July 23, 2009

Light My Fire-Just Try It

Filed under: Uncategorized — improviz @ 1:37 PM

There are a lot of juicy reasons for consigning this tune to The Crypt. Let’s carry through the metaphore of artistic mis-representation that I started in 2 other entries, only instead of a song misrepresenting the work of a musician, let’s realize that the Doors as a band misrepresented an epoch-the 60’s.

Yea, yea, the Doors. The Doors of Perception. Aldous Huxley, bla, bla, bla. I was there, folks, and I can tell you that to anyone invested in personal transformation, this band was considered laughable and a sell out from the git go. At their best, their songs were dark emanations of the erratic drug/alcohol-driven psyche of Jum Morrison. Nothing wrong with that, of course, except that for real power in the 1960’s, musical indulgence and hedonism needed at least some trace of the overtly political . Otherwise, it was simply retail masquerading as revolution. “Light My Fire” is the clearest example of that. As always, look to the lyrics:

You know that it would be untrue,
You know that I would be a ly-ah,
If I was to say to you,
Girl we couldn’t get much high-ah
Come on baby light my fy-ah….

And later, the great rhyming line:
No time to wallow in the my-ah

Bumptious. Egregious.

Other criminal aspects: I give the Doors credit for having recorded an extended organ solo in the original track (Morrison needed time to drop trou on stage). To a jazz sensibility, at least it had a whiff and coloration that led away from the usual 120db Johnny Winter solos of the day. Naturally, as time passed and the culture coarsened, that solo was eliminated from radio versions, rendering un-listenable the versions now played on oldies stations. [The same thing happened with the only listenable part of the pop hit “Spinning Wheel,” by Blood, Sweat and Tears. When that song initially got radio play, you got to hear a fine trumpet solo by Lou Soloff, but it was soon eliminated and replaced by a d-grade guitar solo].

That bowdlerization of Light My Fire may not be the fault of the Doors, but it certainly is another nail in the coffin; another reason to toss this tune into the crypt. Before the entombment, I invite someone to please do something useful with this tune. Turn it into a Baptist Hymn. Re-mix the William Shatner version. The time is well passed when it can be heard without inducing the Old Ennui, so help me extinguish the fire. You know in your heart I’m right.



  1. I think the 'radio edit' version was almost immediately available – right after the tune hit, and programmers began to cheeze that it was too long. Dylan had the right idea with 'Rolling Stone' which is about the same length – never shut up, so they cant cut your tune!Just be glad In A Gadda Da Vida never caught on as a jazz standard…The Doors did have some political stuff, check Unknown Soldier. Rebel can deliver a PhD dissertation in their defense, if provoked.

    Comment by rob chalfen — July 11, 2009 @ 3:52 PM

  2. send him over. provocation is us.

    Comment by Z.R. — July 11, 2009 @ 3:59 PM

  3. I liked them in middle school (I always listened to music before my time) but realized at some point in high school that they just weren't getting the job done. There was something blanched about their sound, and if Jim Morrison was trying to say anything, it wasn't to me. Overall, they're over-rated.

    Comment by mediaseth — July 11, 2009 @ 4:43 PM

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