The Doors‘ year-long 50th anniversary celebration continues with this week’s observation of the single “Light My Fire” hitting three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
The reign began on July 29, 1967, with the edited version of the song — 2.52 compared to the album’s 7.06 arrangement — topping the charts just over three months after it was released as a single. Having a No. 1 hit at the time put the Doors in an odd position, however; Though it aspired to be a cutting-edge rock band, the hit made the group a pop sensation, profiled by teeny bop magazines as much as by the serious music press, with frontman Jim Morrison becoming a bona fide teen idol.
Guitarist Robby Krieger, who was the primary writer on “Light My Fire,” tells us that the Doors certainly felt the dichotomy at the time:
“It was a little weird, but there weren’t any…I don’t think Rolling Stone was even going at that point, was it? With Jim looking how he did it was a perfect thing for 16 magazine and Tiger Beat and all those type of rags…It was kinda weird because we really didn’t think we fit into that type of deal, but, yeah, there weren’t very many rock ‘n’ roll magazines. There was one that was called Crawdaddy; That was a really cool magazine that used to cover all the cool groups and they jumped on us early.”
The Doors released a newly remastered and expanded edition of the band’s debut album earlier this year, while a new compilation, The Doors: The Singles, is due out September 15.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.