I’m sad to hear of the passing of The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek today. Y’know, I was never a huge Doors fan personally – you ever get that thing where you can appreciate the greatness of a band but they just don’t really resonate with you on a personal level? – but I loved hearing his stories when he would appear on documentaries or TV shows. He seemed to have a great memory of and appreciation for the history-changing musical and social era he arose from, and as we lose more and more of our classic rock pioneers, that sense of history is important to hold on to for all of us, especially those of us for whom music is a culture as much as a form of entertainment.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Ray Manzarek, keyboardist and founding member of The Doors, passed away today at 12:31PM PT at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany after a lengthy battle with bile duct cancer. He was 74. At the time of his passing, he was surrounded by his wife Dorothy Manzarek, and his brothers Rick and James Manczarek. Manzarek is best known for his work with The Doors who formed in 1965 when Manzarek had a chance encounter on Venice Beach with poet Jim Morrison. The Doors went on to become one of the most controversial rock acts of the 1960s, selling more than 100-million albums worldwide, and receiving 19 Gold, 14 Platinum and five multi-Platinum albums in the U.S. alone. “L.A.Woman,” “Break On Through to the Other Side,” “The End,” “Hello, I Love You,” and “Light My Fire” were just some of the band’s iconic and ground-breaking songs. After Morrison’s death in 1971, Manzarek went on to become a best-selling author, and a Grammy-nominated recording artist in his own right. In 2002, he revitalized his touring career with Doors’ guitarist and long-time collaborator, Robby Krieger.
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today,” said Krieger. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”
Manzarek is survived by his wife Dorothy, brothers Rick and James Manczarek, son Pablo Manzarek, Pablo’s wife Sharmin and their three children Noah, Apollo and Camille. Funeral arrangements are pending. The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, please make a memoriam donation in Ray Manzarek’s name at www.standup2cancer.org
Statement From John Densmore
“There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words. Ray, I felt totally in sync with you musically. It was like we were of one mind, holding down the foundation for Robby and Jim to float on top of. I will miss my musical brother.”
Statement from Kevin Gore:
“The Rhino family is devastated to hear about the loss of our dear friend Ray Manzarek. Ray’s astounding talent and deep passion have been a perpetual positive presence around Elektra Records, and then Warner Music, since The Doors’ debut in 1967.
Ray was a true music pioneer and composed songs that were so undeniable and profound that they continue to resonate today with fans around the world. His music and legacy will surely be celebrated for generations to come.
We offer our deepest condolences to his wife Dorothy and family in this time and encourage anyone wishing to pay memorial to Ray to make a donation in his name at www.standup2cancer.org.”
President and Chief Executive Officer of Rhino Entertainment and Warner Music Global Catalog & Licensing-Recorded Music