Ray Manzarek, the influential keyboard player best recognized for his work with iconic American rock band ‘The Doors’, has passed on to the great beyond aged 74.
Manzarek was in Rosenheim, Germany, being cared for bile duct cancer.
Manzarek’s life reads like a rock n roll fairy story, with many of the pieces falling into place at precisely the right time.
Ray manzarek had taken piano lessons since his childhood in Chicago, Illinois, but he in addition had a love for movies. It was this eagerness that led young Manzarek to enrol in UCLA (University of California) and move to Los Angeles in ’62.
Originally, Ray performed in the band known as ‘Rick & The Ravens’ with his brothers Rick and Jim. The band was moderately successful, releasing three singles.
At the same time as studying at UCLA, Manzarek met impending Doors singer/lyricist Jim Morrison and both planned to create a group together in 1965. He also met his future partner, Dorothy Fujikawa, at UCLA. The pair were married in ’67.
Ray manzarek and Morrison teamed up with guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, forming ‘The Doors’ (they procured the name from a book by Alduous Huxley).
As a result of lack of a bass player, the multi-talented Manzarek usually played the bass notes on his piano.
A year after creating, The Doors released their debut album on Elektra records; it’s, obviously, a hit.
The Doors went on to make several more albums, taking an iconic spot throughout the chronicles of Rock n Roll and galvanizing a generation. The group has ever since sold more than one hundred million records worldwide.
In 1971, lead singer Jim Morrison died under unexplained circumstances in Paris, France. The band lasting for two more successful records and tours, before disbanding in 1973.
Following the group’s split, Manzarek went on to be a producer and a Grammy-nominated solo performer in his own right, in addition to performing and recording with really high-profile Doors fans as ‘Echo & The Bunnymen’ and Iggy Pop.
In 2002, following a couple of of intermittent reunion shows, Manzarek and Robby Krieger joined up with ‘The Cult’ musician Ian Astbury to form ‘The Doors of the 21st Century’. The group, even though a very successful live show, also suffered from controversy, due to some court case from ex-Doors drummer Densmore.
In addition, Ray manzarek’s autobiography ‘Light My Fire’ made him a bestselling writer upon its release in ’98.
He died with his wife Dorothy and his brothers at his bedside.
Legendary musician Ray Manzarek, dies at seventy four