09/18/08 - R.I.P. Richard Wright

Tutelage Led By Vinny "Bond" Marini Thursday, September 18, 2008

Richard William Wright
(July 28, 1943 - September 15, 2008)

Some sad news in the music world came out yesterday. Richard Wright, a founding member of the rock group Pink Floyd, died Monday. He was 65.

Pink Floyd's spokesman, Doug Wright, who is not related to the artist, said Wright died after a battle with cancer at his home in Britain.
He says the band member's family did not want to give more details about his death.

Wright met Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and Nick Mason in college and joined their early band, Sigma 6. Along with the late Syd Barrett, the four formed Pink Floyd in 1965.

Wright wrote significant portions of the music for the albums Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, as well as for Floyd's final studio album The Division Bell.

Wright was educated at the Haberdashers' Aske's School and the Regent Street Polytechnic College of Architecture, where he met Mason and Waters.

Wright sang lead on Barrett-penned songs like "Astronomy Domine" and "Matilda Mother", as well as notable harmonies on "Scarecrow" and "Chapter 24". Examples of his early compositions include "Remember a Day", "Paintbox" and "It Would Be So Nice".

Wright recorded his first solo project, Wet Dream, and released it in September 1978 with little fanfare.

He was forced to resign from Pink Floyd during The Wall sessions in 1979, by Roger Waters, who threatened to pull the plug on the album's tapes if Wright did not leave the band. However, he was retained as a salaried session musician during the subsequent live concerts to promote that album in 1980 and 1981.

Fittingly, Wright became the only member of Floyd to profit from those hugely spectacular shows, since the net financial loss had to be borne by the three remaining "full-time" members. He was the only member of the band not to attend the 1982 premiere of the film version of The Wall. In 1983, Pink Floyd released the only album on which Wright does not appear with The Final Cut.

In 1996, Wright released his second solo album, Broken China, considered to be a more focused and artistically successful work than Wet Dream and it contained extensive use of computer-based recording and production techniques, assisted by Anthony Moore with whom he co-wrote the album's lyrics.

He married his first wife, Juliette Gale, in 1964. The two had two children and divorced in 1982. He married his second wife Franka in 1984. They divorced in 1994. Wright married his third wife Millie (to whom he dedicated his second solo album Broken China) in 1996. Their one child is named Ben. In 1996 Wright's daughter Gala married Guy Pratt, a session musician who has played bass for Pink Floyd since Roger Waters' exit.

His keyboard playing was an integral part of the incredible music produced by this band. He was never an attention seeker as were his band mates...he just played brilliantly.

David Gilmour stated: "In my view, all the greatest Pink Floyd moments are the ones where he is in full flow. No-one can replace Richard Wright - he was my musical partner and my friend. 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 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."

He will be missed by all Floyd fans...but his music lives on forever!

Floyd in 1968
(L to R) Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright