15 Years Ago: Pink Floyd Co-Founder Richard Wright Dies
The grief-stricken guitarist described Wright as "gentle, unassuming and private," adding: "His soulful voice and playing were vital, magical components of our most recognized Pink Floyd sound. Like Rick, I don't find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously. I have never played with anyone quite like him."
Wright been a founding member of Pink Floyd, and a key element in the legendary psych-rock outfit's musical DNA as a spacious, enveloping keyboardist and singer. But he ended up falling out of favor with '70s-era mastermind Roger Waters – and Wright's career was basically thrown off track for decades.
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He barely contributed on 1979's The Wall before being ousted prior to early-'80s sessions for The Final Cut. By the time a retooled Pink Floyd gathered for 1987's Momentary Lapse of Reason, /a> Wright was back in the band, but still in a reduced role.
The keyboardist didn't finally return to full membership in the now Gilmour-led Pink Floyd until The Division Bell in 1994. This rekindled relationship with Gilmour continued right up until Wright's death from cancer at age 65.
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Just one week later, Gilmour released his Floyd-filled Live in Gdansk project, which focused on the guitarist's most recent tour with Wright.
In many ways, that final collaboration stood as a tribute to Wright, showcasing key moments like 1967's "Astronomy Domine" (which he co-wrote with original Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett), 1971's "Echoes" and 1973's "Time" (both brilliant collaborative moments between the keyboardist and Gilmour), 1975's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" (with its diaphanous synth interludes) and 1994's "Wearing the Inside Out" (from The Division Bell).
Wright also co-wrote and/or sang lead on songs like "Interstellar Overdrive," "Us and Them," "One of These Days," "See-Saw," "The Great Gig in the Sky" and "Matilda Mother," among others.
"Without 'Us and Them' and 'The Great Gig In the Sky,' what would The Dark Side Of The Moon have been?" Gilmour mused. "Without his quiet touch, the album Wish You Were Here would not quite have worked. In my view, all the greatest [Pink Floyd] moments are the ones where he is in full flow."
Wright tried his hand at solo albums like 1978's Wet Dream and 1996's Broken China, but they never reached a wider audience. He was said to have been at work on a new project at the time of his death; those recordings didn't immediately surface.
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