Shocked to wake up this morning and see the news that Pink Floyd keyboardist/sometimes vocalist (and founding member) Richard Wright has passed away, aged 65. Wright contributed hugely to the atmospheric sound of the Floyd, and some of his compositions are timeless – perhaps most notably, ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ and ‘Us and Them’, both from Dark Side of the Moon. His keyboard work also provided a wonderful canvas for David Gilmour to paint wonderful brush strokes with his guitar – one of those matches made in heaven. Gilmour’s website has a statement:
No one can replace Richard Wright. He was my musical partner and my friend.
In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick’s enormous input was frequently forgotten.
He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound.
I have never played with anyone quite like him. The blend of his and my voices and our musical telepathy reached their first major flowering in 1971 on ‘Echoes’. In my view all the greatest PF moments are the ones where he is in full flow. After all, without ‘Us and Them’ and ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’, both of which he wrote, what would ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ have been? Without his quiet touch the Album ‘Wish You Were Here’ would not quite have worked.
In our middle years, for many reasons he lost his way for a while, but in the early Nineties, with ‘The Division Bell’, his vitality, spark and humourIn our middle years, for many reasons he lost his way for a while, but in the early Nineties, with ‘The Division Bell’, his vitality, spark and humour returned to him and then the audience reaction to his appearances on my tour in 2006 was hugely uplifting and it’s a mark of his modesty that those standing ovations came as a huge surprise to him, (though not to the rest of us).
Like Rick, I don’t find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously.
Think I’ll go listen to some of Richard Wright’s creative gifts right now. Thanks for the music Richard.