Ray Manzarek is best known for his work as the keyboardist for the Doors, butanyone who followed his career knows he was more then that. He was a published author and a well-respected music producer. When Manzarek passed away from bile duct cancer on Monday at the age of 74 and the music industry had lost one of its finest all-around innovators. Here is a list of his Top Five Underrated Accomplishments.
5.Working with Weird Al
Despite the fact that during Jim Morrison's lifetime he did not find as much humor in allowing for others to use any of the Doors' songs, much less mock them, Manzarek did not feel this way. And in 2009 he used his keyboardist skills for Weird Al's song “Craigslist” which is clearly making fun of various Doors songs. After his passing Yankovic posted a video of him playing the keyboards and both the music video and Manzarek playing are posted above.
4. Being part of the Lost Boys soundtrack
We all love a great cover, especially when it's done by Echo and the Bunnymen. The band's cover of “People are Strange” is the opening song for cult classic The Lost Boys and was a perfect fit for the 80's vampire flick staring both Coreys (Feldmen and Haim, of course). The best part? Manzarek provided the keyboard work for this song as well as “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo,” another one of the band's classic tracks. If you are going to do a cover do it right and get one of the original members of the band to lend a hand to enhance to song.
3. Producing X's first album for free
Undoubtedly one of the greatest punk bands and most influential in the scene was X. Manzarek had produced their first album free of charge and it is still regarded today as one of the greatest punk albums. This goes to show that Manzarek was more about the music than the money. He would go outside of his “genre of music” and he worked with punk bands often. For him, it was always about the music and the message that the music had to give. X was unafraid of what everyone thought and Manzarek had been there while being in the Doors, which made him the right person to produce such an iconic band.
2. His autobiography, Light My Fire
In October 1999, Manzarek had released his autobiography called Light my Fire. For someone that had been in such a huge band this was waiting a long time. He could have cashed in on something like these years before but he had chosen not to. The book had gotten nothing but stellar reviews once it was released and it is used for documentaries as answers along with the Jim Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive. There was so much that people didn't know about the Doors or even about Manzarek's life and he waited till he was much older to share his tales of being a young man in the music industry. Personally, I appreciate that he was much older when he released it so that he had more life to live and it only provided that it wasn't about the money but about the story.
1.Keeping the Doors together
Of course the number one thing is the Doors. Instead of gushing about Jim Morrison I'm going to give you some facts about how it all started. Ray and Jim were in film school together. Morrison was not very good at it and was often made fun of by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Manzarek liked what he was doing and was one of the few people who talked to Morrison. One day Manzarek was going to a gig with his six piece band when a member had bailed out. Manzarek had tried to talk to the club owner who said he would not pay him if he did not have a sixth member. That is when he asked Morrison to be in his band, just stand there, and Morrison had said that was the easiest money he had ever made. This had begun Morrison's taste for being in the music world, singing his song and with Manzerak's encouragement they had founded the band the Doors. On many occasions Manzarek sang the songs either because Morrison was too scared (hints why he sang with his back to the crowd) or because he was to intoxicated.
If it wasn't for Manzerak's constant encouragement to Morrison, his hunting him down, doing everything to make Morrison less of a dick, producing many albums, telling Morrison soon they will have a break, and breaking up the fight between Morrison and John Densmore there would be no Doors at all. We do not give Ray Manzarek enough credit for the things he has done specially when it comes to the Doors. He is truly and under-appreciated music God. He never asked for those things and he quietly accepted his role in the music world as the man behind everything. Robby Krieger (guitars of the Doors) has said in many interviews that if it wasn't for Ray he would never been able to play the music that he loved. Ray Manzarek was one of the founders of the Doors, never forget that he was the back bone, the man yelling at Morrison's funeral to see if Jim was really in the coffin or is he had ran off to Africa like he had always threatened. For the last song I am choosing “The Soft Parade,” it demonstrates all of the sounds that the Doors were capable of and it is one of the most underrated Doors records.