The first album I ever bought was by The Doors. I was young, still in the single digits of years, and I needed a song to play over and over again, ‘The Unknown Soldier’ by The Doors. My mother had to drive me to the music store to get my own because my brother wouldn’t let me play his copy of it anymore.
I found ‘The Unknown Soldier’ on ‘The Doors 13’, it was a greatest hits collection, not a proper album but it was perfect for me to get a sample of what this band had been about. I listened to that tape over and over and over again. ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Love Me Two Times’, ‘Hello, I Love You’, ‘You’re Lost Little Girl’, they were all so exciting to my young impressionable mind.
The weird thing is, I never bought another Doors album again, I quickly branched off into other bands and albums and styles. I would listen to the Doors on the radio and still loved them, but I hadn’t purposefully pressed play on their music much more in my life since, especially in comparison to other music I love. But when I look back on my life and how much that record probably influenced some of it is clear and stark, and I am deeply grateful to the band that created it.
Ray Manzarek may not have been the front man of The Doors, but his keyboard defined so much of The Doors sound and feel that you could never imagine the band without him. A little online research about him will tell you a lot more about him than I can here, his accomplishments are impressive, I only have my personal gratitude to share. My path in music, living in Venice Beach, my love of rock-and-roll keyboard, and much more, may have all been shaped by that first record. I don’t know if the older generation of rock-and-roll performers know how much they mean to us, and how much we hate to see them go.
Thank you Ray Manzarek, R.I.P.