Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pop Rocks #1: Rick Wright, R.I.P.

Rick Wright, the keyboardist whose effects-edged keyboard work, influenced by his early interest in jazz, were essential to what Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour called the band's "most recognized …sound" died on Monday. He passed away in London, at the age of 65, after a short battle with cancer.

Here's the New York Times piece on Wright.

Wright, a founding member of the band, wrote or co-wrote several key tracks, including the haunting "The Great Gig in the Sky" and "Us and Them" from the 1973 classic The Dark Side of the Moon. That album sold 40 million copies and remained on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart for 741 weeks.

By the time of The Wall, in 1979, Wright was on the outs with the band's resident genius/egomaniac, bassist Roger Waters, and was forced to resign his full membership in the band after that monumental double album. He rejoined the Waters-free Pink Floyd for new recordings in 1987 and 1994.

The 1970s lineup, with Waters, Wright, Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, reunited in 2005 to play four songs at Live 8 London.

Gilmour, on his web site, writes: "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."

So far, the official Pink Floyd site offers very little on Wright's passing.

Other obits:

BBC News




Rolling Stone



Los Angeles Times

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