Timeline: 1970s

In June of 1972, less than a year after Jim Morrison dies in Paris, Jerry Hopkins decides to begin research for his next book, a biography of Jim Morrison. Ray agrees to talk to Jerry multiple times that year both on the phone and in person. Jerry would spend the next few years flying across the globe conducting interviews and gathering the research material for what would become 1980’s best selling biography, “No One Here Get’s Out Alive”.
In August of 1973, even though The Doors were still in the middle of a multi-record deal with Elektra, they decided that The Doors just weren’t The Doors anymore, and go their separate ways. They were in London auditioning new musicians, and Ray decided he no longer wanted to be a part of it. Ray is quoted as saying, “It just wasn’t the same anymore without Jim. It simply wasn’t the old Doors anymore. It was just time to put The Doors to bed.” Robby and John stayed in London and ended up recruiting musicians for their new band, “The Butts Band”. Ray returned to Los Angleles. Almost immediately, rumors started to flying about who Ray was jamming with and what his “next band” was going to be.
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As soon as The Doors decided to go their separate ways, Ray immediately went to work writing songs for his first solo project. He rehearsed his new songs for several months in the Doors Workshop; the same studio where, three years before, The Doors had recorded LA Woman. Once he had the songs down, he needed some musicians to create the album. With the help of Bruce Botnick, Ray found guitar player Larry Carlton and drummer Tony Williams. Ray then called in Jerry Scheff, who played bass on LA Woman to round out the players. After only three days of rehearsing at The Doors Workshop in Los Angeles, they decided they were ready to record. The entire album was completed over the next ten days. Once the album was completed, Ray signed a two record deal with Mercury Records.

Once the album was released in early 1974, Ray went out on the road on a six week tour to promote the album. Multiple radio stations including KCEW Dallas, WRAS New York, WSRT Chicago and WLIR Long Island recorded the concerts and broadcast them on FM radio. Only one of those recordings (WLIR) has been found. If you know of the existence of the other recordings, please contact us! The tour finale was two nights at the Whisky A Go Go. The tour proved to be so successful that a second tour was set up in the summer of 1974.

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In August of 1974, after Iggy Pop left his band “The Stooges”, he hired Danny Sugerman as his manager. Ray and Iggy started working together almost immediately and they discussed starting up a new band, with Iggy as the front man. Ray and Iggy rehearsed together exclusively for months and even played live together on multiple occasions. In the end, it wasn’t meant to be and Ray moved on to find session players to work on his second studio album.
For Ray’s second album on the Mercury label, he didn’t want to do a “concept album” like Scarab had been. The songs he wrote for this one were created just “for the sheer joy of writing songs and making music, with a little less heavy message”. Ray brought in a group of session players including guitarist Dick Wagner (Frost, Ursula Major, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed), bassist Nigel Harrison (Silverhead) and drummer Gary Mallaber (Steve Miller, Van Morrison). Ray also recruited many others for guest appearances including Joe Walsh, Michael Finnelly, Flo & Eddie, Mark Pines, Dr John’s backup singers, George Segal, Iggy Pop and Patty Smith. After some intense rehearsals and two months in Hollywood’s Sound Lab studios, the end result was the album, “The Whole Thing Started With Rock and Roll Now It’s Out of Control’. The title of the album was taken from a Jim Morrison poem.

When the album was released in January of 1975, Ray set out on a cross county tour.

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After completing his first two solo albums and touring with session musicians and part time players, Ray gets the itch to be in a real band again. According to Ray, he really missed being a part of group that was committed and dedicated to the music. He said that with session players you just don’t get that. One of the first people he asks to be a part of the new band is bassist Nigel Harrison, who had played with him on his last studio album. After many months of auditions, he rounds out his new band with guitarist Paul Warren, drummer Jimmy Hunter and singer Noah James. The bands tagline: Purveyors of the Endless Night.

The band would release their self-titled debut album in 1977 and tour extensively in support of the album. The band would begin work on their second album soon after, this time without Noah James. Due to issues with the record label, their second album, “Ray Manzarek’s Golden Days, Diamond Nights” would only be released in West Germany.

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With the help of engineer (and friend of Jim Morrison) John Haeny, who had hours of spoken poetry Jim had recorded in the studio, The Doors are able to put out a release of Jim’s poetry with a soundtrack of newly recorded music by the remaining Doors. In addition to the spoken word, the album would also contain a live version of “Roadhouse Blues” edited together from the original “Absolutely Live” tapes.

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In mid 1977, Ray starts work on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Coppala’s film, Apocalypse Now. Initially the idea was that Doors music would be used throughout the film. Although that ended up not being the case, the use of “The End” during the powerful opening sequence and also during the killing of Brando’s Colonel Kurtz ended up fueling the resurgence of The Doors that has lasted through today.

There was one other scene using a Doors tune that ended up on the cutting room floor. It was a scene titled “Monkey Sampan” which featured a group of villagers singing “Light My Fire”.


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