Ray Manzarek, the influential keyboard player well known for his handiwork with iconic Us rock band ‘The Doors’, has passed away aged 74.
Ray manzarek was in Rosenheim, Germany, being cared for bile duct cancer.
Manzarek’s life reads like a rock n roll fairy tale, with many of the pieces falling into position at exactly the correct time.
Manzarek had taken piano lessons ever since his childhood in Chicago, Illinois, but he in addition had a love for film. It had been this eagerness 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 named ‘Rick & The Ravens’ with his brothers Rick and Jim. The group had been moderately successful, releasing 3 singles.
At the same time as studying at UCLA, Ray manzarek met future Doors singer/poet Jim Morrison and the two decided to create a group together in 1965. He also met his future companion, Dorothy Fujikawa, at UCLA. The pair were married in 1967.
Manzarek and Morrison teamed up with guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, forming ‘The Doors’ (they procured the name from your paperback by Alduous Huxley).
Because of the lack of a bass player, the multi-talented Manzarek regularly performed the bass notes on his piano.
One year after forming, The Doors released their debut album on Elektra records; it was, of course, a success.
The Doors went on to record numerous more records, taking an iconic position in the annals of Rock n Roll and galvanizing a generation. The band has ever since sold more than a hundred million records worldwide.
In 1971, lead singer Jim Morrison died under unexplained circumstances in Paris, France. The band continued for two further successful albums and tours, before disbanding in 1973.
Following the band’s split, Ray manzarek went on to be a producer and also a Grammy-nominated solo singer in his own right, along with performing and recording with such high-profile Doors fans as ‘Echo & The Bunnymen’ and Iggy Pop.
In 2002, following a couple of of sporadic reunion shows, Manzarek and Robby Krieger joined up with ‘The Cult’ musician Ian Astbury to create ‘The Doors of the 21st Century’. The band, even though a very successful live show, also suffered from controversy, due to a court case from ex-Doors drummer Densmore.
Furthermore, Ray 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.