Ray Manzarek: Rock and Roll Tributes

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Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison, 1968

The tributes to Ray Manzarek came in at a furious rate in the hours following his death on May 20, 2013. Fans of course posted all over the web at Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Yahoo, and I’m sure multitudes of other sites. News organizations from Albuquerque to Zambia, everything from “Business Week” to “Al-Jazeera,” paid tribute to Manzarek. But the most poignant words came from the colleagues, friends, and collaborators that knew Ray best, and here are some of their reactions to the news.

Robby Krieger, Doors guitarist:

“I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek. 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.”

John Densmore, Doors drummer:

“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.”

Roy Rogers, who collaborated with Ray on “Translucent Blues” and “Ballads Before the Rain“:

“I am very saddened to inform you that my great friend and collaborator Ray Manzarek, co-founder of The Doors, passed away today at the age of 74. Always stretching the boundaries in music, art and poetry – this is one of the true rock icons that had heart, intellect and talent – and a terrific sense of humor. He was a great friend and will be missed.”

Ben Fong-Torres (“Rolling Stone” writer, author of The Doors by The Doors)

“Along with the music world, I just lost a good friend: Ray Manzarek, the Doors’ keyboard player. He died today in Germany at age 74 of cancer. For years, we talked about hitting the road with a show based on several appearances we made at bookstores and elsewhere, highlighted by his deconstruction of “Light My Fire.” Just a few months ago, we did our thing for Qello.com’s premiere of a new version of the classic film of the Doors at the Hollywood Bowl in ’68 (Amazon). It was on Facebook, and fans submitted questions through FB and Qello. In tribute to Ray, Qello will make the Bowl documentary and our session available for free viewing. I will pay further tribute to Ray on my new radio show next Sunday. More about that later. For now, it’s a time to think about, and to raise a glass of wine (he & Dorothy lived in Napa) to a great guy: Ray Manzarek.”

From The Doors’ manager Jeff Jampol:

“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 9:31 PM PDT in honor of Ray Manzarek. Ray sadly passed away last night in Germany at 9:31 PM.”

Ray Manzarek, who passed away this Monday May 20th, is being recognized world-wide for his contributions to rock ‘n’ roll.

Robby Krieger, in another statement via his Facebook page:

Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison were the two most unusual people I have ever known. It didn’t take long to realize this about Jim. He was obviously a genius, and he worked hard at being different. Did a good job of it too. Ray on the other hand, was a late bloomer. I guess it took all of his [and our ] energies to keep Jim in line. The real Ray didn’t appear until after Jim was gone. He was constantly doing projects with different people, producing, playing with different poets. He always saw the good side of people, and that was his genius. He was the only guy at UCLA that saw something good about Jim. Everyone else thought of Jim as a phony or worse. He saw the genius of Jim’s words and the rest is history. Ray sure did influence my life, and I hope yours to. I’ll always be grateful to John for introducing me to Ray and Jim, and I’ll never forget them. – Robby Krieger, May 20, 2013

In the L.A. Times John Doe and Exene Cervanka did an interview with Pop & Hiss the L.A. Times music blog, called “X’s Exene Cervanka and John Doe Remember a Friend.”

On Twitter, that communication device that breaks human speech into 140 characters, its more famous members have been posting tributes:

Weird Al Yankovic:

“Working with Ray Manzarek was one of the biggest thrills of my life. Thought it might be a good time to share this:”

Alice Cooper:

“Absolutely stunned by the loss of my old friend #RayManzarek of the @TheDoors… Stunned. RIP Ray.”

Guns ‘n Roses guitarist Slash:

“RIP Ray Manzarek … words cannot express … The Doors represent the LA sound to me. It was the 1st band I remember hearing when I came from England; ‘Light my fire,’ I’ll never forget.”

Joe Perry of Aerosmith:

“I am very saddened by loss of Ray Manzarek, now he’s with Jim. They mean as much to me today as they did 40 years ago.”

Krist Novoselic of Nirvana:

“Thanks for the great music Ray Manzarek!”

Billy Idol:

“Sad to hear about Ray Manzarek passing. I was lucky to get a chance to rock out with him & the other two Doors.. cheers mate say hi to Jim.”

Simon LeBon of Duran Duran:

“Very sad to hear of the death of Ray Manzarek, founder & keyboards with The Doors. Played a Fender Rhodes like some funked up Bach. MCO”

Skrillex (Sonny Moore), who worked with the surviving members of The Doors on the song “Breakn’ a Sweat”:

“This goes out to The Doors and all their fans. Was a dream come true creating “Breakn’ a Sweat” together. We love you Ray Manzarek, RIP!”

Randy Jackson, a judge on “American Idol”:

“Wow, RIP Ray Manzarek. One of the greatest artists ever.”

Originally published May 20 and 22, 2013.

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