Light My Fire: Wikis


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"Light My Fire"
Single by The Doors
from the album The Doors
B-side The Crystal Ship
Released April 1967
Recorded August 1966
Genre Psychedelic rock, acid rock
Length 7:05 (album version)
4:40 (long radio version)
2:52 (single version)
Label Elektra
Writer(s) The Doors
Producer Paul A. Rothchild
The Doors singles chronology
"Break on Through (To the Other Side)"
"Light My Fire"
"People Are Strange"

"Light My Fire" is a song originally performed by The Doors which was recorded in August 1966 and released the first week of January, 1967. It spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard's Hot 100, and one week on the Cashbox Top 100. It was re-released in 1968, peaking at #87. The song was largely written by Robby Krieger, and credited to the entire band. A live version was released in 1983 on their album Alive, She Cried, the first of several live or compilation albums released in subsequent decades to include the song.

"Light My Fire" also achieved modest success in Australia, where it peaked at #22 on the ARIA chart. The single originally reached #49 in the UK in 1967, but experienced belated success in that country in 1991 when a re-issue peaked at #7. The re-issue occurred on the back of revived interest in the band following Oliver Stone's film biopic "The Doors".

The song is #35 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1] It was also included in the Songs of the Century list and was ranked number 7 in VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of All Time 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.


Origins and radio edits

The song originated as a Robby Krieger unfinished composition, which the other band members then expanded upon. There was also a radio edit that was shortened to just under three minutes with nearly all the instrumental break removed. The single was released only to AM radio stations.

The Ed Sullivan Show

When the song, which is 7 minutes and 5 seconds on the album, was released as a 2-minute 52-second single, 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 Prech to change the line "girl, we couldn't get much higher", as the sponsors were uncomfortable with the possible reference to drug-taking.[2][3] The band agreed to do so, and did a rehearsal using the amended lyrics; however, during the live performance, Morrison sang the original lyric.[2] Ed Sullivan didn't shake Morrison's hand as he left the stage. The band had been negotiating a seven-episode deal with the producers; however, after breaking the agreement not to perform the line, they were informed they would never be on the Sullivan show again.[4]

The Buick Incident

John Densmore recalls[5] that when Buick wanted to buy the piece in October, 1968 for use in a TV commercial ("Come on, Buick, light my fire"[6]) and Morrison, who had been still in London (as an aftermath of the finished European tour which ended on September 20) and they could not reach him and only learned that other group members agreed, Morrison called Buick and threatened to have a Buick smashed with a sledgehammer on a TV show should the (presumably ready) commercial be aired. Various sources claim that this was a turning point in the band's career and Jim somehow lost his faith in the other members who sold the rights for a quick cash-in.


The song's chord progression, based on John Coltrane's version of My Favorite Things, and catchy rhythm (particularly Ray Manzarek's swirling, barrel organ-style keyboard motif) lent itself readily to pop or MOR styled cover versions.

Cover versions were recorded by Astrud Gilberto, Will Young (whose version hit number one in the United Kingdom), Amii Stewart (whose version got to number 5 in the United Kingdom, in 1979, and to number 7 as a remix in 1985) Natalia Oreiro, Jose Feliciano (whose version won a Grammy in 1969 Best Pop song of the year), Nancy Sinatra, Julie London, Friedrich Gulda, Julie Driscoll & the Brian Auger Trinity, Shirley Bassey, Erma Franklin, Baccara, Cibo Matto, Africa, Divididos, UB40, Massive Attack, The Mike Flowers Pops, the LN Elektronische Ensemble. Amorphis, Hide, Minnie Riperton, Stevie Wonder, Tammi Lynn, Type O Negative, Al Green, Electric Screwdrivers, B.J. Thomas, Ananda Shankar, Trini Lopez, John Tartaglia, Zacharias and Train, whose version can be found on the tribute compilation Stoned Immaculate: The Music of The Doors. The Challengers did an instrumental version in 1969, as title track to one of their last albums.

NB The Massive Attack cover actually sampled a combination of the Young-Holt Unlimited cover of “Light My Fire” (1969)and the Jackie Wilson cover version of Light My Fire from his Do Your Ting Album.

"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 Rick Jarrard
Certification Gold (USA)
José Feliciano singles chronology
"La Copa Rota"
"Light My Fire"
"Hi-Heel Sneakers" / "Hitchcock Railway"

José Feliciano

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 #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts, only a year after the original had been a #1 hit on the same chart. Feliciano's remake blended Latin influences, including a mixture of classic Spanish guitar and flamenco, with American pop sounds and Feliciano saying "Light my fire light my fire light my fire" over and over again. 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 and same writer Robbie Krieger says 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"

Chart performance

Country Peak
Australia 3
Brazil 2
Canada 1
France 62
Ireland 14
Netherlands 24
United Kingdom 6
United States 3
"Light My Fire"
Single by Will Young
from the album From Now On
B-side "Ain't No Sunshine"
"Beyond the Sea"
Released 27 May 2002
Format CD
Recorded 2002
Genre Pop
Label BMG
Producer Absolute
Will Young singles chronology
"Anything Is Possible" / "Evergreen"
"Light My Fire"
"The Long and Winding Road" / "Suspicious Minds"

Will Young

Pop Idol UK series 1 winner Will Young covered the song in 2002. Young 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.

Chart performance

Chart Peak
Germany 44
Italy 4
Netherlands 35
Republic of Ireland 5
Switzerland 76
United Kingdom 1

Other covers

Erma Franklin recorded a soul style version of the song in 1969. It was released on the album Soul Sister[7].

Stevie Wonder performed a soulful version of the song for the album My Cherie Amour in 1969.

Shirley Bassey recorded this song on her 1970 album Something.

Ananda Shankar released his first self-titled album in 1970, featuring original Indian classical material alongside sitar-based cover version of The Doors' Light My Fire.

Etta James also covered the song. It can be found on the 3 CD set, Etta James: The Chess Box,[8] a compilation of her songs recorded from 1960-1976.

In 1977, the song was covered by the Spanish group Baccara. The song was called "Light My Fire (Baby, Won't You Reach Out)", and included on their album with the same name.

Baccara's 1978 version is the second known disco version of the song, and appeared on the album of the same name.

The song was also covered by disco artist Amii Stewart in 1979 as "Light My Fire/137 Disco Heaven".

In 1988 the Argentinian band Divididos covered the song on their debut album "40 Dibujos Ahi en el Piso" (40 Drawings there on the floor).

The Hampton String Quartet arranged the song and recorded it on an early album, 'What if Mozart Wrote 'Born to be Wild', in 1988[9].

Bristol trip-hop group Massive Attack covered the song in 1994 on the album Protection.

Beastie Boys covered the song for the vinyl release of Aglio e Olio in 1995.

Chicago based Jazz vocalist and composer Patricia Barber released a very cool and bluesy cover on the Bluenote 1999 release 'Modern Cool' in 1998[10].

The song was also covered in 2000 by Scott Stapp with the rest of The Doors on VH1's Storytellers[11], as well as on a recorded version.

The Finnish death metal band Amorphis covered the song as a bonus track on the re-release of Tales from the Thousand Lakes in 2000[12].

British reggae band UB40 cover the song on their 2000 album, Very Best of UB40 1980-2000.[13]

A piano version of the song was created by pianist George Winston in 2002 on his album Night Divides the Day - The Music of the Doors[14].

In 2006 French singer Laurent Voulzy covered the song on the album La Septième vague[15].

Jackie Wilson's 1968 cover is sampled in track 2 of Lemon Jelly's Triptych Mix.

The lyrics from the song's chorus were used by hip hop artist Necro on the track "Light My Fire". The song is off of his 2002 album Gory Days and has nothing in common with the original song other than its chorus lyrics.

Michael Johns covered the song in the seventh season of American Idol in 2008.[16]


  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Retrieved 2007-06-02.  
  2. ^ a b Marie Korpe, Shoot the singer!: music censorship today. Zed Books. 2004. p. 178. ISBN 1842775057. Retrieved 2009-10-07.  
  3. ^ Hicks, Michael (2000). Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions. University of Illinois Press. p. 83. ISBN 0252069153. Retrieved 2009-10-07.  
  4. ^ Hogan, Peter K.; Charlesworth, Chris (1994). The complete guide to the music of the Doors. Music Sales Group. p. 30. ISBN 0711935270. Retrieved 2009-10-07.  
  5. ^ Riders on the Storm
  6. ^ Light My Fire - The Doors Lyrics
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^

External links

Preceded by
"Windy" by The Association
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
July 29, 1967 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"All You Need Is Love" by The Beatles
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


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