100 Greatest Guitar Solos: 45) "Light My Fire" (Robby Krieger)
“Light My Fire” was one of the first songs ever written by Robby Krieger, and his extended solo on the album version was also one of his shining moments as a guitarist. Ironically, however, in order for “Light My Fire” to become a hit for the Doors and Krieger the songwriter, Krieger the guitarist had to swallow his pride and allow his masterly two-and-a-half-minute solo to be trimmed down to its essential opening and closing themes for use on the single.
“That always bothered me,” Krieger readily admits. “We never wanted to cut it, but our first single, ‘Break On Through,’ flopped and radio stations told us that ‘Light My Fire’ would be a hit if we cut it down. We didn’t have much choice because AM radio ruled everything, and if you wanted to get on AM you had to have a short song.”
The longer solo now regularly broadcast on the radio in its entirety, is a perfect distillation of Krieger’s style. A flamenco-trained guitarist who played with his fingers and often evoked sitar-like Eastern sounds, with his Gibson SG, Krieger pulled out all the stops on “Light My Fire.” Still, the guitarist says that the complete version on the album is far from his finest effort. “It was the kind of solo that I usually did, but it was different every night. To be honest, the one on the album is not one of my better takes. I only had two tries at it. But it’s not bad; I’m glad that it was as good as it was.”
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