By Anne Alvarez
The music world lost a legend when founding member and keyboardist of “The Doors” Ray Manzarek passed away in Germany on May 19th at age 74 from Bile duct cancer.
Manzarek met Jim Morrison while both were in film school at UCLA between 1962 and 1965. A month after graduating they ran into each other at Venice Beach. They hooked up with guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, whom Manzarek met at a TM lecture. Morrison named the group “The Doors” based on Aldous Huxley’s psychotropic monograph The Doors of Perception.
In an interview with NPR in 2001 Manzarek stated: “That’s the blend of The Doors as the sun is setting into the Pacific Ocean at the end, the terminus of Western civilization. That’s the end of it. Western civilization ends here in California at Venice Beach, so we stood there inventing a new world on psychedelics.”
Manazarek’s quirky, innovative and often gothic themes, combined with Kreiger’s hypnotic, seductive riffs, were the perfect vehicle for Morrison’s dark, brooding, svengali-like persona and often-improvised poetic, lyrical flights, all of which was punctuated by Densmore’s savage percussion.
The doors had no bass player, Manzarek played bass foot pedals while simultaneously playing keyboards.
Their first album, the eponymous The Doors, included two of their biggest hits “Light My Fire” and “Break on Through.”
Besides their 6 Doors albums 2 albums, Other Voices and Full Circle with Ray on vocals were released after Jim’s death in July, 1971. The Doors formally disbanded in 1973.
To date The Doors remain one of the best selling bands of all time, having sold over 100 million albums worldwide, with 2.4 million in annual sales.
Manzarek is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dorothy,his son Pablo, daughter-in-law Sharmin and three grand children.