The Day The Doors Couldn't Get Much Higher

07/29/2011
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(Gibson) On this day in 1967, The Doors started a three-week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Light My Fire." The group's first U.S. #1 only reached #49 on the U.K. chart. Gibson takes a look back: In the early part of 1967, The Doors were floundering. Sure, they had been signed to a record deal and then recorded and released an album featuring most of the songs they had honed in concert, but the band's future looked a bit bleak. Their debut album was flopping, as was their lead single, "Break on Through (To the Other Side)," which stalled at a lowly #126 on the Billboard charts. If things didn't turn around, it's possible The Doors could have been shown the door at Elektra Records.

But, the band and Elektra president Jac Holzman wanted to put out another single in the spring. Everyone seemed to think "Light My Fire" had hit potential. It was the first song guitarist Robby Krieger had ever written. Reportedly, Krieger was trying to write something about one of the elements (fire, air, water, earth). Frontman Jim Morrison assisted a bit on the second verse and organ player Ray Manzarek came up with the distinctive organ intro.

"Light My Fire" looked like a lock for the next single, except there was one problem it was nearly seven minutes long. In 1967, a seven-minute pop hit was still unheard of; "Hey Jude" and "MacArthur Park" were still a year away. There was no way Elektra was going to sign off on a single with an extended instrumental break of organ and guitar solos. more on this story

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