Monday, May 20, 2013

Ray Manzerek Breaks on Through to the Other Side RIP (1939-2013)

[L} Ray Manzarek, [R] Jim Morrison of The Doors

Ray Manzarek, the iconic keyboardist who co-founded The Doors in 1965 died after a long bout with cancer in Rosenheim, Germany.

Manzarek  attended film school at UCLA, where he became acquainted with fellow film student Jim Morrison.  Manzarek met met drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robbie Krieger at Transcendental Meditation. The foursome was the house band for the London Fog and later the prestigious Whiskey A Go Go on L.A.'s Sunset Strip.

Although The Doors were known for the unpredictable antics o iconic but erratic performances of  lead singer Morrison, Manzarek was the musical backbone, as he played both keyboard and bass.  Manzarek's importance is evident in the bluesy organ which is the hallmark of the infamous 1967 "Light My Fire" performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Manzarek also occasionally sang on Doors' songs, which took more prominence on the two albums released after the Lizard King's death in Paris in 1971.

After the end of The Doors, Manzarek continued to play professionally until his death.  In 1984, Manzarek released an album of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana which was produced by Philip Glass.

Manzarek also dabbled in literature.  His memoirs "Light My Fire: My Life with the Doors" was published in 1998.  Manzarek also wrote The Poet In Exile (2001), which was a novel that explored the urban myth that Jim Morrison faked his death.

As Manzarek shakes his mortal coil, it might be worthwhile to contemplate the inspiration of The Door's moniker.  It is based off of a quote from William Blake's "On Heaven and Hell" which Aldous Huxley reinterpreted in "The Doors of Perception".

"If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite"

May transcending the physical clear Ray Manzarek's doors of perception.  Rest In Peace.

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