It is not long that I was introduced to Pink Floyd but since then there hasn’t been a day when I have not played Pink Floyd on my laptop. Listening to David Gilmour’s team is a part of my daily routine now, and it left a patch of sadness in me when I read that Pink Floyd’s keyboardist and co-founder Richard Wright, age 65 , died on 15th September, 2008 from cancer.
Wright, a London native, met bassist Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason while at Regent Street School of Architecture, joining their band, which went under names such as the Meggadeaths and Sigma 6. The three musicians formed the Pink Floyd Show with Syd Barrett in 1965, evolving from a pop and R&B cover band into an improvisational, psychedelic outfit. Wright contributed to an easy Jazz piano style to the band, and much a part of the minimalistic style of the band’s arrangements as anyone.
Though not as prolific a songwriter as his bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour, he wrote significant parts of the music for classic albums such as Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, as well as for Pink Floyd’s final studio album The Division Bell. My personal favourites as Wright’s greatest compositions are ‘Great Gig in the Sky’ and ‘Us and Them’. As a band, their 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon remains as their masterpiece, which stayed in the US top 200 for 15 years.
But the band’s relationships deteriorated after the 1979 album, The Wall, and Waters had threatened to withhold the album if Wright refused to quit. After a lengthy legal battle with Waters, Wright joined Gilmour and Mason. The group recorded two Pink Floyd albums and played on more than 100 shows on a Division Bell Tour in 1994, making it the most lucrative tour in the rock history at that time.
Wright also worked on Gilmour’s solo projects, most recently playing on the 2006 album “On an Island” and the world tour and there were continuous speculations about group reforming to tour again but now with Wright’s passing I guess that remains a dream.
As a musician Richard would be missed but his songs will always ‘Echo’ in our ears and would remind us of his great work and contribution to the Rock music.
This video is one of my personal favourites from the band, and one of the greatest contirbutions by Wright- The Great Gig in the Sky.