Ray Manzarek, the legendary keyboard player for The Doors, has died at the age of 74.
Manzarek was suffering from bile duct cancer.
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” said The Doors Robby Krieger. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”
Ray Manzarek founded The Doors with Jim Morrison in 1965 in Venice Beach, California. The band recorded six albums with Morrison including the final ‘LA Woman’ in 1971 featuring Manzarek’s finest moment ‘Riders On The Storm’.
Morrison died in Paris, France on July 3, 1971.
The Doors recorded their first album at Sunset Sound Recording Studios in Los Angeles in one week from August 24 to August 31, 1966. That self-titled album opened with ‘Break On Through’ and closed with ‘The End’ with ‘Light My Fire’ placed right at the end of side one of the original vinyl disc. The four members of The Doors, Kim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore were credited together as songwriters on all tracks except the two covers on the album.
The Doors were one of the most controversial bands in America in their day. In September 1967 when scheduled to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show they were asked to change the lyrics of ‘Light My Fire’ for the broadcast. The producer wanted the word ‘higher’ (suggesting drugs) changed to ‘better’. The Doors agreed, appeared live on the show but then sang the original version regardless. They were told they would never do The Ed Sullivan Show again following the performance.
In December, 1967 Jim Morrison was arrested when police ended a Doors show suddenly when Morrison taunted police during the show for spraying him with mace after they mistook him for a fan backstage.
On 1 March 1969 during a performance in Miami, a drunk Morrison removed his short, held it between his groin and made his finger look like he was exposing his penis. On March 5, a warrant was issued for this arrest.
Morrison left the band in 1971 and moved to France were he was found dead on July 3, 1971. The Doors continued on for two more albums without him and disbanded in 1973.
Ray is survived by his wife Dorothy and brothers Rick and James Manczarek, son Pablo Manzarek, Pablo’s wife Sharmin and their three children Noah, Apollo and Camille.
The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, please make a memoriam donation in Ray Manzarek’s name at www.standup2cancer.org