1960's America is always painted with a wistful mix of dreamlike enchantment for those of us who can only grasp that time with the music that was left. When songs like "All You Need is Love" and "Surfin USA" were dazzling the ears of Americans, even bands like the Rolling Stones and Cream couldn't capture all the jagged edges of such a conflicting time. Once The Doors stepped onto the Sunset Strip with a ferocious mix of Jim Morrison's provocative croons and Ray Manzarek's hauntingly epic organs, the music industry, as well as the world, was given truth.
"Five To One"
It's hard to capture what the Doors mean to a 19-year-old girl like me. I'm a junkie for that period of music that exploded about 30 years before I was even a thought. Each band, to a certain extent, pulls at me in its own way. But The Doors always stuck out like a sore thumb. They're not the type of band you can place next to another and compare. They didn't need a bassist to chain their sound, they had the most precise, visionary master on keys, Mr. Ray Manzarek.
I was in seventh grade the first time I heard The Doors. My music teacher, an avid piano player, turned on "Light My Fire." I couldn't decide if I was terrified or amazed by the swallowing organs, as I'd never heard them sound so smooth, so snarky, in a rock song. I was immediately captivated into the chaos of The Doors. "A Day In The Life" was still over my head, but the calamity that The Doors conveyed was so intricately threaded, I was sure there was no other band like them. And I'm pretty sure that that seventh grader was right.
If Jim Morrison was the soul of The Doors, Ray Manzarek was the heart. And besides having arguably the most badass sideburns of all time, there are moments in certain Doors songs that still send chills up my spine; I can't imagine how the people who grew up with these songs feel. No other musician could effectively capture Jim Morrison's croons with such elegance and haunting precision.
There will never be another introduction like "Soul Kitchen" or "When the Music's Over." I mean, the dude played keys and the organ with his right hand and bass with his left. And when the keys fire up on "Back Door Man", forget it. What Ray did half a century ago, thousands are doing today with the click of a mouse and only a minuscule of concentration that hehad. I don't know how you go about mixing blues, organs, rock 'n' roll, and hints of Indian chants without sounding boisterous, but Ray figured it out.
Though it's 46 years after their debut album, Ray Manzarek's passing has left millions like me to turn to the only thing he left us: the music. My parent's always joke about how I have the soul of someone left behind generations ago. But what makes Ray's passing better today is the true testament of his haunting, organ-blazed trail into 2013.
So although this is coming from a 19-year-old girl behind a Macbook screen, I want to thank Ray Manzarek for being himself. The Doors without a doubt cultivated the ever-changing, experimental musical atmosphere 46 years ago that we hear today, and their music is far from over. In fact, it's tragic passings like these that only confirm their immortality.
Thanks for these hypnotizing moments, Ray.
"Back Door Man"
Mr. Mojo Rising sounds a little tipsy, buy Ray's keys on this song prevailing, as always.
"I Looked At You"