Honoring a keyboardist

Today’s “musical moment” honors a musician who died this past week:


dlight - Copy

Any ideas?  If you read music, try to imagine the notes being played on a Vox Continental electric organ by Ray Manzarek:

The Bach-inflected opening of Light My Fire is one of the vivid aural memories of my childhood.  My brother and sister, 12 and 9 years older than I, respectively, were big Doors fans as teenagers, so I remember hearing this music very often, both at home  and on the car radio, when I was still quite young.  Manzarek did a lot of innovative keyboard work with the Doors (and had the best cleft chin in rock), but I’d wager that this is the most instantly recognizable riff of all.  Like so many pieces of music, it’s deeply evocative: when I hear that opening, I’m a kid back in Westchester County again.

The Doors (L to R, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Jim Morrison)
The Doors (L to R, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Jim Morrison)

And now for something completely different: I’m always perplexed when musicians choose to cover popular songs and then proceed to record versions that aren’t that stylistically different from the originals…that don’t offer anything new. That certainly wasn’t the case when José Feliciano covered Light My Fire in 1968 (a year after the Doors’ original version was released). Truth be told, as much as I love Manzarek’s opening and what it evokes…as a total listening experience, I actually much prefer Feliciano’s version.

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