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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In Memoriam: Doors Keyboardist Ray Manzarek

 Written by Jon Williams

 The world of classic rock lost a legend earlier this week with the death of keyboardist Ray Manzarek. He was 74.

Manzarek met Jim Morrison while a student at UCLA. Later, the two would found the legendary rock group the Doors. While Morrison is the name most associated with the Doors, Manzarek’s work gave the group its signature sound. The Doors were one of the very rare rock groups to operate without a bass guitarist; Manzarek handled those parts by playing a bass keyboard with his left hand in addition to solos and melodies with his right.

After forming in 1965, the Doors got their start as the house band at LA’s famous Whisky a Go Go club, where they played with such musicians as Van Morrison. Their self-titled debut album was released in January of 1967, including such classic rock staples as “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” and “Light My Fire,” which was the song that made the Doors into bona fide stars.

Manzarek also took over some vocal duties as the band attempted to carry on following Jim Morrison’s death in 1971. During their six years together with Morrison as the vocalist, the Doors released six albums and charted fifteen singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Manzarek was played by Kyle MacLachlan in the 1991 film The Doors starring Val Kilmer as Morrison.

Be sure to SmartBrowse ‘The Doors’ on our website for a full list of their CDs, as well as DVDs featuring performances and behind-the-scenes looks at their career.

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