Posted by themusicsover on May 20, 2013
February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013
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Ray Manzarek was the co-founder and keyboardist for legendary rock band, the Doors. Born in Chicago, Manzarek moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA film school during the early ’60s. It was there that he met Jim Morrison who told him he had written some songs and sang him a rough version of “Moonlight Drive,” and the Doors was born. In January of 1966, John Densmore and Robby Krieger were added to the mix, and the group soon became the house band at The London Fog in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the group did very little to bring new patrons into the dingy bar so they were eventually fired only to be picked up by the Whiskey a Go Go the very same day. Their first gig at the Whiskey was opening for Them which got them some notice, and lead to a contract with Columbia Records. After languishing there for a few months they asked to be released from their contract and were soon signed by Jac Holzman to Elektra Records. The band’s first album, simply titled The Doors debuted in January of 1967 and soared to #2 on the Billboard charts on its way to selling over 12 million copies. The album included the band’s biggest single, “Light My Fire.” The Doors went on to become one of the most important rock bands all time thanks to their brilliant compositions and Morrison’s dynamic stage presence. After Morrison’s untimely death in 1971, the band forged on as a trio until calling it quits in 1973. In later years, the Doors occasionally reformed for special engagements. Outside of the band, Manzerek released several solo albums and formed a group he called Nite City. He also collaborated with the likes of X, Echo & the Bunnymen, and Iggy Pop. On May 20, 2013, Ray Manzarek died from bile duct cancer. He was 74.
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Posted in Musician, Rock, Songwriter | Tagged: Echo & The Bunnymen, Iggy Pop, Jac Holzman, Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Nite City, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, The Doors, Them, X | 10 Comments »
Posted by themusicsover on July 3, 2010
December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971
Member of the 27 Club
As the charismatic front man for the Doors, Jim Morrison exemplified all that is rock music. In life and in death, his impact on popular culture cannot be denied. Moving to Los Angeles in 1964, Morrison enrolled in UCLA’s film school where he met Ray Manzarek. The following year they formed the Doors with Robbie Krieger and John Densmore. In 1967, the Doors signed with Elektra Records and were soon invited to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show where Morrison’s use of the lyric “higher” instead of “better” maddened Sullivan enough to forever ban them from the show. If anything, that only added momentum to the Doors’ ascent, and by the time of their second release, they were one of the most popular bands in the world. The Doors continued to record several now-classic rock albums and blow away concert audiences along the way. By 1969 though, Morrison’s physical appearance had dramatically changed…the once leather-wearing rock god was now a husky bearded mountain-of-a-man more closely resembling a lumberjack than a rock star. And his performances were becoming more erratic as well. One concert in Miami ended with a warrant out for Morrison’s arrest on indecent exposure charges after he tried to incite a riot out of the crowd. He was later exonerated of those charges. Morrison moved to Paris in April of 1971 with long-time companion Pamela Courson. On July 3, 1971, Courson found Morrison dead in his bathtub, but under French law, no autopsy was conducted. The coroner claimed to have found no evidence of foul play and ruled it heart failure. Of course, there have been numerous articles and books written about Morrison’s mysterious death. Some say suicide, while others claim that Courson was responsible either accidentally or intentionally. While still others believe he staged the whole thing and is alive and well somewhere.
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Posted in 27 Club, Musician, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: 27 Club, Ed Sullivan Show, Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Pamela Courson, Ray Mazarek, Robbie Krieger, The Doors | 1 Comment »