Founding member and keyboardist of The Doors, Ray Manzarek, died on Monday at 74 after a bout with cancer, reports a number of media outlets. While this news in itself is about a band whose lead singer died in 1971, the music of The Doors transcends generations.
In slightly embarrassing fashion, my first introduction to music of The Doors was when 11-yea-old me was playing "Need for Speed Underground 2," the "Fredwreck Remix" of The Doors "Riders on the Storm" featured the one and only Snoop Dogg. You can listen to this abomination below:
Underneath Snoop Dogg's grunts laid an amazing song, one that was beyond my 11-year-old musical palate. Then my later years of camp came and my knowledge of one of the most influential psych-rock band to come out of Los Angeles doubled to two songs as "Light My Fire" was played on a loop for weeks as that opening keyboard line was scintillating to my young ears.
It was not until much later in my still young life that I opened up their full catalog and discovered that Manzarek's prominent organ lines accented Morrison's lyrics in an indescribable way that can only be described as it makes your emotions swirl like a Wurlitzer cabinet.
In a post-The Doors world, Manzarek has kept their music alive for future generations, singing on albums still under the name "The Doors" while touring over the past decade with guitarist Robby Krieger under the name "The Doors of the 21st Century" and a number of other pseudonyms; however, the important part was to keep the spirit of the band alive.
So the next time you walk into a college dorm room and see a poster of Jim Morrison, realize that The Doors were beyond Morrison's antics and lyrics, but featured some of the most innovative keys lines ever written. Though a name not known to all, Manzarek's influence on the psychedelic rock genre is evident in bands such as Tame Impala and many more.