Ray Manzarek's Birth Anniversary
Raymond Daniel Manzarek Jr. was an American musician, singer, producer, film director, and author, best known as a founding member and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 to 1973. He was a co-founding member of Nite City from 1977 to 1978, and of Manzarek–Krieger from 2001 to his death.
Born on This Day, in 1939, Ray Manzarek, keyboards, with The Doors, who had the 1967 US No.1 & UK No.9 single 'Light My Fire' and the 1971 single 'Riders On The Storm'. Manzarek died on 20th May 2013, he had suffered from bile duct cancer for many years. He formed the band with lead singer Jim Morrison in 1965 after a chance meeting in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.
From 1962 to 1965, he studied in the Department of Cinematography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he met film student Jim Morrison. At UCLA, he also met Dorothy Fujikawa, whom he married. At the time Manzarek was in a band called Rick and the Ravens with his brothers Rick and Jim. Forty days after finishing film school, thinking they had gone their separate ways, Manzarek and Morrison met by chance on Venice Beach in California. Morrison said he had written some songs, and Manzarek expressed an interest in hearing them, whereupon Morrison sang a rough version of "Moonlight Drive". Manzarek liked the songs and co-founded the Doors with Morrison at that moment.
Manzarek met drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger at a Transcendental Meditation lecture. Densmore says, "There wouldn't be any Doors without Maharishi."
In January 1966, the Doors became the house band at the London Fog on the Sunset Strip. According to Manzarek, "Nobody ever came in the place...an occasional sailor or two on leave, a few drunks. All in all it was a very depressing experience, but it gave us time to really get the music together." The same day the Doors were fired from the London Fog, they were hired to be the house band of the Whisky a Go Go. Their first performance at the Whisky was with the group Them.
The Doors' first recording contract was with Columbia Records. After a few months of inactivity, they learned they were on Columbia's drop list. At that point, they asked to be released from their contract. After a few months of live gigs, Jac Holzman "rediscovered" the Doors and signed them to Elektra Records.
The Doors lacked a bassist, so Manzarek usually played the bass parts on a Fender Rhodes PianoBass. His signature sound is that of the Vox Continental combo organ, an instrument used by many other psychedelic rock bands of the era. He later used a Gibson G-101 Kalamazoo combo organ (which looks like a Farfisa) because the Continental's plastic keys frequently broke, according to Manzarek.
Manzarek occasionally sang for the Doors, including the live recording "Close To You" and on the B-side of "Love Her Madly," "You Need Meat (Don't Go No Further)." He also sang on the last two Doors albums, recorded after Morrison's death, Other Voices and Full Circle. Additionally, he provided one of several guitar parts on the song "Been Down So Long."