Crazy Covers: Eddie Vedder and the Doors, “Light My Fire”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Vedder rewrites history.

doors_lightmyfire_behindthesong_cropHow great must it have felt to be Eddie Vedder in 1993?

Here’s video of the Pearl Jam frontman subbing for Jim Morrison, leading the surviving Doors through three songs during their 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A few months before, he was at MSG with many of his musical heros, putting his stamp on Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War.” Here, he bravely takes the stage to sing “Light My Fire,” “Break on Through” and “Roadhouse Blues.”

Vedder does an excellent job of channeling Morrison’s brooding vocal style, and the band, while a bit restrained, clearly haven’t forgotten how to jam, strecthing the song for eight and a half minutes. This performance was widely bootlegged among Doors and Pearl Jam fans; however, the tape infamously picks up an annoying woman’s voice talking about “how much better the sound is in here.” It’s a pleasant surprise to find her voice missing from the video.

In 2007, drummer John Densmore refused to join a reunited Doors unless they were fronted by someone the of Vedder’s caliber, saying “I play with Jim. If there’s someone of that level, OK. I’m not gonna join them with Ian. That’s not to diss Ian, he’s a good singer – but he’s no Jim Morrison. Eddie Vedder? My God, there’s a singer.”

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  1. The amazing standout here is Krieger, with the searing purity of Baroque forays he sustains throughout; Manzarek’s keyboard of choice here just doesn’t cut through sonically the way the old Vox Continental/Gibson Kalamazoo did. Densmore still has the interpretive lyrical percussion corner locked up, and Vedder, while a little awe-struck, is such a superior singer to others who have sought to don Morrison’s mantle that it fully justifies Densmore’s comment.

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