Monday, August 13, 2012

The Doors--Light My Fire (1967)

     It's probably sacrilege to some of our readers, but the Doors rarely do anything for me. As much potential as Jim Morrison had as a writer, his self destructive indulgence and total disregard for his audience rendered him for the most part an artist who's potential was unfulfilled. That isn't to say that he didn't have talent. On the contrary, his abilities and more importantly his charisma was the key to the success of the group.  As opposed to poetry, where the reader gets to interact with the words as opposed to the writer, rock music is an interactive pursuit where the energy between an artist and audience can make or break a performance. There probably wasn't a group that was more of a roll of the dice in that area than The Doors. When they were "on", the performances were legendary, on the other hand, they could be dull with lead singer Jim Morrison doing little more than slurring through his set, and God knows that beyond Morrison, the music wasn't enough to keep one interested.
     They were a group that could only have been a product of the 60s, where experimentation was the rule of the day. The poetry and lifestyle of the "beat" generation of the late 50's/early 60's suited Morrison to a tee, and it was that esthetic that informed much of the group's output. Looking at it over 45 years later, much of it comes across as self-indulgent yapping (admittedly, that could be said for many groups of the era) but when they were on, it ranks up there with any of the songs of it's era.
     "Light My Fire" was brought to the group through guitarist Robbie Krieger with the real hook being the opening and instrumental passage by Ray Manzarek. It was their first number one hit, and the song that defined the group. It was the song which brought them infamy through the performance on the Ed Sullivan show. On September 17, 1967, they were getting ready to take the stage when told the line, "girl, you couldn't get much higher" had to be changed because of perceived drug references. They told Sullivan officials they would do it. Of course, as the show was being done live, Morrison sang the lyrics just as he had planned without changes.


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