Sunday, December 15, 2019

Time to Strike the Match

Song 490: This week the playlist comes around to Light My Fire by The Doors, written by Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, John Densmore and Ray Manzarek, and you can find a YouTube video of it by clicking on the title. As the summer of 1967 arrived, one hot topic of music fan discussions was the new Beatles record Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and how it seemed to head in a much different direction from their previous work, but then, as the thermometers got heated up, so did this new 45 by a brand new band. I soon acquired a copy of the single, and had a good time listening to both sides of it, but I also soon got to hear the long version of the track which appeared on the album. I couldn't own 33s while living with parents and grandparents who didn't approve of the devil's music, but I had friends who did own them and share them with me as we hung out, plus, in the school year that followed, I got to hear the entire LP regularly during gatherings such as the monthly student newspaper layout session, which I never missed. Of course, given my fundamentalist family framework, I did feel some guilt over my pleasure from a tune about the sinful indulgence of SEX, but it pulled me in every time I heard it, and I gladly went along with the ride. A couple of years later, when I got to college and escaped the fundamentalism, I left the guilt behind and enjoyed the music even more, and in the room across the hall from me at the dorm lived a guy who played the piano so well, he performed this entire long version at least a couple of times for me, making me appreciate even more both the organ and the guitar solos, along with the striking opening riff. The time to hesitate is through - indeed, it WAS through over 5 decades ago, but hearing this cut can still Light My Fire, and maybe it can still light yours too.

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