An Ode To The Unsung Hero Of The Doors, Keyboardist Ray Manzarek

first_imgThree years ago, the world lost one of the best piano players it had ever known. Facing the impossible task of keeping up with the insane mutterings of Jim Morrison, he not only crafted many of the iconic melodies from The Doors’ songs, but also kept the bassline steady with his other hand. That keyboardist, of course, was Ray Manzarek.Many casual music fans are certainly familiar with Jim Morrison, as his membership in the unfortunate “27 Club” all but cemented his place in the rock history books. The man is certainly deserving of the accolades; he knew how to command an audience. Whether it was drunken babbling, coherent singing or mystical philosophizing, all eyes were fittingly on Jim. It’s the unsung heroes of the band that deserve credit though, and none was more important than Manzarek.Manzarek and Morrison were the originators of The Doors, meeting at UCLA and sharing an interest in music. Morrison was the songwriter, and Manzarek translated his wild lyrics into cogent tunes. The partnership only grew creatively when the group found bandmates in Robby Krieger (guitar) and John Densmore (drums). By 1965, the group was performing regularly, and by 1967, they cut their first album, The Doors.Naming yourself after an Aldous Huxley essay about taking mescaline was quite the bold statement about the band’s ideology. Mysticism ran rampant throughout the music, sparked by the other-level mentalities of Morrison. It was Ray Manzarek that would ground The Doors in reality, allowing them to grow as musical artists while simultaneously giving Morrison the freedom of expression.Manzarek’s work was downright iconic. What is “Light My Fire” without the organ intro? “Riders On The Storm” without the silky synths slinking in the background? “When The Music’s Over” without its classic organ shuffle?The Doors were true music innovators, and no one was more pivotal to the band’s sound than Ray Manzarek. While today may be the third anniversary of his passing, his contributions to rock music will not soon be forgotten. RIP.When the music’s over, turn out the light…last_img read more