Song Stories: Robby Krieger on the Origin of The Doors’ “Peace Frog” & “Light My Fire”

In our most recent edition of Song Stories, Reverb had the privilege to catch up with legendary rock guitar icon Robby Krieger of the Doors. While Jim Morrison often gets credit as the visionary behind the Doors, the band was actually immensely collaborative with its compositions, “Peace Frog” and “Light My Fire” being prime examples of the band’s joint efforts.

“Light My Fire” was born from Jim Morrison’s desire for his bandmates to take the songwriting helm. It was the first song that Krieger wrote, and when he asked Morrison what he should write about, he was told to write about something universal, something lasting. And what could be more universal than the four elements? Krieger decided he would write about earth, air, water, or fire, and he was inspired to take it in the latter direction by the Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire.”

Musically, “Light My Fire” hides a slew of influences in its progressions and riffs. Krieger decided to put as many chords as he possibly could into the song, combating the nature of old-school rock songs frequently containing no more than three chords. Krieger chose A minor and B minor, the chords used in John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things,” to solo over, paying homage to their jazz background, and the unmisktable intro on keys was inspired by Bach, highlighting Ray Manzarek’s classical training.

Krieger also took the time to tell the story of “Peace Frog.” While many have taken this eerie recording as a protest song, one specifically about the ’68 Chicago Democratic Convention, the lyrics actually pull from a poem Morrison wrote called “Abortion Stories.”

When Krieger first got started on guitar, he played a flamenco guitar and had no interest in going electric — that is, until he saw Chuck Berry play live. This impacted him so heavily that, as soon as he was able, he hit up his local pawn shop and bought an electric guitar. And the rest, as they say, his history: Krieger went on to record eight albums with the Doors, solidifying himself as a certifiable guitar legend with his arsenal of Gibson SGs.

Watch the video above to hear more about the origins of “Light My Fire” and “Peace Frog” and about Robby’s recording rig for the first Doors albums, and then click the banner below to shop for Krieger's favorite guitar, the Gibson SG.

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