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Throwback: The Doors

50 years ago this week: 'Light My Fire' is No. 1


Exactly a half-century ago, the fire was not only lit, it was raging. The Doors' "Light My Fire" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1967, almost a year after it was recorded for the band's self-titled debut album.

The single, whittled down to a radio-friendly 2:52 from the LP's 7:02 instrumental jam, kept burning at No. 1 for three weeks. It would spark another firestorm nearly two months later when Jim Morrison and company appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Sept. 17.

To appease skittish sponsors, the Doors agreed to change the line "Girl, we couldn't get much higher" to "Girl, we couldn't get much better." But Morrison changed his mind during the live performance, irking the host, who wouldn't shake the singer's hand as the band walked off the stage.

The Doors were also informed they'd never do the show again, much to Morrison's amusement. "We already 'did' Sullivan," he retorted.

"Light My Fire," listed at No. 35 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, also launched the career of Jose Feliciano one year later. His soulful acoustic rendition reached No. 3 in 1968, earning Feliciano two 1969 Grammy awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best New Artist.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Tags: music