Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Doors: Light My Fire

Earlier this week Ray Manzarek, The Doors’ keyboardist, passed away from cancer. While we dedicated our Tuesday post to Manzarek, one of the band’s tunes fits our Thursday Repeats and Threepeats category. In most cases where a song is released more than once, the second take usually results in a higher chart position; however, for The Doors’ version of “Light My Fire” that was not the case.

Ray Manzarek is featured twice on “Light My Fire,” as he laid down a track with his Fender Rhodes keyboard bass and another track featuring his Vox Continental combo organ. Although the keyboards were recorded separately, Manzarek typically played the two instruments simultaneously. Like the rest of the The Doors’ debut LP, a four track reel-to-reel deck was utilized.

“Light My Fire” was the band’s second single release and their first to chart within the Hot 100. This 1967 release was The Doors’ highest charting single, as it held the number one slot for three weeks. When Jose Feliciano’s 1968 cover of the tune began to chart, Elektra Records re-released the single. It only made it to #87 on its second issue.

The original album version was a composite of two takes that were spliced together, but that is not the only notable aspect of this long album cut. When the album was mastered, the version of “Light My Fire” ended up being slower than it was originally recorded.

Although the single edit was released at the correct speed in the key of Am, the album version was slower and was just a bit sharp of Abm. When the album was remastered in 2006, the album version was corrected to its intended speed and key.

Like his solos on other recordings by The Doors, Ray Manzarek’s keyboard work on this classic tune is simply amazing.

Single Edit

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