In Memoriam: Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here Cover

I was sorry to hear that founding Pink Floyd member and keyboardist Richard Wright has died at the age of 65 after losing a short struggle with cancer.

Wright performed with the legendary rock outfit from their very early beginnings and for almost their entire career, contributing to the group’s 1967 Syd Barrett-led debut The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and classic Floyd albums as Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.

That album features a song cycle dedicated to Pink Floyd’s original frontman, Syd Barrett, who’d flamed out years before, and while the image had no connection with the Human Torch its simple but stunning cover was one no Marvel Comics fan could fail to notice on its first release way back when. I certainly did.

The official web site issued the following brief announcement yesterday:

“The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness, that Richard died today .

“The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time.”

Wright, a self-taught keyboardist and pianist met fellow band members Roger Waters and Nick Mason while at architecture school and was a founder member of The Pink Floyd Sound in 1965, and the group’s previous incarnations, such as Sigma 6.

In the early days of Pink Floyd, Wright, along with Syd Barrett, was seen as the group’s dominant musical force. The London-born musician and son of a biochemist wrote and sang several songs of his own. He left the band after falling out with Roger Waters during recording of The Wall but officially rejoined when Waters himself left, contributing vocals and keyboards to the 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. In 1994, he co-wrote five songs on The Division Bell album, singing lead vocals on the track Wearing The Inside Out.

Writing on his website, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour has praised Wright for his “vitality, spark and humour”.

“In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick’s enormous input was frequently forgotten,” he notes. “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.”

Official Pink Floyd UK web site
David Gilmour’s official site
National Public Radio Tribute by Robert Hilton

Categories: Obituaries

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