Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ray Manzarek RIP

Ray Manzarek, keyboard player and, after Jim Morrison's death, singer with the Doors, has died aged 74. If Jim Morrison was the face of The Doors, Ray Manzarek was the sound. His brilliant keyboard work on Light My Fire was one of the musical high points of the late 1960s. It was music to get stoned to, and I remember sitting in a friend's flat in Balham in 1967 doing just that. Baroque rock
is how some people have described it and Ray's keyboard playing raised the band above the level of others of the era.
Tracks like Break On Through (To The Other Side), People Are Strange, Love Me Two Times, We Could Be So Good Together and Hello I Love You Won't You Tell Me Your Name set The Doors apart from other bands. After the death of Morrison in 1971 the band staggered on for a while with Manzarek taking the lead vocals much of the time, but it was on its way down. Manzarek made a number of solo albums and formed a band called Nite City in 1975, but nothing compared with his early efforts.
One more death to record is that of Ray Whitley, who wrote or co-wrote a series of classic songs for The Tams, including Hey Girl Don't Bother Me, What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am) and Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy. His songs were also recorded by Joe South, Billy Joe Royal and Tommy Roe.


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