The Doors' keyboardist Ray Manzarek has passed away at the age of 72.
The Doors may be closely tied to the mythology and excess of Jim Morrison, but the Los Angeles group owed their success to far more than the potency of the Lizard King. There was John Densmore's fluid drumming, for one, while guitarist Robbie Krieger matched jazz wizardry to R&B thunderbolts.
However the lynchpin of the group was undoubtedly Ray Manzarek. The keyboard player added baroque touches to The Doors, filling in on bass parts while his right hand delicately wrought complex melodies from his instrument.
Co-composing many of the band's biggest hits, Ray Manzarek's abilities as an arranger shine through on hits such as 'Light My Fire', 'Break On Through' and 'Love Me Two Times'. Recording six albums with the iconic West Coast group, the keyboard player remained active, recording with the likes of Iggy Pop, Echo & The Bunnymen and more.
Diagnosed with bile duct cancer, Ray Manzarek sadly passed away at German clinic surrounded by his family. News broke last night (May 20th) with tribute quickly pouring in for the much respected keyboardist. D
rummer John Densmore - also of The Doors - was quick to hail Manzarek's abilities. "There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison's words," he said, before calling the keyboard player his "musical brother".
Guitarist Robbe Kreiger continued to work with Ray Mazarek after the demise of The Doors, and paid an emotional tribute to his friend. "I'm just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him".
ClashMusic spoke to Ray Manzarek last year for our Rock & Rules column. A fascinating insight into a musician who really had seen and done it all, you can find the feature in the Clash archive HERE.
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