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Ray Manzarek: Three enduring examples of his artistry

Though Jim Morrison drew much of the attention (and nearly all of the eyeballs), Ray Manzarek of the Doors did as much as any of his bandmates to define the sound of the legendary L.A. group, which helped push 1960s rock to trippy new extremes.

As Pop & Hiss reported earlier, Manzarek died Monday in Germany at age 74.

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"Words cannot express," wrote Slash on Twitter. Added Benmont Tench of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers: "His playing showed me the path to, and the joy of, improvisation. Indescribably important."

Here are three of Manzarek's signature performances.

"Light My Fire"

Nearly 50 years after it introduced one of the Doors' earliest hits, Manzarek's opening organ lick remains instantly identifiable.

"Break on Through (to the Other Side)"

In addition to providing atmosphere and melodic detail, Manzarek served as the Doors' de facto bassist, anchoring tunes with jazzy lines like the one here.

"Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)"

Manzarek's inventive playing opened the Doors' music to dimensions untapped by most of the band's peers. Its version of this Brecht-Weill classic is a prime example.

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Twitter: @mikaelwood

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