How 'Light My Fire' Got The Doors Banned From Ed Sullivan

By | June 26, 2019

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Left: Jim Morrison in an undated photo. Right: Morrison on The Ed Sullivan Show. Sources: Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images;

The Doors were one of the brainier, moodier rock groups of the late '60s, thanks to tortured-poet frontman Jim Morrison -- listen to "Light My Fire," though, and their pop song chops are clear. With Jim Morrison’s baritone swaying over one of the catchiest electric piano lines you've ever heard, the music gallops along with jazzy flair that showed off the band’s players. While "Riders On The Storm," "Road House Blues," and "The End" might be more representative of what The Doors were about, the (almost) danceable "Light My Fire" is a testament to their range.

And although it was a #1 hit on the Billboard chart, it wasn't pablum. In fact, it was considered controversial by some squares, and it ended up getting The Doors dis-invited from planned Ed Sullivan Show appearances.

The song begs the object of the narrator’s desire to take their relationship to the next level, but rather than be a simple track about a boy and a girl the track takes some twists and turns. The story behind the song, and where it took the band is a must read for any fan of The Doors.

The song started as an excuse for Jim Morrison to take a break

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When The Doors were first getting their act together, singer Jim Morrison wrote most of the songs -- which wore on the singer early on. According to guitarist Robby Krieger, the band wanted to play more originals so Morrison told them to write some of their own songs. When Krieger asked what he should write about Morrison told him, “something universal.”

Krieger worked out most of "Light My Fire" and Morrison fleshed out the lyrics. The entire band is credited for the track but Krieger is known as the member who gave the band their first bonafide hit and lit their career on fire.