As you may have heard, yesterday, Ray Manzarek, former keyboardist for The Doors, died at age 74 from bile duct cancer. The Doors are one of my favorite bands and, in my opinion, the greatest American rock and roll band ever. I am thrilled I got to see them 8 or 9 years ago as "The Doors of the 21st Century," even if Jim Morrison was played by Ian Astbury and John Densmore was played by Stewart Copeland.
Manzarek was a blues-loving guy from Chicago who found his musical soul mates in Morrison, Densmore, and Robby Krieger. One of the things that makes The Doors stand out is Manzarek's keyboards. He was essentially two band members in one: a bassist with one hand (playing a bass keyboard) and a keyboardist with the other. If you think about some of the most famous Doors songs, Manzarek is front and center. Is there a more recognizable keyboard intro than "Light My Fire?" That badass bass groove on "Break On Through" is Manzarek's left hand (or maybe his right, but you get the point). And that playful intro to "When The Music's Over" sets the table for the cosmic madness the song becomes. And then, after Morrison's death, Manzarek attempted to keep the dream alive by lending his voice to The Doors' two albums as a trio (see "Tightrope Ride" below).
Needless to say, I was extremely saddened to hear about Manzarek's death. A little over two years ago, I posted my Top Ten Favorite Doors Songs. I'm not going to repost it, since you can just click on the link, but I will post a new playlist with the songs below, since the Playlist.com playlist in that post no longer works. This is the end, beautiful friend.