Like every other Doors member he had an important key role on developing the band’s unique sound
The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger turns 73 today
Robby Krieger was born Robert Alan Krieger on January 8th, 1946 in Los Angeles, California. much of young Robby’s early exposure to music was classical, including Peter and the Wolf, which was the first music that captivated him. When he was seven, Krieger accidentally broke his record player, but the radio introduced him to the likes of Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, and the Platters. At the age of 10, he tried the trumpet, but found it was not for him. He began playing the blues on his parents’ piano with much more success than the trumpet. When he was a teenager he gained interest in learning to play guitar, in the mid-1960’s, Asian American scholar Frank Chin taught Krieger how to play the flamenco guitar. He bounced around genres, including flamenco, folk, blues, and jazz and played in a jug band—the Back Bay Chamber Pot Terriers. Krieger’s flamenco guitar playing can be found present in the song “Spanish Caravan” and overall, his technique of guitar playing it’s recognizable on every song he played with The Doors, Krieger usually don’t play with a guitar pick, preferring the fingerstyle approach, which goes back to his Flamenco background. Robby Krieger was brought to The Doors in 1965 by the drummer John Densmore who played together with him on the band The Psychedelic Rangers. Still going through an embryonic period, the band was complete when Krieger joined Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek and Densmore. At an early Doors rehearsal Jim Morrison heard Krieger playing bottleneck guitar and initially wanted the technique featured on every song on the first album. That technique was widely explored by the band on every album and was often more audible on their live shows at the time. Krieger’s fingerstyle approach to the electric guitar, broad musical tastes, and songwriting helped developing The Doors unique sound and identity. Krieger wrote “Light My Fire”, which made the band famous, after an early rehearsal where every member of the band was supposed to try to write a song at least. Morrison was the main composer, but he didn’t played any instrument, he would sing the songs and the band would replicate it on the instruments. But Morrison’s songs were always focused on dark subjects, death, abandon, melancholy. When Krieger had the task to write his first song he thought about those subjects and knew he had to write something that could please Morrison, so he brought the subject “Fire”. Eventually the song pleased the whole band and Morrison wrote the second verse that features the famous line “Our Love Becomes A Funeral Pyre”. Initially not thought to be a hit, “Light My Fire” begun to receive airplay demands on the local Los Angeles Radio Stations, but as it was too long and never thought to become a single, the label decided to edit most of the song out, including Manzarek and Krieger solos and turned into a short lenght single. It went No.1 in the U.S and made The Doors one of the most successful Rock bands ever worldwide. Aside of “Light My Fire”, Krieger was also responsible for writing “Love Me Two Times”, “Touch Me” and “Love Her Madly”, some of The Doors best selling singles. After the premature death of Jim Morrison at age 27 in 1971, the remaining three members tried to carry on and released two more albums featuring mostly Manzarek and Krieger on vocals but in 1973 they decided to close the doors. Krieger formed then the short lived The Butts Band with John Densmore. He remained a solo artist for the rest of his career after that. In 2001 he joined Ray Manzarek to bring back The Doors on the road with a new line up, vocalist and drummer as John Densmore refuse to take part of the reunion. Initially called The Doors Of The 21st Century, the band had to change their name to Riders On The Storm after a lawsuit was put by John Densmore. They toured successfully around the globe until 2012. In 2013 after the death of Ray Manzarek, Krieger got back to be a solo artist with his own band. He currently tours and still releases new music, playing occasionally with fellow Doors surviving member John Densmore on special occasions. Robby Krieger it’s one of the most unique guitar players in Rock music, often under-looked but tremendously influential. He was inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of The Doors in 1993, today he turns 73.
Watch The Doors performing “Light My Fire” live at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968
Listen to “The Very Best Of The Doors” on Spotify
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