In a positively packed week for news, The Doors' keyboard pioneer Ray Manzarek sadly passed away, while George Michael cheated death by falling out of a speeding car. Justin Bieber was once again in the headlines for various discrepancies.
End of the Night: Tributes were paid this week to Ray Manzarek, pioneering keyboardist with The Doors who died in Germany aged 74. He formed the band with lead singer Jim Morrison after a chance meeting in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, and the pair went on to create some of the finest rock music in history.
Yukkk! Taylor Swift inadvertently created internet gold this week after making a serious "Yukkkk!" face when her pal Selena Gomez embraced with ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber backstage at the Billboard Music Awards 2013. The whole thing was caught on camera - and it's hilarious.
Organ player had been fighting cancer.
“Tonight, Monday May 20th, The Whisky A Go Go, The Roxy, The Viper Room and The House Of Blues on The Sunset Strip will all dim their lights at 9:31PM PDT in honor of Ray Manzarek. Ray sadly passed away last night in Germany at 9:31PM” so reads a message on the official Facebook page of The Doors. It comes, of course, in the wake of the sad death of the band’s co-founder and keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer, aged 74.
Manzarek’s influence cannot be underestimated; forming The Doors in the mid 60’s with the iconic Jim Morrison, the keyboardist and organ player revolutionised the psych rock sound with his Fender Rhodes piano playing the part of the bass notes instead of the band having a bass player. The sound came to be copied – right until this day – by psych band from around the world, while The Doors themselves became one of the most influential bands in the world in general, thanks to their mix of old school rock & roll, blues and trippier tendencies that took in a whole range of genres. Manzarek’s best known moment on a Doors recording will undoubtedly be the winding organ riff on six minute epic ‘Light My Fire’, but he worked with several others and on his own to various effect, including trying to help save the career of a then-ailing Iggy Pop in the mid 1970’s, as well as producing for Liverpool-based post-punk group Echo & The Bunnymen in the early 1980’s.
It will be records like The Doors and Morrison Hotel that Manzarek will be remembered for, though, for performances at The Whisky A Go Go during that group’s early career, and for his dazzling organ playing that added a finesse to Morrison’s animalistic howls.
Continue reading: RIP Ray Manzarek: Doors Man's Influence Cannot Be Quantified
The iconic keyboardist has passed away in Germany
Ray Manzarek, the keyboard player and co-founded of The Doors with Jim Morrison, passed away at a clinic in Germany Monday (May 20), according to a post on the band's Facebook page. He was 74-year-old.
Manzarek death was caused by bile duct cancer, which the music legend had kept quiet from the public in the build up to his untimely demise. Ray was a founding member of the legendary rock group that formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, effectively ending with the death of iconic frontman Jim Morrison in 1971. The band did perform and release music again in various other guises after, with a variety of differing frontmen. He is portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan in the Oliver Stone biopic of the band.
Continue reading: Ray Manzarek Passes Away Following Hidden Battle With Cancer
What makes it interesting is the way DiCillo puts the band's brief five-year career in context with the world around it. By any measurement, 1966 to 1971 were volatile years in America as the flower-power promise of youth was crushed by a series of horrible assassinations and premature deaths, then silenced by a right-wing political and social snap. The Doors traversed this turmoil mainly due to Jim Morrison's raw sex appeal, mercurial talent and addictive obsessions. In this account, the other three seem like fairly normal guys who never really indulged at all.
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To look at the life of Rodney is to look at a near-complete history of several decades of music. A shy kid from a broken home, Rodney left Mountain View, California, for Hollywood in the early 1960s and never really left. Quickly making himself at home on the Sunset Strip scene, Rodney surrounded himself with every kind of celebrity, especially from the music industry. One interviewee after another comments on his Andy Warhol-like blank demeanor that allows the famous and talented to see reflections of themselves. But there is also an eternally childlike innocence to him that was quickly picked up on: Cher, who practically adopted Rodney for a time with Sonny, talks about how you could just tell that Rodney never wanted anything from you, just to be there and absorb the glittery experience was enough. There's a sense of a kid trying to make up for his own fractured past with a famous family, and also just looking for someone to take care of him.
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Shot in Toronto in 1967, in Northern Europe in 1968, and back in New York in 1969 (for PBS!), we get to see the band at every stage of its career. From crazy hippies swooning in the audience to a bearded and sunglasses-shrouded Morrison crooning "Alabama Song," this is a tight and interesting retrospective packed into only 75 minutes.
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