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Ray Manzarek Dead at 74 So Lets Try to Set the Night on Fire!

The Doors

If there was anything I remember from my High School years, its not the Scrhöedinger equation. Not the Theory of Relativity nor Integral Calculus and yes, the “machine” forced us to learn all that. All I remember is that I wanted to be Tom Cruise from  Top Gun (that might have been Junior High), and Val Kilmer from The Doors movie. Unfortunately for me and luckily for the mankind, I was neither.

Anyone born before 1985 and didn’t want to be Jim Morrison between the age of 17-22 raise your hands!


Keep Calm and listen to The Doors

OK, I suppose today’s kids couldn’t care less for psychedelic rock n’ roll like The Doors was (kids have their own other demons today), but for us old enough to remember the fall of Berlin Wall (don’t ask me how this got into this post) we will always shed a little tear when somebody plays Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin or, apparently, The Doors on the radio or for that matter, even on iPod.

The Doors

And if you still remember that little troubled, lost, teenage boy (or girl) you were back then when you were 17, you would remember that the coolest things you could do in High School was:

  • play a guitar
  • know the lyrics to at least 5 songs from The Doors
  • know how to play The Doors on guitar and pretend you ARE as cool as they were

If you were not one of the popular crowd (read: top sportsman or stronger than anyone or just taller than everyone) then these three things could still get you laid regardless of your gender. They say Similarities Attract anyway. And now I only mean music wise.

So why was Ray Manzarek so important in our lives?

Before you all start wondering why am I writing about the piano player (and bass guitar playing on piano, dude) from an all American band, I will remind you that Ray Manzarek was of Polish descent and that – at least in my mind – makes him Eastern European enough. His music, on the other hand, is World Class. And I just wanted to share a little sadness with you now that he has passed away.

Funny thing is, although he was as important as any other band member in The Doors, he was kind of in a shadow of Morrison (that tends to happen when the other guy dies young and makes it into the Eternal 27 Club). Anyway, Ray was something of an Alien too if you ask me. One of the guys who made piano playing really sound cool, and I wish I knew that before I dropped out of music school back in 1988. Back then I was too young to be troubled, that came couple of years later.

So just how cool Rays music was? Remember all that crazy pianos at the beginning of “Light my Fire” or the keyboards on their ultimate hit “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” check it out:

If you feel a little like mourning the loss of this great man, today is the best day to remember his music, remember your own youth, so dig out the old CD-s from the attic (even better: audio cassettes) and  listen to the “Riders On the Storm”. And if you want to spice it up, you would take my advice and check out the cover version by a Hungarian prodigy artist Yonderboi (wiki here) who managed to combine the past with present (if you still live in 2008) and create something really astonishing. Actually check his whole album, its totally great.

Ray Manzarek died on May 20, 2013 at the age of 74 in a hospital in Germany after struggling with cancer for a longer time. He left us, but his music will always stay with us. So Lets Ride the Kings Highway, baby.


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Nenad Andricsek

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