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Raymond Daniel "Ray" Manczarek


1965-1973 The Doors - organ, piano, keyboards, keyboard bass (as Ray Manzarek)  
1973-2013 Ray Manzarek - keyboards, vocals  
1977-1978 Nite City - keyboards, vocals  

Guest musician

2009 "Weird Al" Yankovic - keyboards  

Personal information

Born on: 12.02.1939
Died on: 20.05.2013

Official website

Raymond Daniel Manczarek or Manzarek (b. February 12, 1939) is an American musician, producer, movie director, writer, co-founder and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 to 1973, and the Doors of the 21st Century (renamed Riders On The Storm) since 2001.

Manzarek was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended St. Rita High School. He attended DePaul University for four years as an economics major before moving out West and into the Department of Cinematography at UCLA. It was there that he met another film student named Jim Morrison. At first, neither man had even thought of forming a band. Forty days after they finished film school, thinking they had gone their separate ways, they met in Venice by chance. Manzarek saw Morrison, called him over, and asked how he was doing. Morrison said he had written some songs, and Manzarek exclaimed that he wanted to hear them. Morrison then sang a rough version of "Moonlight Drive" to him. Things just fell in to place after that. In January 1966, The Doors were the house band at a club called The London Fog. According to Manzarek, "Nobody ever came in the occasional sailor or two on leave, a few drunks. All in all it was a very depressing experience, but it gave us time to really get the music together." The same day The Doors were fired from The London Fog, they were hired to be the house band of the Whisky a Go Go.

The Doors' first contract was with Columbia Records. After a few months of inactivity, they found out they were on Columbia's drop list. At that point they asked to be released from their contract. After performing live gigs for a few months, they were "re-discovered" by Jac Holzman and signed to Elektra Records.

Manzarek recorded a rock adaptation of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with Philip Glass, produced Echo and the Bunnymen and Los Angeles band X, played with Iggy Pop and backed San Francisco poet Michael McClure's poetry readings.

His memoir, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors, was published in 1998. The Poet in Exile (2001) is a novel exploring the popular rumour that Jim Morrison may have faked his death. Manzarek's second novel, Snake Moon, released in April 2006, is a Civil War ghost story.

Manzarek is regarded as one of the most influential keyboardists of rock and roll from his tenure with The Doors. He raised the level of virtuosity a keyboardist is expected to have. The Doors lacked a bassist, so Manzarek would usually play bass parts with his Fender Rhodes Piano Bass in addition to rhythm and solo support. His signature organ sound is that of the Vox Continental Electronic organ.