The Doors… Light My Fire & FM Radio

FM Radio was developed in the 1930s. I collect old radios and had a Sonora table radio from 1948 that was AM/FM and could receive today’s FM stations. But in reality, it wasn’t until the mid to late 1960’s that FM radio started becoming popular. FM stands for Frequency Modulation, and AM is Amplitude Modulation. By modulating the frequency of a radio wave instead of it’s size, FM allows for greater fidelity, stereo, and as Steely Dan said “no static at all.”

In January of 1967 The Doors released their first album.

The album was not an instant hit, and the first single “Break On Through”…didn’t. It stiffed at #126. What to do? There was this great song on the album, “Light My Fire,” but it was 7-minutes long. The radio stations with the most listeners were AM, and they mainly played singles that were about 3-minutes long. No new group was going to get a 7-minute single on the charts. So, an extremely smart decision was made. Elektra edited the long instrumental section out of “Light My Fire” to make a single that was under 3-minutes. It’s one of the great singles…exciting and dramatic. It went to #1, stayed there for three weeks in July & August of 1967, and sold nearly a million copies. By September, The Doors album went to #2, pulled to that position by the power of “Light My Fire,” and only held out of #1 by Sgt. Pepper.

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