This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #57: Light My Fire by The Doors.
Unlike most songs released by The Doors, “Light My Fire” was written mainly by guitarist, Robbie Krieger. Jim Morrison contributed only a few lines throughout the song but, importantly enough, he changed the tone of the song with one key line about “our love is like a funeral pyre” which elevated the song from being, merely, a song about the joy of finding love, to a more ethereal treatise on the enduring quality of a love that lasts forever. “Light My Fire” was The Doors breakthrough hit and the first one to reach #1 for the band.
Generally speaking, there isn’t really much of a story to this song. It is all fairly straight-forward. “Light My Fire” is about the high two people experience together when love is new. The song was oddly controversial for its use of a line that said, “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher”, which some people inferred as being a drug-related reference. One of those people who felt that way was TV star, Ed Sullivan. When he invited The Doors to play “Light My Fire” live on his show, he stipulated they needed to change the line about getting higher and replace “higher” with “better”. The band made the change during rehearsals but, once they were live on air, Jim Morison sang the song as written. Ed Sullivan was not amused. He refused to shake their hands after the performance and banned them from ever playing his show again. The Doors took the “controversy” in stride and used their appearance for publicity purposes which helped boost sales of the song in the end.
“Light My Fire” turned out to be one of The Doors signature songs, even though it didn’t have the poetic or philosophical heft of some of their later works such as “Riders on the Storm”, “The End”, “L.A. Woman”, “Break On Through” and so on. It is known for its use of the organ off of the top. I guess that sometimes, a band’s first creative instincts prove to be their most enduring.
So, without further delay, here is the song most closely associated with The Doors, “Light My Fire”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “light My Fire” by The Doors, can be found here. ***This is the infamous Ed Sullivan appearance. Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, it reverts to an audio-only version about half way through.
The link to the official website for The Doors, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Rolling Stone Magazine, can be found here.