Ray Manzarek's Legacy: In His Own Words

(Radio.com) The Doors' Ray Manzarek, who provided the classic keyboard and organ riffs that became synonymous with the band's most iconic songs, lost his battle to cancer at the age of 74.

Although the Doors effectively ended in 1971 after the death of Jim Morrison, Manzarek spent a good amount of his life maintaining the band's legacy. Other than his tours with Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, he also worked on keeping the band's recorded work in the marketplace through a series of reissues, best-ofs and box sets. The most recent release was the live concert film, Live At The Bowl '68, which shows the band at the peak of their powers.

Manzarek was beaming through the phone as he told Radio.com about the show in a late 2012 interview. He said that some of his, and the band's, favorite artists had played that stage, so it meant a lot for them to be booked at the Hollywood Bowl. "It was momentous. That was the granddaddy of all venues in Southern California. Igor Stravinsky conducted there! The Beatles played there! And we were playing at the same place. But up to that point, very few rock bands played there. We were very honored."

With their second No. 1 single under their belt ("Hello, I Love You"; the first was "Light My Fire") the band was on top of the world, having realized all their dreams of becoming rock stars in just a few short years.

"The best laid plans of mice and men had not gone astray yet," Manzarek mused. "We dreamed of putting a rock and roll band together on Venice Beach in the summer of 1965. This is now the summer of 1968 and we had attained the goal. We wanted to be as big as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and we had arrived at that place."

Indeed, at that time, The Doors Manzarek, Krieger, drummer John Densmore and Jim Morrison had a powerful grip on their audience; Manzarek himself exclaimed that, in that moment in 1968, "Those four guys were the four horsemen of the apocalypse!" After the Hollywood Bowl gig, the Doors became even more popular and eventually headlined Madison Square Garden. Had Morrison lived a longer life, would they, like the Stones and Paul McCartney, have upgraded to football stadiums? "I'm not sure if you are still a rock and roll band or if you turn into a circus at that point," Manzarek said. more.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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