Sad day for a Doors fan. A great muso whose importance to the band was often over-shadowed by Morrison. Pretty much held things together. I met him once at some signing in Pitt St years ago and he came across as very pleasant man happy to chat with a long line of people.
Interestingly enough all the media says he was 74 (born 1939) whereas the general consensus amongst serious fans is that he was actually born in 1935 (which would have made him 78). Anyway we’ll give him those 4 years…
Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek dies
Date: May 21 2013
Los Angeles: Ray Manzarek, a founding member and keyboardist of 1960s rock group The Doors, has died at a medical clinic in Germany at age 74 following a battle with cancer, the group’s manager Tom Vitorino said.
Manzarek, who lived in Northern California’s Napa Valley wine country for the past decade, had been seeking treatment in Germany for bile duct cancer, Vitorino said. He died in Rosenheim, Germany, surrounded by his wife and brothers.
Singer Jim Morrison and then-UCLA film student Manzarek formed The Doors in 1965 after a chance meeting at Los Angeles’ Venice Beach, and Manzarek’s keyboard work would go on to be a touchstone of hits such as “Break On Through to the Other Side” and “Light My Fire.”
The band, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, sold 100 million records since its heyday with psychedelic-era classics such as 1971’s “Riders on the Storm.”
Manzarek’s electric organ was a defining aspect next to Morrison’s booming voice in the band’s blues and jazz influenced take on rock and roll.
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger said in a statement. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”
The Doors broke up shortly after Morrison’s death from heart failure in 1971, but their mythology exploded following the 1980 publication of the biography “No One Here Gets Out Alive” and the 1991 film, “The Doors”, by director Oliver Stone.
The band recorded a total of eight albums between 1967 and 1972. After the band’s break up, Manzarek released two albums with the rock band “Nite City” in the late 1970s and six solo albums, most recently “Translucent Blues” in 2011 with blues-rock guitarist Roy Rogers.
Manzarek and Krieger became locked in a legal battle with drummer John Densmore in 2003 after the two reunited under The Doors name and later “The Doors of the 21st Century,” but were finally forced to tour as Manzarek-Krieger.
Manzarek, who was born in Chicago in 1939, embraced old age in a 2006 interview with Reuters.
“We occupy these bodies for 70, 80, 90 years, and it’s so much fun being alive on planet Earth that you want to keep this thing as fresh as you possibly can,” he said.
“The spirit, the mind, the soul, what’s inside of you just gets hipper and hipper as you get older … you get a whole broadened outlook on things,” he added. “That just naturally keeps going, but the damn body slows down.”
Manzarek is also the author of two novels and most notably the 1998 memoir, “Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors.”
Manzarek is survived by his wife, Dorothy, two brothers, a son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.
I know he was in his 70’s and these things happen when people are that age but its still such a shock. I didn’t even know he was sick. He’s one of the most under-rated musicians i have ever seen. He really played 2 parts in regards to the Doors, not only was he the keyboardist but he also was their bass player. I remember becoming absolutely obsessed with them when i was 16 and have always regretted not seeing them when they toured in 05 with Ian Astbury. Velvet Revolver were playing on the same night and considering Guns were my other obsession i couldn’t pass up that opportunity as much as id have loved to have caught the Doors. The news has made me regret it even more now as i always held hope that they might return as they still toured but anyway thats gone now
Ray was a great musician, and if you ever seen any of his interviews really reveled in playing up the drama and the showmanship that was James Douglas Morrison, he loved it. He would have been an awesome grandfather. Im sure he’d up there now sharing something that closely resembles a cigarette with Jim no doubt
RIP Ray, you were a real innovator and an influence on millions
Like GNR mad fan of The Doors
Artistically the Doors are arguably one of the best bands and produced both music with a powerful message for their generation ,beautiful love songs ,ballads and stretched their range for beyond many bands of today
Ray was a gifted musician he will far better remembered as a keyboard player , but was also a part time bass guitarist
While Jim was the soul of the band ,from what I have read and heard Ray kept the band functioning and kept Jim under control ( as much as that was possible) and was the bands heart
RIP Ray Manzarek I imagine you will hit it pretty hard with Jim tonight