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Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,672 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
No other band has ever sounded quite like the Doors, and no other frontman has ever transfixed an audience quite the way Jim Morrison did. Ray Manzarek, the band's co-founder and keyboard player, was there from the very start--and until the sad dissolution--of the Doors. In this heartfelt and colorfully detailed memoir, complete with 16 pages of photographs, he brings us a ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published 1998 by Century
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Place Holder

Manzarek was jealous as hell of Morrison, but at least he had the guts to recognise the myth that Morrison created around himself and not try to squash it (even if so many other people want to squash it).

Densmore was more of a straight shooter, but I think you need both books to find the truth (if not more than two).

But you have to care enough about the truth.
Rebecca McNutt
Definitely the best biography on The Doors that I've ever read! I had no idea about some of the things mentioned in this book.
Carol Storm
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, inspiring book by a down to earth guy who loved Jim Morrison a little too much!

Having been a lifelong Doors fan and having already read all the standard books, I assumed that this book was just going to be keyboard player Ray Manzarek's personal love letter to his friend Jim. I figured all it would be was a tribute to Jim's genius, and lots of feel-good stories that would put their relationship in a positive light. And I got that. But I got more. Much more.

The irony is, Ray is on eve
...more
Joy
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not just an account of the rise and fall of the Doors, LIGHT MY FIRE is especially an expression of the creative process, psychedelic style; back when drugs were used for opening doors instead of escaping from life.

This is how Ray Mazarek sees it. He had the ultimate example of the different uses of drugs, in the two personalities of Jim Morrison, poet and addict. He also had a group of four musical personalities who, combined, created more than any of them could have created alone. Ray's descri
...more
Jim Cherry
May 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartfelt Tribute to A Lost Friend

Perspective is everything. Light My Fire is Ray Manzarek’s perspective. Jim Morrison is an icon and will always be an icon. There are those who knew Morrison as a person and Manzarek is in a unique position to relate the story of The Doors, and to avoid having to answer the same question for the rest of your life “what was Jim like?”

Manzarek and Morrison were UCLA film students who started The Doors. Light My Fire takes us through Manzarek’s early years in Chic
...more
Ron
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While on a whirlwind road trip to D.C, we stopped at the Gettysburg outlet mall, and in the Book Warehouse I saw a book by one of my all-time favourites. Ray Manzarek! Right there on the shelves, cut price. I had never heard of this autobiography so naturally I grabbed it.

For the uninitiated, Manzarek was a product of his times; son of Polish immigrants in south-side Chicago, luckily learning the piano instead of the accordion, and those skills came into use once he went to UCLA and met other mu
...more
Rachel
Nov 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"And Jim is always with us. In the air, in the ether, in the electricity. In the sounds and rhythms of Door's music. In the images of his poetry. In the joys and anguish of his soul, which he so publicly bared to us. . . And in each new generation's discovery of The Doors and Jim's plea of: "Please, please, listen to me, children. You are the ones who will rule the world." In each new generation's quest for its own freedom, Jim is there. The Doors are there."
Christian Danielsen
Me & Jim (& John)

Ray Manzarek's "Light My Fire" is (of course) a very interesting read for all Doors fans. The book doesn't uncover much new information about it's main topic, Jim Morrison, but it certainly says a lot about Manzarek's psyche and how he wants to appear before the reader.

Everybody knows Manzarek as the cool, storytelling dude with the sixties slang, that talks like he's reading from a script, and it is also how this book is written - sort of, because the "beat generation s
...more
tony braswell
May 22, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
BS

I knew Jim, so I also knew Ray, John and Robby. This book is typical Ray Manzarek still lost on a trip trying to protect the name of a drunken self destructive burnt out genius, who also was his dearest friend. Which is admirable and touching, however in doing so once again Ray shows his own psychological flaws, by using words and references the typical Doors fan doesn't understand. Rays constant need to show the world his education and his intellectual superiority comes through in the writing
...more
Bert
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ray Manzarek is such a charming and enthusiastic narrator that he manages to convey the excitement of being young, literate and in a bitchin band in the middle of that Sixties cultural revolution. He clearly still adores Jim, and that love really comes through in an almost parental way, which makes sense all these years later, and most of this book concentrates on those early years, when they were forming their friendship and discovering art and film and music. Evocative and wonderfully new-agey ...more
Briánna
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Briánna by: friend
Interesting. Ray had nothing but love and respect for Jim, even when he was at his lowest.
Anthony Gonzalez
Raymond Daniel Manzarek picks you up and drops you off right in his living room as a child as he shares his introduction into music , classical , jazz and most importantly the blues. he then takes us to Venice Beach and UCLA where he meets Jim and forms the Legendary rock band The Doors. He shares things about Jim and their relationship that are honest and at time brutally honest and does it in a fashion only Manzarek can, as he has a natural gift for story telling and setting the scene and feel ...more
Prima Seadiva
I picked this up at a thrift store along with a copy of Densmore's Riders on the Storm. All paperbacks $1 day!
Of the two reads I enjoyed this book more. Manzarek has his issues but he's more positive about his experience. His view resonates more with my memories than Densmore did. reading them one after the other was interesting. The writing is ok but was sometimes repetitious to me. It's an interesting flashback to the 60's or a visit for those of you who may not have been there. Both books app
...more
Alisa
On the one hand, this book serves to demystify the legend of Jim Morrison. It was fascinating to read the accounts of The Doors' early days from someone who was there in the middle of it all. But Manzarek's frequent references to his charismatic lead singer in god-like terms make it sound like he was just as enamored of the Lizard King as the public was.
Niki
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had its pluses and minuses, but the chance to read Ray's memories in his own words (and they are very clearly his own words) is truly a gift in my opinion. Therefore, I enjoyed every second of this book and am sad that I've finished it.
Darren
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ray might be a bit biased in his perspective of Jim but it is his biography and i could really feel the love that Ray felt for Jim and particularly his awareness in his later years of what Jim might have been feeling or going through. The Jim Morrison that shines through this Biography is a very human and confused person which is not surprising considering the rapid raise to fame at an early age. Having read this book and watched the Live at the Hollywood bowl concert you can see the palpable re ...more
Leah Bonderman
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, rock-and-roll
Ray Manzarek was so much more than just a sideman to Jim Morrison. He was probably the most talented musician in The Doors and essentially their musical director. He was involved in all aspects of their songwriting. And his distinctive keyboard playing in Riders On The Storm and Touch Me elevated the songs from good to classic. His biography of the band was written some 25 years after the death of Morrison. It's a strong account of how he and his bandmates come together and rode a five-year tida ...more
Mercedes
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've heard a lot of things about this book so I thought I should read it myself. From the beginning of Mr. Ray Manzarek's Musical Introduction to Piano as a child and his teenage Blues, Jazz, and Rock N' Roll idols to the Last Concert he played with Jim Morrison in New Orleans, This book covers a lot of ground. Having just read Riders on the storm by John Densmore, This book opens doors to new outlooks on that time and place in history and Ray's version of Various rumors and events. He writes of ...more
Paul Gleason
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ray's book on his life in The Doors is a fun and quick read. He's as lighthearted and enthusiastic as John Densmore is serious and cerebral. The two memoirs stand as entertaining, revealing, and, as these things go, somewhat contradictory books.

But we're here to talk about Ray's book, which I found to be an entertaining grab bag of stories about The Doors and, most interestingly, Ray's tremendous admiration and, you could even say, worship of his friend, Doors' singer Jim Morrison.

The cool thing
...more
Jeff
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys biographies and auto-biographies.
Recommended to Jeff by: Discovered it on my own.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alexis Vélez
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Primero que nada tengo que dejar claro que soy fanático de The Doors, Jim en particular fué mi mayor influencia en mi corta experiencia de alrededor de 4 años en los escenarios del Rock n' Roll como vocalista de una banda y que lamentablemente Ray tenía que morir para yo buscar estas memorias. Jim Morrison sentó muchos precedentes en la historia de la música; además de ser un consumado poeta y artista, fue de los primeros que logró hipnotizar a sus seguidores con su presencia escénica. No queda ...more
Rob
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a good companion piece to the (also good) densmore book. uncle ray, however, focuses much more on his formative days, and those of the band.

anybody picking this one hoping for a documentary of "the rock star years" is going to be sorely disappointed. the sessions for "waiting for the sun" and "LA woman" are covered in probably a total of 5 pages or less.

if you're interested, though, in the milieu that created the doors - the heady days of a youth filled with greasy blues and r&b, the sophis
...more
Jean
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent account of the history and experiences of the Doors, written by fabulous keyboardist Ray Manzarek. He and Jim Morrison met at UCLA as film majors, and after graduating and dodging the draft to Vietnam, decided to make their band, The Doors. Jim Morrison was the classic Dionysus, I write about it on Hubpages.com, in the account under my own name, Jean Bakula, under Greek Myth, Dionysus. Ray Manzarek was the Apollo to Jim's Dionysus. Although Jim was so talented, he was angry that people ...more
Bookmaniac70
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bookmaniac70 by: Beebarf
As a great Doors fan, I enjoyed this book. Ray Manzarek really tried to remain honest and true to the spirit of the group and relate to us the story of its creating,success and crisis. He offers a really witty,intelligent and profound image of their work and present very convincingly their goals and the joy of creating music together. of course,it is also a book about Jim Morrison. Manzarek makes a very intriguing analysis of Jim`s psyche. In the same time,we learn about Morrison only what Doors ...more
Godzilla
I was expecting some self serving whitewash, how great a group we were story, and whilst there are elemement sof that, there is much more to the book.

Jim Morrison's death serves as bookends to this story. Ray Manzarek details his childhood and how he met Morrison and subequently formed The Doors.

Whilst there is a certain amount of placing Morrison on a pedestal, there are also insights and tales of his darker side, or "Jimbo" as Manzarek refers to him.

It's another example of being in the right p
...more
Gerry
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
I read this book in late 1999 not long after it was released. I can recall I had it read before Thanksgiving that year but cannot recall the exact day so I estimated it as best I could.

I really enjoyed this book when if first came out as I was living near Los Angeles at the time it sort of brought back of feeling of the L.A. scene at the Whiskey A-Go-Go before it became the icon it is today on the Strip. Even still the "Whiskey" characteristically has the look of the old days but the feel is som
...more
Katie Baker
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Doors fans
Recommended to Katie by: Lucy Wust
My best friend is a massive Doors fan and we decided to do a swap of our favourite books, mine being Percy Jackson and hers being this. Prior to reading I didn't know very much about the Doors at all, being 17 and not really into music, and this made it very hard to get into this book, which I feel was definitely written for die hard fans, but over time I found that I was more and more interested. This book has made me look at something the my best friend loves in a whole different way, I unders ...more
Michael Hamdan
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ray Manzarek's enthusiastic voice sings the praises of Jim Morrison in an entertaining and theatrical storytelling fashion. This book details the band's humble beginnings starting with the chance encounter with fellow film student Jim Morrison on the beach and the decision to start a band. The band enlists the help of guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore (acquaintances from a Maharishi meditation class) to provide the bottleneck whine and primal beat to Jim Morrison's mystical poetr ...more
Will Harrison
AH!! :D An astrologer AND a world-class musician...? One of my favorite books of all time & one I'll revisit time & again I'm sure...It's like this book was made for me :) After reading this book I sent a little gift to Mr. Manzarek right before he passed on hopefully he got it corporeally before he entered the spirit realm...In any case a truly magnificent book & one that got me to love the Doors all the more :) One of my top 5 favorite bands & one of my all-time favorite musici ...more
Cadgas
Apart from Manzarek's silly superstitious remarks that come up occasionally, such as "Hey yo! I was born on 18 November, 1994. Add the numbers up, 1+8+1+1+1+9+9+4 = 34, add its digits together 3+4 = 7. Hey this is my seventh life on Earth!" kind of things. And also apart from awkwardly tagging a lot of people by their IQ scores and all. It felt low of Manzarek. Jim apparently had a score of 149, so yay him by the way. But still, these are the only things out of those few negative things this boo ...more
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Ray Manzarek was an American musician, best known as one of the founders, and keyboardist for the rock group 'The Doors'.
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