Ray Manzarek

As keyboard player with The Doors, Ray Manzarek helped create the iconic psychedelic rockers' groundbreaking, hypnotic sounds which were part of the landscape through the 1960s, and later went on to release a string of experimental jazz-rock solo records. Born in Chicago, Manzarek took up the piano at the age of seven, played in bands at university and briefly served in the army before moving to California to study cinematography at UCLA where he met fellow student Jim Morrison. After graduation the pair formed The Doors in 1965 and with Morrison's dreamy poetry and natural charisma and Manzarek's woozy, jazzy organ riffs, they developed from being the house band at the Whisky A Go Go club to become chart-topping heroes of West Coast psychedelic rock with landmark hits such as 'Light My Fire', 'L.A. Woman' and 'Riders On the Storm'. After Morrison's death in 1971 The Doors continued as a trio for three more albums with Manzarek sharing vocal duties with guitarist Robby Kreiger, and although they fizzled out after 1978's 'An American Prayer', they sold over 100 million records and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Manzerak began his solo career in 1974 with 'The Golden Scarab' and developed a funky, warped, experimental jazz style built on shuffling rhythms, squelchy bass lines and his trademark shimmering keyboard melodies (once described by journalist Lester Bangs as sounding like "whorehouse piano"). Though his following solo work 'The Whole Thing Started With Rock and Roll' failed to make a massive impression, he founded new group Nite City with guitarist Paul Warren and singer Noah James and remained an active figure on the Los Angeles underground rock scene. He went on to work Roy Rogers, Michael McClure and Darryl Read and released two more solo albums 'Carmina Burana' in 1983 and 'Love Her Madly' in 2006. Diagnosed with cancer, he died in 2013 aged 74.

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Stations Featuring Ray Manzarek

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