Monday, September 15, 2008

Shine On Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright—R.I.P.

FanBoyWonder would like to humbly add our voice to the world-wide chorus of those mourning the passing of musician and founding member of Pink Floyd Richard Wright.

Mr. Wright passed away today (Monday) in England following a brief battle with cancer at the age of 65.

We were stunned when we heard about Mr. Wright’s passing from a co-worker earlier today. We are sad of course at the passing of Mr. Wright and we offer our prayers and condolences to his family.

But beyond the death of one man is the realization that the Pink Floyd that we loved to hear growing up—both with Roger Waters and during the post-Waters, David Gilmour-led Floyd era—has died with him.

Even if, and the operative word is IF, the remaining three Floyd—Waters, Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason—should decide to play again together, it won’t be Pink Floyd.

Given that the Floyd has been around for more than 40 years, it was inevitable that members would get older and pass away but that it has happened now is an unpleasant reminder of our own mortality.

To be honest, FanBoyWonder had been holding out hope that the members of Pink Floyd would come together again—if not for a reunion of the four—at least the post-Waters Floyd would put out one last album.

Our hopes were buoyed by the Live 8 reunion of the Floyd Four in 2005. But their last reunion turned out to be their final reunion. At least we had that. Wish You Were Here Rick.

R.I.P. Richard Wright.

Below is Mr. Wright’s obit from the L.A. Times.


Richard Wright dies at 65; founding member of Pink Floyd

While he lacked the high profile of bandmates Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, the keyboardist nonetheless shaped the British psychedelic group's sound.
By Randy Lewis
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Richard Wright, the founding member of Pink Floyd whose piano and synthesizer work played a critical part in the pioneering British psychedelic rock band's ethereal sound, died Monday after a short battle with cancer, his spokesman said. He was 65.

Doug Wright, who is not a relative, said Wright died at his home in England and that his family did not wish to release any more information, the Associated Press reported.

Wright never achieved the high public profile of the group's three key figures -- founding singer-guitarist Syd Barrett and the often-feuding co-leaders, singer-bassist Roger Waters and singer-guitarist David Gilmour, who joined shortly before Barrett left in 1968.

But he wrote or co-wrote many of the band's songs, and frequently provided a crucial component of the Pink Floyd sound. On the group's landmark "Dark Side of the Moon" album, Wright was responsible for the thick electric piano chording on the 1973 hit "Money" as well as the swirling organ lines and classically inspired grand piano on "Us and Them," a song he wrote with Waters.

He also co-wrote “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” one of the group's signature songs from "Wish You Were Here," the second of five Floyd albums to reach No. 1. The nine-part epic song is a salute to Barrett, who, after leaving the group, retreated into mental illness, often attributed to his drug use. He died in 2006.

Wright had no explanation for the astonishing longevity of the "Dark Side" album -- it spent more time, 741 weeks, on the Billboard album chart than any other in history -- or the extraordinary following the band inspired. The 1979 album "The Wall" spent 15 weeks at No. 1 and has been certified for worldwide sales of 23 million copies by the Recording Industry Assn. of America, putting it third on the list of all-time best sellers, behind "The Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

"I know we've made some great songs and great music," Wright told Billboard last year, "but I can't tell you why we're so popular."

He quit the band in 1980 following their tour supporting the double album "The Wall" because of increasing tensions within the group. He rejoined the band a few years later, and, without Waters, the group put out "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" in 1987 and "The Division Bell" seven years later.

In recent years Waters has been playing "Dark Side of the Moon" in concert under his own name without any of the other original band members. Waters, Gilmour, Wright and drummer Nick Mason performed live together for the first time in 24 years at the 2005 Live 8 benefit concert in London.

Wright released two solo albums, "Wet Dreams" in 1978 and "Broken China" in 1996, but neither made Billboard's Top 200 albums chart.

In a 2006 interview with the Independent newspaper in London discussing the DVD release of Pink Floyd's 1994 concert tour, Wright talked about the group's celebrated concerts, which helped expand the boundaries of what rock was capable of in a live setting through elaborate lighting and staging effects.

"One of the things I always regret about being in Pink Floyd is that you can never go to see the show. I have no idea what it looks like. We know it's pretty powerful, but when you're on stage you have no clear idea of it."

He met Waters and Mason while they were architecture students in England. They started playing together in a band they called Sigma 6.

When they hooked up with Barrett and formed Pink Floyd in 1964, the rock explosion was reverberating through England and across the Atlantic as the British Invasion took hold stateside. At that time, Wright said his goal was a simple one.

"When we were with Syd," he told the Independent, "our ambition was probably to get a No. 1, to get on 'Top of the Pops,' " referring to the popular British pop music TV show. "That was his ambition, definitely. My only ambition was: this is fun, I hope we can make a living out of this -- and of course, I hope we're gonna be a huge success and sell more records than Elvis Presley and the Beatles!"


Blogger Isorski said...

I shared that same sentiment - that maybe they'd do ONE MORE THING. But even last week, Gilmour said it wasn't going to happen. Now it won't for sure. At least we all got Live8. I bet Waters, Gilmour and Mason are especially glad. Wright will be missed.

I posted a tribute at my blog too, at

9:16 PM, September 15, 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
Online Universities