Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and founding member of the Doors Ray Manzarek died May 20 in Germany following a battle with bile duct cancer. He was 74. Formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by John Densmore (drums), Robby Krieger (guitar), Manzarek (keyboards), and Jim Morrison (vocals), the Doors released six albums to chart in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 before Morrison's death in July 1971, including their 1967 self-titled debut, which was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 2002. The album featured the No. 1 hit "Light My Fire," also inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1998. The band's final album with Morrison, 1971's L.A. Woman, peaked at No. 9 on the strength of the Top 20 hits "Love Her Madly" and "Riders On The Storm," the latter of which was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. In 1993 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Doors were honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Separate from his legacy with the Doors, Manzarek produced one of punk's seminal albums, Los Angeles by X, in 1980.
(In 2007 the Doors— drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, and vocalist Jim Morrison — were honored with The Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award. The following tribute penned by Ben Fong-Torres ran in the GRAMMY Awards program book that year. Manzarek died May 20 at age 74.)
The Doors' Lifetime Achievement Award comes 40 years after the release of their phenomenal first album, which produced "Light My Fire," one of the songs that helped define the Summer of Love.
In their relatively short time — from 1965 to 1971 — as a quartet, with lead vocalist Jim Morrison, guitarist Robby Krieger, drummer John Densmore, and keyboard player Ray Manzarek, the Doors produced six albums, all gold or even shinier. Eight singles made it into the Top 40, and "Hello, I Love You" and "Touch Me" joined "Light My Fire" as Top 10 records.
Morrison is long gone; buried in Père Lachaise in Paris after his death in July 1971. But the Doors have never stopped selling records. In recent years, they've sold more than a million albums annually.
Last year [Ed: in 2006], they began celebrating their 40th anniversary, with a CD/DVD box set, Perception, and a book, The Doors By The Doors.
I wrote that book from interviews with the three surviving Doors, from transcripts of interviews Morrison did (his last one, in early 1971, was with me), and from visits with Doors intimates, including, for the first time, members of Jim's family. One surprise: His father, the Admiral George S. Morrison, and his young brother, Andy, still believe that Jim wasn't much of a singer. "I don't think he'll ever be a Caruso," said the Admiral.
Another revelation: For all the attention on Morrison's erratic, self-destructive behavior, the band remained a band of intelligent, eclectic, adventurous musicians. They resisted rules, trends and, sometimes, even law and order. They were unpredictable, both in the studio and on stage. The result was the kind of rock that means the most, that has impact, that endures. That's why the Doors, at 40, still sound fresh and vital — and still sell records.
Chester Bennington of Linkin Park is one of numerous contemporary musicians who appear in the book, testifying to the band's legacy. "The Doors," he wrote in a foreword, "will always relate to the youth of any era. I'd be willing to bet that 20 years from now, the Doors will be bigger than they ever were before."
(Ben Fong-Torres, former senior editor at Rolling Stone, is the author of The Doors By The Doors, Eagles: Taking It To The Limit and Willin': The Story Of Little Feat.)
By Crystal Larsen
If you ask keyboardist Ray Manzarek about his experience coming up on the Sunset Strip with the Doors, he'll tell you it was "the heart of everything," referring to Hollywood's famed strip as the "axis mundi," or in other words, the center of the universe.
"This is our home [and it was] a great place to grow up," Manzarek remembered as he and guitarist Robby Krieger accepted the Elmer Valentine Award on behalf of the Doors during the annual Sunset Strip Music Festival on Aug. 16 at the House of Blues. Founded in 2008 as a means to promote, preserve and perpetuate the musical history of the legendary Sunset Strip, this was arguably one of the largest and, to borrow from the Doors, strangest three days of music in the festival's five-year history.
On Aug. 16, the same day the city of West Hollywood declared "The Doors Day," Manzarek and Krieger performed a concert accompanied by guitarist Billy Morrison (Billy Idol), drummer Matt Sorum (Velvet Revolver) and special guest vocalists Franky Perez, Mark McGrath, Linda Perry, and Dead Sara's Emily Armstrong. Highlights included a Chuck Berry-esque strut from Krieger on "Break On Through" and Armstrong's sassy delivery of "Soul Kitchen," which was enough to invoke images of the late Jim Morrison.
Tribute performances continued throughout the weekend with Friday featuring Krieger teaming with the Black Crowes' Rich Robinson for a special performance at the Viper Room, and Manzarek joining fellow legendary L.A. rock band X as they performed their 1980 debut album, Los Angeles, in its entirety at the Roxy.
While it's common for people to show up "fashionably late" in L.A., that wasn't the case on Saturday as Sunset Strip up-and-comers Dead Sara were the first band up on the main stage. Playing to an already packed crowd, Dead Sara ripped through a heavy dose of rock and roll harnessing each member's own impressive level of energy led by the triumphant return of guitarist Siouxsie Medley, who recently suffered a rib fracture.
Metalheads were delighted when guitar god Zakk Wylde and his band took the stage to greet the Los Angeles Chapter of the Black Label Society. Strapped with his custom black-and-white-striped Gibson Flying V, Wylde raged through a riff-heavy set that included "Suicide Messiah" and "House Of Doom," among others. Krieger, who had been rocking out from the side of the stage, joined Wylde for a fired-up rendition of "Roadhouse Blues," combining the singer's heavy metal vocals with Krieger's iconic riffs.
The weekend proved to be a return of Southern California favorites as punk group Bad Religion took the stage and appropriately opened with their 2004 track "Los Angeles Is Burning." Fellow punkmates the Offspring contributed to the jump-worthy portion of the show with a set that included "Come Out And Play," "Self Esteem" and "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)."
Elsewhere, DJ Steve Aoki was pleasing dance/electronica music fans in attendance with a raving set that featured special guests Travis Barker and Lil Jon. But as darkness fell over the Sunset Strip, the night was only complete with a closing set from one of the darkest artists of them all, Marilyn Manson. With the stage draped in black, the only color clearly visible from the crowd was the hot-pink stripe painted across Manson's eyes as he belted out songs such as "The Dope Show" and a fantastic cover of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus." However, nothing was stranger than seeing Manzarek and Krieger join the Antichrist Superstar onstage for "People Are Strange," "Love Me Two Times" and "Five To One," the latter of which Manson said was the first song he ever learned to sing. (He even has the number 15 tattooed behind his left ear.)
Where else can you find Marilyn Manson fans crowd surfing to the music of the Doors? Only in Los Angeles. Long live the Sunset Strip.
A beautiful birthday cake. Thanks for all the birthday love. B. pic.twitter.com/AhZCyZBfdq
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Available today, Record Store Day has officially begun with this exclusive release from The Doors. Originally recorded on March 7, 1967 in San Francisco, Live at the Matrix has been remastered to a quality second to none. Recently discovered by famed and historic Doors sound engineer, Bruce Botnick, these original tapes are available for the first time in pristine quality. This limited edition is only available while supplies last. Find it at your local record store before it’s gone and click the bio link for more information. #TheDoors #RecordStoreDay #LiveAtTheMatrix #BandFromVenice #RSD17 #RSD #Vinyl
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We put this album out independently, so we wanted to drop the vinyl on #RecordStoreDay. Support independent record stores. Double red vinyl + digital DL card available now Plata O Plomo #RedVinyl #RecordStoreDay #RemyMa #RemyMafia #Barz #ForREALdjsOnly
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The Recording Academy has partnered with Hyundai for Re:Generation, a documentary making a powerful statement about music's creative process.
Re:Generation chronicles the creative journey of leading DJs the Crystal Method, DJ Premier, Pretty Lights, three-time GRAMMY winner Mark Ronson, and Skrillex as they interpret and put a new spin on traditional styles of music. From classical music and jazz to rock and funk, the DJs collaborate with some of music's top artists, including GRAMMY winners Erykah Badu, the Funk Brothers, LeAnn Rimes, and Dr. Ralph Stanley; Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients the Doors; the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra; and the Dap Kings, Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste, Nas, Martha Reeves, and Trombone Shorty.
Listen to exclusive previews of two tracks from Re:Generation below, Pretty Lights' "Wayfaring Stranger" featuring Rimes and Stanley, and Skrillex's new rock remix of "Breakn' A Sweat" featuring members of the Doors.
Don't miss the opportunity to watch these five DJs turn the tables on the history of music. Presented in partnership by The Recording Academy and the Hyundai Veloster, Re:Generation will be released in January. For more information, and to view a documentary trailer, visit www.regenerationmusicproject.com.