Ray Manzarek, a founding member of The Doors, died in Germany Monday at age 74. As The Inquisitr reported yesterday, another founding member Robby Krieger released a statement confirming the sad news that the history-making musician has gone. Fans and musicians are now taking the opportunity to remember his powerful legacy.
I’ve posted a photo below from 1968, which shows the four founding members — frontman Jim Morrison, keyboard and musical genius Ray Manzarek (seated), drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger.
Manzarek and Morrison, two UCLA film students, met by chance on Venice Beach in 1965 — a fateful meeting that led to the formation of the psychedelic band that was always about pushing the limits. Morrison died in mysterious circumstances at the age of 27 in 1971.
In recent years, Krieger and Manzarek toured together playing The Doors material although they couldn’t call themselves The Doors for legal reasons.
Jim Morrison, the self-appointed “erotic politician” of the 1960s, was a very difficult man. Without Manzarek, there would likely be no The Doors — and no Jim Morrison legacy.
Krieger said: “[Ray Manzarek] was the only guy at UCLA that saw something good about Jim. Everyone else thought of Jim as a phony or worse. He saw the genius of Jim’s words and the rest is history.”
Drummer Densmore said: “There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words.”
While others credit Manzarek for putting The Doors together, the modest keyboardist himself was quick to reveal jazz inspirations. His Los Angeles Times obituary noted that he borrowed ideas from John Coltrane for his solo in the iconic single, “Light My Fire.”
“We loved that we were getting Coltrane played on AM radio,” Manzarek said.
It’s almost impossible to imagine the 1960s without The Doors trying to push open those famous doors of perception so that humanity could see the infinite.
There has been an outpouring of remembrances on social media in a variety of languages. I can only provide a tiny sample here.
Although Ray Manzarek has died, his legacy will go on.
[1968 public domain photo of The Doors courtesy Wikimedia Commons]
[energetic Ray Manzarek performing in Milan, Italy 2012 by PolverediGela via Wikimedia Commons]