As a musician I always look at some of the people who helped shape me. I learned guitar from people from Clapton to Janis Ian. Clapton taught me the art of electric guitar and leads, and Janis Ian taught me how to get a full sound from an acoustic guitar. Etheridge taught me how to wail on an acoustic and others taught me how to play bass, or how to keep a beat, and there have been some that really taught me about keyboards and what they are capable of and it got me thinking…
Ray Manzarek from the doors died last week May 20, 2013 from a long battle of cancer. Ray taught many of us musicians the art of keyboards and the wonderful ways keyboards can be used. If you are not a musician, he still taught us how keyboards made The Doors.
What Ray did for rock and roll was shear genius. He made playing the organ cool. I mean he made playing organ cooler than cool. He made it awesome and changed the face of rock and roll which as not bad for a kid with a degree in economics from DePaul University in Chicago.
Apparently, that was not his dream and so he headed to UCLA and went to film school. There he would meet someone that would change not only his life, but change rock and roll. You see, it was at UCLA that he met a fellow film student named Jim Morrison. Pretty much, we are aware the rest in not just history but rock and roll history.
The two boys started hanging and writing poetry and they gathered a few friends named Robbie Krieger and John Densmore and started a pretty cool band called The Doors. They played around for a few in clubs and in 1966 Elektra records signed the boys who would soon introduce America to psychedelic rock. Light my Fire came along in 1967 with their first album. Ray took those keyboards and just turned them into magic with this song had everyone including me wanting more Doors.
More Doors we got with hits like Riders on The Storm, The End, Hello I Love You, L.A. Woman, People Are Strange, Love Me Two Times, and Break On Through were just some of their songs that made me buying their albums.
Ray made the Hammond organ cool, he also made playing bass with your feet or your right hand while playing organ with your left hand extremely cool. I am unsure if people are fully aware of what Ray contributed to rock and roll. Here is one of his solo’s from Light My Fire.
There will never be another Ray Manzarek he was magic and as much as people said Jim Morrison made the Doors; I say it was Ray Manzarek. So goodbye dear friend, rock and roll heaven is jamming this week.