The Galaxy – Remembering Ray Manzarek

English: The Doors performing for Danish telev...

English: The Doors performing for Danish television in Copenhagen (Gladsaxe Television-Byen studio) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We start tonight’s show with a memorial for the great keyboardist for the Doors, Ray Manzarek, who died this past Monday at the age of 74.  Manzarek’s keyboards were an integral part of one of the most interesting bands in rock music history.  Maintaining the bass part with his left hand while doing propulsive melody and harmony lines with his right, Manzarek’s keyboards became a key part of the musical soundtrack of the ’60s.  In reality, the Doors were an unusual unit – a band where all four members had equal input, where the creativity was truly balanced between each member.  While we easily remember Jim Morrison’s poetry and magnetic stage presence, each member’s input was crucial to the success of their music, and all three of the instrumentalists were superior in their craft.

Ray Manzarek (1929 - 2013)

Ray Manzarek

So, we heard:

And these live tracks:

  • Petition The Lord With Prayer/Dead Cats, Dead Rats/Break On Through (Dead Cats, Dead Rats was essentially a vocal improvisation over the primary Break On Through riff)
  • Celebration of the Lizard (poetry set, with Not To Touch The Earth in the middle.  The piece was originally intended to be recorded and used as an entire side of a LP, but the band members and producer thought that the length of the piece made a complete recording impossible.  They did make several attempts to record the piece, but were dissatisfied with the results.  Not To Touch The Earth was eventually used for the Waiting For the Sun LP.)
English: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C...

English: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. closeup view of vocalists Joan Baez and Bob Dylan., 08/28/1963  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Going beyond our Ray Manzarek memorial, we also have the birthday of Bob Dylan.  Of course, Dylan is just one of the most influential writers and performers of the last half of the 20th century.  His influence on the Beatles, the Byrds and Jimi Hendrix alone would have established him as one of the most important figures in rock history.  But his music goes beyond simple matters of influence.  So, from the relatively recent (2003) Live 1964 release, we heard:

We finished with a couple of Billie Holiday tracks, Summertime (from 1936, featuring Bunny Berigan on trumpet and Artie Shaw on clarinet) and I Can’t Get Started (with Buck Clayton on trumpet, and Lester Young doubling on clarinet and tenor sax).