Ray Manzarek, the influential keyboardist best acknowledged for his work with iconic American rock band ‘The Doors’, has passed away aged seventy four.
Manzarek was in Rosenheim, Germany, being treated for bile duct cancer.
Ray Manzarek’s life reads like a rock n roll fairy tale, with all the pieces falling into position at exactly the right time.
Manzarek had taken piano lessons since he was a child in Chicago, Illinois, but he in addition had a passion for movies. It had been this interest that led young Ray manzarek to enrol in UCLA (University of California) and travel to Los Angeles in 1962.
In the beginning, Ray played in the band called ‘Rick & The Ravens’ together with his brothers Rick and Jim. The group was moderately successful, releasing three singles.
At the same time as studying at UCLA, Ray manzarek met upcoming Doors singer/lyricist Jim Morrison and the two decided to create a band together in ’65. He also met his future wife, Dorothy Fujikawa, at UCLA. The pair were hitched in 1967.
Manzarek and Morrison teamed up with guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, forming ‘The Doors’ (they procured the identity from your paperback by Alduous Huxley).
Due to the deficit of a bass player, the multi-talented Manzarek regularly performed the bass notes on his piano.
One year after creating, The Doors released their debut record on Elektra records; it is, of course, a success.
The Doors went on to record several more records, taking an iconic position in the annals of Rock n Roll and galvanizing a generation. The band has since sold over a hundred million albums worldwide.
In 1971, lead singer Jim Morrison died in unexplained circumstances in Paris, France. The band lasting for two more successful albums and tours, before disbanding in 1973.
Following the band’s break up, Ray manzarek went on to become a record producer and a Grammy-nominated solo performer in his own right, as well as playing and recording with really high-profile Doors followers as ‘Echo & The Bunnymen’ and Iggy Pop.
In 2002, following a few of sporadic reunion shows, Ray manzarek and Robby Krieger joined up with ‘The Cult’ singer Ian Astbury to create ‘The Doors of the 21st Century’. The group, though a highly successful live show, also suffered from controversy, due to a court case from former Doors drummer Densmore.
Additionally, Manzarek’s autobiography ‘Light My Fire’ made him a bestselling writer upon its release in 1998.
He died together with his wife Dorothy and his brothers at his bedside.