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R.I.P. Richard Wright, Pink Floyd


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:( somewhere there's a great gig in the sky...

spot on.

It really is a black day in many ways when another one of the legends has fallen. :(

I've been listening to his great interview with Guy Pratt on Planet Rock - and although I never knew much about Rick , I still feel a great loss you just can't explain.

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Thanks for the music Rick.

Probabley the least well known of the Floyds but I'd argue one of the most important musicans of the 20th century. Not a virtuoso(mostly by choice I'd guess) but his work in the late 60's pretty much invented the idea of the atmospheric keyboard player while latter on he did alot of created the soundscapes of the classic Floyd albums. Pop in the live disk of Ummagumma(which is dominated by his work for me) and I think you can hear what a massive leap forward that kind of playing must have been in 68, just as amazing as what hendrix was doing with a guitar at the time IMHO. Without him Krautrock, Eno etc may never have taken the routes they did and modern music would be alot poorer for it.

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Without him Krautrock, Eno etc may never have taken the routes they did and modern music would be alot poorer for it.

Wow, I had no Pink Floyd influenced Krautrock...he'll be missed, he was a very good musician. I especially like the organs/keyboards on Dark Side of The Moon.

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Another poignant write-up from the Beeb:

Obituary: Pink Floyd's Richard Wright

By Ian Youngs

Music reporter, BBC News

As a keyboardist and songwriter, Richard Wright helped create the pioneering psychedelic sound that made Pink Floyd one of the world's greatest groups.

His atmospheric, jazzy organs and synthesisers were at times at the forefront of their songs, and at others provided a dreamy undercurrent upon which the rest of the band could drift.

Wright was studying architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London when he met fellow students Nick Mason and Roger Waters.

They formed the Architechtural Abdabs in 1965, before art student Syd Barrett joined and the group became Pink Floyd.

They made their names on London's artistic underground scene, "playing music which the record companies could not understand", as Wright later put it.

"We never had a desire to be famous, to be rock 'n' roll stars," he said.

The musical style of jazz greats like Miles Davis influenced his keyboard playing the most, he said.

Barrett was the leading creative force in the early days, but drug use soon led to his mental deterioration.

The rest of the band, though, did not partake in heavy drug use.

Wright took two acid trips - one before he was in the band, which was "quite enjoyable", and a more unpleasant experience that put him off for life.

"It's a mistake thinking that drugs supplied Pink Floyd with the inspiration," he said.

"The ones who took drugs were the ones who came to see the shows."

Redefined sound

After Barrett left, and with new guitarist Dave Gilmour on board, the band started to redefine themselves in the late 1960s and early '70s, moving away from eccentric pop to prog rock.

As well as providing backing vocals and keyboards, Wright wrote some of their songs.

They included the instrumental 13-minute Sysyphus on 1969's Ummagumma and Summer '68 from Meddle, their first number one album.

The 23-minute Echoes, from their next long player Meddle, centred around a single Wright piano note.

Record breaker

Their following release, 1973's Dark Side of the Moon, was their masterpiece.

Wright co-wrote much of the album, including Breathe, Time and Us and Them, but his most significant contribution was the piano-led The Great Gig in the Sky.

The album is one of the best-selling albums of all time and stayed in the US top 200 for 15 years.

The group became one of the biggest groups of the 1970s, and continued releasing albums, while Wright also branched out with a solo career.

But band relations were deteriorating, and Waters effectively sacked Wright after the 1979 album The Wall.

Waters had threatened to withhold the album if Wright refused to quit, the keyboardist later said.

"There was this big personality clash between me and Roger, and at the end of the day I realised that I couldn't work with this person anyway - so I left."

The other band members also fell out with Waters, with Gilmour and Mason starting work on a new Pink Floyd album without him in 1986.

Wright rejoined the splinter group as they continued to record and tour as Pink Floyd - after a lengthy legal battle with Waters.

They made two more Pink Floyd albums and played more than 100 shows on the Division Bell tour in 1994, the most lucrative tour in rock history at that time.

After that, the group fell dormant. Wright released another solo album and let off steam on his 65-foot yacht in the Virgin Islands.

Sailing was his "therapy and it releases all the pressures that one does get in this business", he said.

He joined his former bandmates, with the exception of Barrett, one last time at Live 8 in Hyde Park in 2005.

There has since been continual speculation that the group could reform to tour again.

But with Wright's passing, a hugely important chapter in the story of British music has closed.

Story from BBC NEWS:


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I was driving home from the doctor's this afternoon, happy as a clam because my cholesterol went down 40 points in 6 months, and then I heard the news about Rick. This is so sad. I really loved his gracefully passionate style of playing. As a tween, I became interested in playing piano from listening to Dark Side over and over and over. Tonight, I'll sit back and relax to Live at Pompeii, and remember Rick well.

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OMG! This is the first thread my eyes were drawn to when I logged on tonight...I thought I was seeing things! :o I had no idea Rick was ill. I'm very shocked and saddened. My thoughts are with his family.

RIP Richard

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I'm in shock!

I can't imagine Floyd or Gilmour solo without him.

We must has some cosmic connection because me and my husband were just watching "Remember That Night" with David Gilmour, Live At The Royal Albert Hall last night.

Wright gave an outstanding performance and my favorite was Echoes.

I enjoyed him at all the Pink Floyd concerts I attended and of course each and every record, tape and CD that he played on.

RIP Wright.

You brought so much joy to so many people through your music.

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I was really saddened to hear of his death, Rick Wright was an influence for me on keyboard. As corny as it sounds, I listened to Great Gig In The Sky as a tribute to him.

Thanks Rick.

Its not corny to be influenced by him !! As I said in an earlier thread, he had a wonderful sense of muscianship, playing what was right for the song :)

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Not corny at all (or if it is, so what) :) VH1 Classic re-ran a program about the Making of Dark Side of the Moon, which I also have somewhere on DVD, it's really good and there's a section about the making of Great Gig in the Sky which, for me, is his greatest masterpiece.

Dave Gilmour has a touching tribute to him on his website (www.davidgilmour.com) :

"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 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.

David Gilmour

Monday 15th September 2008"

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