Yesterday was the passing of one of my all-time favorite musicians, Ray Manzarek. Ray was a member of the Doors (my favorite member, to be exact) and was known as they greatest keyboardist of all time. Before the Doors, keyboards were not a main instrument used in rock. But as both psychedelia and Ray's incredible talents morphed together, the keyboards became a main instrument in the band, and an iconic sound that once everyone hears, they know is a Doors song.
I am a huge Doors fan, I always have been- it seems that yesterday though, for some odd reason, I listened to the Doors more than usual. A few hours after I got home from school word was all over social networking sites that Ray had passed, and of course I was skeptical (he had bile duct cancer?). Unfortunately this devastating news was eventually confirmed by Ray's manager, as well as multiple reliable sources such as CBS, Rolling Stone, and BBC. Ray's death is something we all knew would happen eventually, but secretly (well, not secretly) hoped would never happen. The death of an iconic figure such as a rock musician doesn't seem like a regular death, because it isn't; once they're dead, the possibility of both touring and making new music is gone. I was lucky enough to see the Doors at one of their last shows this past September, where Ray seemed lively and well. He sang about how we should all be happy and try both LSD and pot before we die, and then proceeded to kick over his chair and hump the air to the beat of "Touch Me." Good ol' Ray, for ya. He seemed like such a fun guy, and it's rather unfortunate that the Doors these days are only seen as Jim Morrison. After Jim's passing, the band seemed to fade away, even though they remained active together as a band until 1973, a full two years after Jim's death. They've had multiple reunions, however, but now, I don't think that's a possibility. Replacing both Morrison's vocals and Manzarek's keyboard skills? You wouldn't be able to call it the Doors without them.
I also find it rather sad how after Morrison's 1971 death, the band seemed to fade from popularity. It was like they were only famous for the sex-icon Jim, and not the music themselves. I seem to think that if Jim knew he was such a sex icon today, he'd be disappointed that we weren't appreciating the music more. I mean, look at him in his later years. He had extreme facial hair and gained a massive amount of weight. What kind of man who was purposely trying to be a sex god do that? It was obvious he only cared about the music he and the band made, and that is what we should remember both him and Ray for.
|My shrine to Ray.|
Ray's turn at taking vocals on a later Doors song, "Ships With Sails." Since Ray's vocals were the most like Morrison's, he took over singing, but lacked the power that Morrison put into it. Nonetheless, I think this song is very powerful and that Manzarek puts immense effort and talent into it. It's definitely a hidden gem.