Ray Manzarek, the influential keyboard player best acknowledged for his work with iconic Us rock band ‘The Doors’, has passed away aged 74.
Manzarek was in Rosenheim, Germany, being cared for bile duct cancer.
Manzarek’s existence reads like a rock n roll fairy tale, with all the pieces falling into place at precisely the appropriate time.
Manzarek had taken piano lessons since his childhood in Chicago, Illinois, but he also had a enthusiasm for film. It was this passion that led young Manzarek to enrol in UCLA (University of California) and move to Los Angeles in ’62.
In the beginning, Ray played in the band called ‘Rick & The Ravens’ along with his brothers Rick and Jim. The band was moderately successful, releasing three singles.
Whilst studying at UCLA, Manzarek met impending Doors singer/poet Jim Morrison and the two planned to form a band jointly in 1965. He also met his future wife, 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 took the name from a book by Alduous Huxley).
Because of the deficit of a bass player, the multi-talented Manzarek regularly played the bass notes on his piano.
One year after forming, The Doors released their debut album on Elektra records; it is, naturally, a success.
The Doors went on to record quite a few more records, taking an iconic position throughout the chronicles of Rock n Roll and inspiring a generation. The band has since sold over 100 million records worldwide.
In 1971, lead singer Jim Morrison died under unexplained circumstances in Paris, France. The band continued for two further victorious records and tours, before disbanding in ’73.
Following the band’s split, Ray manzarek went on to be a record producer as well as a Grammy-nominated solo performer in his own right, in addition to performing and recording with such high-profile Doors followers as ‘Echo & The Bunnymen’ and Iggy Pop.
In 2002, following a couple of of sporadic reunion events, Ray manzarek and Robby Krieger tied up with ‘The Cult’ musician Ian Astbury to form ‘The Doors of the 21st Century’. The group, even though a highly successful live draw, also suffered from controversy, due to some court case from ex-Doors drummer Densmore.
Furthermore, Ray manzarek’s autobiography ‘Light My Fire’ made him a bestselling writer upon its release in ’98.
He died together with his wife Dorothy and his brothers at his bedside.
Legendary musician Ray Manzarek, dies at seventy four