Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5.22.13 Hero of the Day: Ray Manzarek


Name: Ray Manzarek
Age: was 74
Occupation: keyboardist of The Doors
Last Seen: in the great beyond
Awarded For: being one of rock's finest 

When one door closes, another one opens.

But when two doors are closed forever, we should be thankful that two are still open.

Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist of the legendary rock band The Doors died on Monday at the age of 74 after battling bile duct cancer. Ray was a man who one of rock's most-talented, giving the band its distinctive sound.

While most rock bands are made up of a singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer, plus maybe a keyboardist, The Doors was made up of a drummer (John Densmore), a guitarist (Robby Kreiger), Manzarek and a soulful lizard king named Jim Morrison. While Morrison was the heart and soul of the band, Ray was its multi-tasker tickling the ivories with one band and playing a bass piano with another, making him The Doors' de facto bassist. He was pretty much the band's elder statesman, being the only member of the group's sole member born in the 1930's.

When The Doors formed in 1965, The Beatles were still a pop band that had just found America and the free love of the late 60's was still a few years away. After only two years together, they had their first album - self-titled - and their first #1 hit, "Light My Fire". Their other #1 was "Hello, I Love You" from their Waiting For The Sun LP.

In just a four-year period, The Doors released six albums and toured constantly. having to deal with Morrison's erratic behavior. Jim's short 27 years on Earth ended in a Paris hotel room on July 3rd, 1971. Manzarek, Densmore and Kreiger tried to continue sans Morrison as a trio for two more albums (with their first Morrison-less effort being called Other Voices). The band disbanded in 1973 but Ray continued to perform in other bands and many Doors reunions.

Ray is survived by his wife of 46 years, Dorothy Fujikawa, a son and three grandchildren.

Hopefully, he'll be riding to the great beyond on a crystal ship.

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