Saying good-bye to Ray Manzarek: the best news media descriptions of his significance

Ray Manzarek’s significance to rock and roll, popular music, keyboards, and culture:

“The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Manzarek is among the most notable keyboard players in rock history. His lead-instrument work with the band at a time when the guitar often dominated added a distinct end-times flavor that matched Morrison’s often out there imagery and persona.” — CBS News / Associated Press

He created one of rock’s most mythic bands and what was perhaps rock’s most recognizable keyboard phrases…. Manzarek’s keyboards were also in the foreground of such Doors’ hits as ‘Break on Through (to the Other Side).’ Manzarek was one of the first rock keyboard players to perform on the Moog synthesizer, a revolutionary instrument at the time. In concert, he also essentially served as the Doors’ bassist, playing bass lines on his keyboards.” — Marty Clear, Brandenton Herald/Bradenton.com

Musically, Manzarek’s spidery organ on ‘Light My Fire’ is one of the most instantly recognizable sounds in rock history. But he seemed up to finding the right touch for a wide range of songs — the sleepy, lounge-style keyboards on ‘Riders On the Storm’; the liquid strains for ‘The Crystal Ship’; the barrelhouse romps on ‘Roadhouse Blues.’” — The Associated Press

Manzarek, in a 2000 interview with NPR: “We were aware of Muddy Waters. We were aware of Howlin’ Wolf and John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Plus, Jan and Dean and The Beach Boys and the surf sound. Robby Krieger brings in some flamenco guitar. I bring a little bit of classical music along with the blues and jazz, and certainly John Densmore was heavy into jazz. And Jim brings in beatnik poetry and French symbolist poetry, and that’s the blend of The Doors as the sun is setting into the Pacific Ocean at the end, the terminus of Western civilization. That’s the end of it. Western civilization ends here in California at Venice Beach, so we stood there inventing a new world on psychedelics.”Krishnadev Calamur, NPR.org