The 1960s and 1970s are often credited as marking the start of the popularity of rock n roll. It’s certainly debatable. Many would say that rock n roll was already firmly established on the map in the late 1950s and the styles evolved rapidly with the passing decades, as different styles fused to create different sounds. Regardless, most of the big influencers have passed on due to old age, a life of excess, or in extreme cases murder and suicide.
Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and Keith Moon from The Who are all long gone. There are the few survivors who’ve been around for 50 years and live to tell the tale. The three original members of The Rolling Stones have been playing since the mid-1960s – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr remain of The Beatles. Cliff Richard still tours the world and Chuck Berry is surprisingly active for being 87 years of age.
This week we lost another one of the rock n roll greats: Ray Manzarek, who was the keyboardist for The Doors – a band whose style and sound changed the game for generations to come.
Fronted by Jim Morrison, The Doors were unlike anything else in the music marketplace when they hit the California scene in 1965. Morrison was a Wildman – he never wore a shirt, his leather pants were far too tight in the front and he often performed with his back to the audience.
Manzarek and Morrsion wrote most of The Doors hits together. The sound was led by Manzarek’s keyboard. The opening bars of ‘Riders on the Storm’, ‘Light My Fire’ and ‘Touch Me’ all start with keyboard first – very different to the guitar or drum-led styles that were popular at the time.
The lyrics were mysterious, dark and poetic. Radio stations wouldn’t play the songs, but had their hands forced by fans.
The Doors were mobbed by teens throughout their relatively short career. Their success came to an abrupt halt when Morrison died in a Paris bathtub in 1971. Manzarek continued to fly The Doors flag over the years to follow, working on re-issuing of some albums and consulting on The Doors biopic – he was played by Kyle MacLachlan and Val Kilmer played Morrison in the 1991 Oliver Stone movie. Manzarek died of cancer in a German clinic this week. Please rent ‘The Doors’ movie this weekend and play your The Doors CDs as loud as you can – they were one of the great bands and will always be remembered. RIP Ray Manzerek.
Onto something lighter and local: Danny K has released a video for his new single ‘Brown Eyes’. The song is making waves on radio and social media and the new video is top drawer. It features Danny, a hot car, three hot girls and a dog. Not to be missed. Have a look on www.facebook.com/dannykofficial.
Tweet me @IanBredenkamp