RIP Richard Wright

Pink Floyd is my favorite band, always has been. So it made me very sad to see this morning that Rick Wright died of cancer today.

This hits me more than Syd Barrett’s death. Syd was the creative force behind the Floyd’s earlier music, but I just don’t connect emotionally with it as I do with the classic ’70s lineup — the era that stretches from Ummagumma (1969) through The Final Cut (1983).

During the Floyd’s best years, Roger Waters and David Gilmour fought in an increasingly bitter manner for creative control over the band. It shows in the music, which is an interplay between Roger’s intense songwriting and Dave’s searing solos. In the center of it all was Rick, never pushing his will on the music. Instead, he provided a tranquil, harmonic, multilayered presence within those other dominant voices.

His choice of notes was sparse. This is a musician who fully appreciated and utilized the space between the notes, which is something few musicians are brave enough to embrace. His choice of sounds was always beautiful, haunting and — this is difficult to do with keyboards — timeless. He managed to somehow be both bright and dark, sad and euphoric, in the same moment. Even when his songwriting productivity in the band slowed down, he continued to provide the kind of depth and dimension the songs needed. His textures and soloing on “Dogs” and his electric piano intro on “Sheep” from the Animals album are some of his finest moments. And I can’t forget his melancholy vocal contributions, particularly when he harmonized with Dave’s leads. The Floyd would not be the Floyd without him.

This post isn’t meant to be a proper tribute. I’m just saying things off the top of my head. Truth is I want to stop writing and get back to listening to his music, because for whatever reason I feel this one personally.

Before I go, I want to offer anyone reading this a taste of Rick’s gorgeous and largely forgotten solo album, Wet Dream. It sold poorly, and didn’t meet with very kind reviews. This confounds me, because it’s a sensational album. Here are few of my favorite tunes. Enjoy…

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One Response to “RIP Richard Wright”

  1. girishmenon Says:

    R.I.P.

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