ManzarekMention the Doors’ song titles Riders on the Storm or Light My Fire and the chances are that Ray Manzarek’s keyboard riffs will be the first thing to come to mind. Manzarek, who died a few days ago at the unreasonably young age of 74, remained an active and productive musician after lead singer Jim Morrison’s death in a Parisian bathtub in 1971, but he couldn’t escape the long shadow of the Doors period. The Doors (the group’s name was taken from Aldous Huxley’s mescaline-fueled The Doors of Perception) were very much a product of their time, but the all-important Morrison-Manzarek tandem and the characteristic music it generated was, Manzarek claimed, the product of a chance encounter on Venice Beach, Los Angeles. Manzarek was meditating. Morrison appeared, told him he had written a few songs and started to sing one of them to the sea. On the spot the two men agreed to form a band. What Morrison had sung became the basis for the song, Moonlight Drive. This all might be apocryphal. I’ve read somewhere that Morrison knew what he was doing and had already decided Manzarek was his man – and so, in any case, he proved to be.