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Ray Manzarek

One of the most influential keyboard players in the history of rock music, Doors member Ray Manzarek was born on February 12, 1939. Born to Polish immigrants in Chicago, Illinois, he grew up admiring the boogie-woogie piano players that became popular in the '50s. After dropping out of UCLA's law program, he reconsidered going to graduate school, eventually going back under their prestigious film program. It was in this environment that Manzarek helped form the Doors. Being one of the most influential rock bands in America, they would go on to release several albums before the untimely death of lead singer Jim Morrison in July of 1971. Devastating the band, they attempted two albums without Morrison featuring Manzarek on vocals, but fan support was low and the band slowly fell apart.

In 1973, he released his first solo album, The Golden Scarab, and began to tour again. 1974's The Whole Thing Started with Rock & Roll Now It's Out of Control came next, but Manzarek was itching to work with a band again and eventually started Ray Manzarek's Nite City. They released an eponymous album in 1976 and Golden Days Diamond Nights in 1977, but they failed to capitalize on the success of the original Doors and fell apart again. It was soon after that that the punk movement became a driving force in Los Angeles, and the band X contacted Manzarek about working with them in a production capacity. The end result was Los Angeles, one of the all-time most important punk albums. Reinvigorated, he began work on Carmina Burana, a high-concept solo album about opera and minstrels that was released in 1983. Unfortunately, the effort was viewed as too pretentious and he quietly faded away for almost ten years.

When Oliver Stone's film biography The Doors was released in 1991, Manzarek came out of semi-retirement to voice his displeasure in how the band was portrayed by the controversial filmmaker. In 1993, he released an album of Michael McClure's beat poetry over his keyboard playing, Love Lion, to a warm reception. The duo toured the country with the act, while Manzarek worked on his autobiography and a Doors tribute album. Both eventually came out, and he continually voiced his desire to make a musical based on the career of his former band. At the turn of the century, he released an album with British musician/actor Darryl Read and saw his son score a major-label record deal with his band A.I. Although he subsequently made some challenging and interesting music, including the soundtrack to the film Love Her Madly in 2006, his huge influence over the world of rock would forever associate him with the Doors, and luckily Manzarek seemed completely comfortable with that legacy. He died in May 2013 in Rosenheim, Germany after battling bile duct cancer; Ray Manzarek was 74 years old. ~ Bradley Torreano, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Ok I'm the biggest doors fan and I'm saying Maggie McGill is the greatest door's song
Ray your music on riders on the storm hit me like a lightning bolt at age 7 . That was 37 years ago !! And the song still fires me up !
Ray: Breakin on through to the other side
Ray Manzarek is a #Rock #God! I am greatful to have ears, to listen to him swag.
Thank ray for some great inspirationa l jams.
RIP Ray. The doors were the band I grew up listening to. When I started listening to other artists, I always wondered why most of them didn't have kick a** keyboard parts. The music community has lost a great guy.
Rest in peace, Ray Manzarek. Thank you for sharing your remarkable talent with the world. You have impressed us all!
mtkubas
Ray - Thanks for the great Music. My life is better because of you. RIP
RIP Ray, you will be forever missed. Say hi to Jim for me.;)
dave1060
RIP Ray - Enjoyed your music!
joncorn5
cool story
While visiting Lake Isabella, Ca. from Sherman Oaks back in '74 my then boyfriend, Jeff Brandstein, & I stopped at a little store called, "Manzarek's Market". The Doors music was playing in the background. We overheard a guy giving the easy-going clerk a hard time. At our turn I said to the clerk, "well you're ok to us, you're playing a Doors tape." He smiled & said, "Well, I happen to love their music too. Ray Manzarek is my son!" A short time later he invited us back up for dinner.- Kandy-Oh
Z1 Pandora finds another good one. Ray is an expert composer and instrumental i s t . Who would find him after the Doors?

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