
"Light My Fire"
"Hi-Heel Sneakers" / "Hitchcock Railway"

Puerto Rican vocalist and guitarist José Feliciano enjoyed 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. Feliciano's version of the song is played at a slower tempo than the Doors. 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. Songwriter 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."[30]

Feliciano revisited the song, singing a duet with Minnie Riperton on her 1979 album Minnie.[31]

Shirley Bassey[edit]

"Light My Fire"
Single by Shirley Bassey
Format12" single, CD single
LabelBlue Note EMI Music France
Songwriter(s)Jim Morrison Robbie Krieger John Densmore Ray Manzarek
Producer(s)Nicolas Pflug
Shirley Bassey singles chronology
"History Repeating"
"Light My Fire"
"World in Union"

"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.[32][33] 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
  • Shirley Bassey – vocals
  • Rob Nicolas Gueguen – keyboards

Will Young[edit]

"Light My Fire"
WY LMF.jpg
Single by Will Young
from the album From Now On
ReleasedMay 27, 2002
FormatCD single
Songwriter(s)Jim Morrison Robbie Krieger John Densmore Ray Manzarek
Will Young singles chronology
"Anything Is Possible" / "Evergreen"
"Light My Fire"
"The Long and Winding Road" / "Suspicious Minds"

Pop Idol series 1 winner Will Young covered the song in 2002.[34] He originally performed a piano version of 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.[35]


Weekly charts

Chart (2002–2003) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[36] 10
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[37] 13
Germany (Official German Charts)[38] 44
Ireland (IRMA)[39] 5
Italy (FIMI)[40] 4
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[41] 35
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[42] 21
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[43] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[44] 76
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[45] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (2002) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[46] 16


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI)[47] Gold 25,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[48] Gold 400,000^

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


  1. ^ "Forty years on, Jim Morrison cult thrives at Paris cemetery". The Independent. July 1, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
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  3. ^ a b The Doors interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  4. ^ a b "American single certifications – Light My Fire". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  5. ^ a b "'Doors Sold 4,190,457 Albums': Court Report". Billboard. Billboard Publications, Inc. 83 (51): 3. December 18, 1971. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  6. ^
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  9. ^ Myers, Marc, ‘’Anatomy of a Song:The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop,’’ Grove Press, New York, 2016 p. 81
  10. ^ Davis, Stephen (2005). Jim Morrison: LIfe, Death, Legend. Penguin. p. 139. ISBN 9781101218273.
  11. ^ Sullivan, Steve (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings. 2. Scarecrow Press. pp. 484–5. ISBN 9780810882966.
  12. ^ Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret. Macmillan. p. 2. ISBN 9780312619749.
  13. ^ a b Korpe, Marie. Marie Korpe (September 4, 2004). Shoot the singer!: music censorship today. Zed Books. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-84277-505-9. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  14. ^ Hicks, Michael (August 1, 2000). Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions. University of Illinois Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-252-06915-4. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  15. ^ Hogan, Peter K. (1994). Charlesworth, Chris, ed. The complete guide to the music of the Doors. Music Sales Group. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7119-3527-3. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  16. ^ Melissa U. D. Goldsmith; Paige A. Willson; Anthony J. Fonseca (October 7, 2016). The Encyclopedia of Musicians and Bands on Film. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 205. ISBN 9781442269873.
  17. ^ "July 8, 2002". The Nation. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  18. ^ "Light My Fire Lyrics - The Doors". Archived from the original on April 3, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  19. ^ Harmon, Rod. "From the Editor: The Doors, the Buick, and the book". Portland Press Herald. Portland Press Herald. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  20. ^ Botnick, Bruce: Liner notes to 40th Anniversary CD release, May 2006.
  21. ^ "27 September 1967 Singles". Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  22. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 10087." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  23. ^ " – The Doors – Light My Fire" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
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  25. ^ "The Doors Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  26. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
  27. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  28. ^ David Roberts (May 2005). British Hit Singles and Albums 18 Ed. Gullane Children's Books. ISBN 978-1-904994-00-8.
  29. ^ "Robby Krieger talks guitars and The Doors". Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  30. ^ James, Gary (1994). "Interview With Robby Krieger". Classic Bands. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
  31. ^ "Minnie - Minnie Riperton - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  32. ^ "All Albums by Shirley Bassey". Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  33. ^ Weidman, Rich (October 1, 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.
  34. ^ Cowell, Simon (April 29, 2004). I Don't Mean to be Rude, But... Ebury Press. p. 180. ISBN 0091898285.
  35. ^ Wilkes, Neil. "Will insulted by 'World Idol' judges". Digital Spy. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  36. ^ " – Will Young – Light My Fire" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  37. ^ " – Will Young – Light My Fire" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  38. ^ " – Will Young – Light My Fire". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  39. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Light My Fire". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  40. ^ " – Will Young – Light My Fire". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  41. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 23, 2003" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  42. ^ " – Will Young – Light My Fire" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  43. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  44. ^ " – Will Young – Light My Fire". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  45. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  46. ^ "The Official UK Singles Chart 2002" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  47. ^ "Light My Gold" (in Italian). MTV Italy. June 27, 2003. Retrieved July 10, 2003.[dead link]
  48. ^ "British single certifications – Will Young – Light My Fire". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Light My Fire in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

Further reading[edit]

Burns, Gary. "A Typology of 'Hooks' in Popular Records."Popular Music 6.1 (1987): 1-20. Web.

External links[edit]