Manzarek, Doors co-founder, dies

Ray Manzarek performs at the Sunset Strip Music Festival launch party celebrating The Doors in West Hollywood, California

Ray Manzarek performs at the Sunset Strip Music Festival launch party celebrating The Doors in West Hollywood, California

Ray Manzarek, co-founder of legendary 1960s group The Doors and creator of their signature organ sound, died on Monday after a long battle with cancer, his manager said. He was 74.
Manzarek formed the group whose worldwide hits included Light My Fire and L.A. Woman with Jim Morrison in 1965 after the two met by chance in Venice Beach, California.
He died surrounded by his wife Dorothy and brothers Rick and James in a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany after “a lengthy battle with bile duct cancer,” said a statement on the Doors Facebook page.
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” The Doors’ guitarist and long-time collaborator Robby Krieger was quoted as saying. “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,” he added.
Tom Vitorino, the keyboardist’s manager,said that Ray Manzarek was larger than life. He will be missed.
The Doors were one of the biggest acts of the 1960s, selling over 100 million albums worldwide and earning 19 Gold, 14 Platinum and five multi-Platinum albums in America alone.
Morrison impressed Manzarek, who moved from Chicago to Los Angeles to study film, with an early version of Moonlight Drive during their chance meeting on Venice Beach.
Manzarak was responsible for the band’s trademark sound, including the rolling organ on songs like Light My Fire. Other hits included Break On Through to the Other Side, The End and Hello, I Love You.
He was “really the driving force behind (the band) to make it all happen,” former band manager Bill Siddons said. “He was the guy behind the curtain that made things happen.”
Morrison’s untimely death in 1971 aged 27 effectively ended the band’s iconic phase, although the group continued to perform and release music with various band line-ups.
Manzarek wrote a best-selling book about his life, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors, in 1998. He was played by Kyle McLachlan in the 1991 Oliver Stone biopic The Doors. Slash, the former lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, was among the first to pay tribute, posting on his Twitter account: “RIP Ray Manzarek words cannot express.”
Morrison’s sudden death when he was found in a bathtub in his Paris apartment, stunned fans of the band, which broke fresh ground in psychedelic rock with such hits as Riders on the Storm, People are Strange and Light My Fire.

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