Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Exit Door

MANY words will be devoted to the life and career of The Doors' Ray Manzarek, who was carried off by cancer of the bile duct this morning at the age of 72. Few, however, will note his finest quality, which was finding the patience to put up with Jim Morrison, who must have been an extraordinarily annoying co-worker. Indeed, you could argue that much of what is distasteful and unpleasant in the conduct of today's youngsters first crystalised in the antics of the amateur pharmacologist and alleged poet. Loud, abrasive, rude and habitually intemperate, Morrison marked that sad transition from the days of responsible substance abuse, when getting bent was done quietly and in private, to the era when deficiencies of character are paraded as transgressive virtues.

All the same, and despite his enduring admiration for a man who extended his adolescence to the age of 28, Manzarek  was an interesting fellow. In the video below he describes the genesis of Riders on the Storm. Who knew it started as a cowboy song?





8 comments:

  1. I read Danny Sugarman's bio of the Doors in about 1981. Up until then I liked the Doors music, but afterwards my fondness for their best songs (of which there are quite a few - Peace Frog is my favourite) was tainted by the fact Jim Morrison was a complete tosser.

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  2. I live & learn! "Riders on the Storm" is sung as something OTHER than a cowboy song? *Sacrelige*

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  3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.May 21, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    I don't know anything at all about The Doors, Prof, except that they were a hippy group from way back who wrote some good songs. I really do like "Riders in the Storm". It is very open to interpretation, which suits me. Judge the music for itself, I say.

    Just like Wagner. That too is great music, powerful and emotive. I don't have to personally think Wagner was politically to my taste to enjoy his oeuvre.

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  4. I think it was Pauline Kael in the New Yorker who wrote of the Oliver Stone movie "The Doors":

    "Watching this film is like taking a long bus trip sitting next to a particularly obnoxious drunk".

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  5. It’s very easy these days and almost fashionable to mock Jim Morrison. Without Morrison though, the Doors were nothing more than good musicians. Ray Manzarek was a brilliant keyboard player but he couldn’t sing like Morrison. Morrison couldn’t play a musical instrument but was undeniably an interesting performer. After Morrison died the (remaining) Doors put out a few albums. Does anyone remember the name of those albums?

    The most alarming thing about Morrison’s legacy is that others made excuses for his behaviour. ‘He had a bad relationship with his father’ and ‘He became famous too quickly’. This sort of thinking started in the 70’s and now dominates western thought.

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  6. The refrain at the start is actually 'Ghost Riders in the Sky'. No wonder it is referred to as a cowboy song. That does not take away from the quality of the music that they produced. Like all musicians they made some good songs and used those to sell albums that also contained some not so good songs. I loved that era of music. Of interest also the story behind Deep Purple's 'Smoke on the Water'. Written and recorded in 48 hrs, a song from adversity in it's truest sense.

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  7. And Ray wasn't a bad singer. ooften on tour when the Lizard King was too out of it to perform, Ray would take over the singing duties. In Europe they didn't know the difference.

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  8. I always thought it was a cowboy song. What was it then, if it wasn't?

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