.

Ray Manzarek, Doors Keyboardist, Dead at 74

'Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him,' says Doors guitarist Robby Krieger

May 20, 2013 5:50 PM ET
Ray Manzarek
Ray Manzarek
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Doors co-founder and keyboardist Ray Manzarek died today in Rosenheim, Germany, after a long battle with bile duct cancer. He was 74. 

"I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today," 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." 

From the Archive: Ray Manzarek Opens a New Door

Manzarek grew up in Chicago, then moved to Los Angeles in 1962 to study film at UCLA. It was there he first met Doors singer Jim Morrison, though they didn't talk about forming a band until they bumped into each other on a beach in Venice, California, in the summer of 1965 and Morrison told Manzarek that he had been working on some music. "And there it was!" Manzarek wrote in his 1998 biography, Light My Fire. "It dropped quite simply, quite innocently from his lips, but it changed our collective destinies."

They quickly teamed up with drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger and began playing gigs around Los Angeles. About a year later, the Doors recorded their debut album for Elektra Records. "We knew once people heard us, we'd be unstoppable," Manzarek wrote in his memoir. "We knew what the people wanted: the same thing the Doors wanted. Freedom."

The Doors didn't have a bassist, so Manzarek often played the bass parts on his Fender Rhodes piano. He also played a Vox Continental organ, which can be heard on the famous intro to "Light My Fire" and numerous other Doors classics. The group shared credit on most songs and split all profits evenly.

The group carried on for two more albums after Jim Morrison died in July of 1971, but they split in 1973. Manzarek remained extremely busy, producing albums for X and playing with Iggy Pop, Echo and the Bunnymen and others. In 2002, he began touring as the Doors of the 21st Century with Krieger and Cult frontman Ian Astbury. Doors drummer John Densmore filed a lawsuit over the use of the name and it lead to a protracted legal battle.  

"Morrison required all three of us diving into his lyrics and creating music that would swirl around him," Manzarek told Rolling Stone in 2006. "Without Jim, everybody started shooting off in different directions. . . The Doors was the perfect mixture of four guys, four egos that balanced each other. There were never any problems with 'You wrote this' or 'I wrote that.' But [after Jim died] the whole dynamic was screwed up, because the fourth guy wasn't there."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Fantasy”

Mariah Carey | 1995

Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com