Ray Manzarek - Biography

Ray Manzarek was born Raymond Daniel Manczarek Jr. February 12, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois. Most popularly known as keyboardist for The Doors, he initially met singer Jim Morrison while attending UCLA as a film student. Both Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robbie Krieger met Manzarek at a Transcendental Meditation lecture, which led to the formation of The Doors, who became one of the biggest rock bands in the world , releasing 6 studio albums with the Jim Morrison fronted line up, and two ill further LPs- 1971's Other Voices and 1972's Full Circle, both of which featured Manzarek on lead vocals.  Once the Doors' commercial prospects slowed, Manzarek moved onto a solo career, releasing The Golden Scarab (1973) and The Whole Thing Started With Rock n' Roll And Now It's Out Of Control (1974), before trying his hand at starting a rock band with Iggy Pop, which ended in one rehearsal, when Iggy appeared nude and inebriated. Manzarek thought he'd worked with the wildest man in rock (Morrison), yet his tolerance for Iggy's more extreme behavior hit the wall when it was left up to him to bail the singer out of jail after cruising Sunset Blvd. in a dress, visibly wasted. 


Manzarek then went on to form a commercial 70s rock band called Nite City. They recorded two LPs- Nite City (1977) and Golden Days Diamond Night (1978). Neither met with much commercial success, and the group disbanded. In 1979 the surviving members of The Doors recorded backing tracks for previous recordings of Jim reciting poetry, releaseing it as the last official Doors LP, titled An American Prayer. The following year Manzarek began his relationship with the Los Angeles band X, who he personally signed to Elektra records, producing the band's first four records, serving as unofficial fifth member, playing keyboards on LPs,  performing at some shows. In 1983 Mazarek recorded a version of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, produced by Phillip Glass. He published his memoir- Light My Fire; My Life With The Doors, in 1998,  and continued recording spoken word, blues, and pop records with varied artists- from Michael McClure to Daryl Read.

On May 20, 2013 Manzarek died in Germany from complications connected to bile duct cancer- an affliction he had been battling for sometime. Greg Harris, CEO of The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame said that "the world of rock n roll has lost one of it's greats in Ray Manzarek." His unique and singular approach to his instrument will not only be missed, but will most likely remain one of the most  influential sounds in rock.

Shop Amoeba Merch Paypal Free Shipping On Amoeba.com We Buy Large Collections


New customers, create your Amoeba.com account here. Its quick and easy!


Don't want to register? Feel free to make a purchase as a guest!

Checkout as Guest

Currently, we do not allow digital purchases without registration



Become a member of Amoeba.com. It's easy and quick!

All fields required.

An error has occured - see below:

Minimum: 8 characters, 1 uppercase, 1 special character

Already have an account? Log in.


Forgot Password

To reset your password, enter your registration e-mail address.


Forgot Username

Enter your registration e-mail address and we'll send you your username.


Amoeba Newsletter Sign Up