Monday, 20 May 2013

Break On Through

Admittedly, this is not one of my usual posts, but I wanted to write something to pay homage to a musician that has made a significant impact on me.

Last night at 9.31pm in Germany, Ray Manzarek (keyboardist) from The Doors passed away from his battle with bile duct cancer.
I came across the announcement post on the official Doors Facebook page whilst brushing my teeth this morning, and was shocked into turning my electric toothbrush off and staring, captivated, at the information in front of me.

I'm too young to have witnessed The Doors in all their glory, before the death of Jim Morrison, but their staying power over decades and a generation or two is indicative of just how incredible they really were.
Considered one of the most 'dangerous' bands of the 1960s, The Doors pushed the envelope with their controversial stage shows, namely Jim Morrisons antics, as well as controversial lyrics. The well-known story goes that when playing The Ed Sullivan Show for the first (and last) time, they were asked to change the lyrics from "Girl, we couldn't get much higher" to "Girl, we can't get much better", due to the supposed drug reference. The band agreed to the change.
When it came to sing the lyrics on stage, Jim sang them as they were originally written, much to the disgust of Ed Sullivan.

Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison were the founding members of the band, and met at film school at UCLA. Believing that they had gone their separate ways after leaving, they had a chance meeting on Venice Beach in California, where Jim told Ray that he had written some songs and sang an early version of the song 'Moonlight Drive'. They formed their band then and there, and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

Ray's parts are probably the most recognisable sounds of each Doors song. Everyone knows the opening music to 'Light My Fire' or arguably the most epic piano solo in contemporary music in 'Riders on the Storm'. More dedicated fans would also throw in the opening to 'Alabama Song' or the aforementioned 'Moonlight Drive'.

I could go on forever about a band that has had such a profound effect on myself and millions of others, but I'll keep it short and sweet.
The music world has lost a legend, but Rock 'n' Roll heaven just gained one. 

R.I.P Ray Manzarek
1939 - 2013

"Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders, smooth as ravens claws"
- Jim Morrison 'An American Prayer'

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