As the rock music scene exploded in popularity in the 1960s, a band had to have something special to really shine – a unique twist on music that set it apart from the rest. Jimi Hendrix had his blistering guitar virtuosity. For Santana, it was a Latin rhythm, while Creedence Clearwater Revival blended country and rock to make their mark. The Doors, though, had a one-two punch that made them one of the most notable bands of their era: the poetry of Jim Morrison and the keyboards of Ray Manzarek.
Members of the Doors pose for an undated publicity photo. From left; John Densmore, Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison. Morrison died in 1971 at age 27. (AP Photo/file)
Manzarek died yesterday at age 74, bringing to an end a career that included innovating the '60s sound, production work for other famous rock acts, writing novels, and much more. The fans missing Manzarek today are probably remembering and listening to the classic Doors tracks that feature his unmistakable keyboards, like "Light My Fire."
Those songs are a huge part of Manzarek's legacy, but they're not the whole picture. There are, for example, the other bands he founded – Nite City and Manzarek-Krieger.
And there are the established acts that he played with – X, Iggy Pop, "Weird Al" Yankovic, and Echo & the Bunnymen, who enlisted his expertise for their 1987 cover of The Doors' "People are Strange." Manzarek produced the track as well as playing keyboards.
He even delved into classical music, creating a rock adaptation of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana along with Philip Glass.
We love it all, but it's Ray Manzarek's work with The Doors that shines brightest. We'll always remember him whenever we hear songs like "Hello, I Love You" – and so many more.
Written by Linnea Crowther