5 Songs by Various Artists Featuring The Doors’ Ray Manzarek—Including Weird Al and Skrillex

The DoorsRay Manzarek passed away 11 years ago, on May 20, 2013. Manzarek, whose signature keyboards were an indelible part of the influential Los Angeles band’s sound, died of bile-duct cancer. He was 74.

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The Doors released six hugely successful albums from 1967 to 1971. Unfortunately, the untimely death of lead singer Jim Morrison in July 1971 brought the band’s momentum to a halt. The Doors did release two more album as a trio, but called it quits in 1973.

[RELATED: The 15 Best Ray Manzarek Quotes: “The Doors Movie Is a Pack of Lies”]

After The Doors’ split, Manzarek recorded a number of solo and collaborative projects, and also formed the short-lived band Nite City. Manzarek and the two other surviving Doors members—guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore—all reunited on a few occasions, and in the early 2000s, Manzarek and Krieger teamed up in a group that basically was a Doors tribute act. The duo continued to tour together under various monikers until Manzarek’s death.

Meanwhile, Manzarek also lent his keyboard talents to recordings by an eclectic variety of artists between 1980 and his passing in 2013. In commemoration of his death, here are five interesting collaborations featuring Manzarek:

“Nausea” – X (1980)

Manzarek became an early fan of the L.A. punk group X, drawn to the band’s energy and to the poetic lyrics of frontwoman Exene Cervenka. Ray met the group at the Whiskey a Go Go, the famous L.A.-area club where The Doors frequently played, and he wound up producing X’s 1980 debut album, Los Angeles. Manzarek also played keyboards on four of the tracks.

Among the songs was “Nausea,” an edgy punk tune basically about being disillusioned with one’s life. Manzarek contributes his trademark organ to the track.

Los Angeles also featured a cover of The Doors’ “Soul Kitchen,” although Ray didn’t play on the track.

Manzarek went on to produce X’s next three albums too—Wild Gift (1981), Under the Big Black Sun (1982), and More Fun in the New World (1983).

“Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” – Echo & the Bunnymen (1987)

The Liverpool, U.K., New Wave band Echo & the Bunnymen often received comparisons to The Doors thanks to their dark, psychedelic-influenced sound and frontman Ian McCullough’s deep, crooning voice.

Manzarek played keyboards on the group’s 1987 tune “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo,” which appeared on Echo & the Bunnymen’s self-titled fifth studio album. The track was released as a single, but failed to make its mark on the charts.

In 1998, Manzarek produced Echo & the Bunnymen’s cover of The Doors’ “People Are Strange,” which appeared on the soundtrack to the campy vampire flick The Lost Boys.

“Craigslist” – “Weird Al” Yankovic (2011)

“Weird Al” Yankovic turned his comedic musical sites on The Doors with “Craigslist,” a song from his 2011 album Alpocalypse. The parody tune showcases Manzarek on keyboards, and features Yankovic doing his best Jim Morrison impression as he sings lyrics inspired by actual postings on the Craigslist classified-ad website.

Ray’s melodic riffs on the track were reminiscent of The Door’s “Soul Kitchen” and “When the Music’s Over.”

After Manzarek’s death, Weird Al posted a video of them working on the song in the studio on his YouTube channel. The post was accompanied by a note from Yankovic that read, “The … session was one of the absolute high points of my life—Ray was amazing.”

“Dance to the Music” – Sly Stone (2011)

In 2011, Sly &the Family Stone frontman Sly Stone release a solo album called I’m Back! Family & Friends. The record features remixes and new versions of some of his group’s classic tunes.

Manzarek plays keyboards on an updated rendition of the 1967 Sly &the Family Stone hit “Dance to the Music.” In an interview with The Morton Report around that time, Manzarek was asked how he felt about being asked to contribute to the track.

“I was very excited, of course,” he said. “I’m a big fan of Sly and the Family Stone.”

“Breakn’ a Sweat” – Skrillex and The Doors (2012)

In 2012, electronic-music producer and DJ Skrillex collaborated with Manzarek, Krieger, and Densmore on an alt-rock dance track titled “Breakn’ a Sweat.” The song was recorded for a documentary called Re:Generation that featured five acclaimed producers working with musicians from various genres to create brand-new songs.

Manzarek played keyboards on “Breakn’ a Sweat,” and also contributed some spoken-word phrases, including, “Come on baby, light my fire!” The track also includes an archival clip of Morrison being interviewed.

Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

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