Monday, September 15, 2008

Richard Wright: 1943-2008

"And I am not frightened of dying.
Any time will do; I don't mind.

Why should I be frightened of dying?
There's no reason for it—you've gotta go sometime."

--The Great Gig in the Sky

It is with great sadness we report that Richard "Rick" Wright, founding member and keyboardist of Pink Floyd, has passed away at 65. Wright, who helped pen such Floyd classics as, "The Great Gig in the Sky," "Echoes," "Time," and "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," died today after a short battle with an unspecified form of cancer.

Wright, a formally-trained pianist, was a main innovator of the psychedelic and progressive rock scenes of the 60's and 70's. His genius transcended the elements of free jazz, classical, and rock 'n' roll to conceive some of the most notable riffs and melodies in contemporary music history. Although infrequent, Wright's vocal contributions to the Floyd's recordings were integral; indeed, it is hard to imagine the lead on "Echoes" or the backing vocals on "Time" without Wright's both haunting and angelic tenor. But it was Wright's ability to create and compose that was magnificent. An underrated instrumentalist, Wright understood the nuances and intricacies that made memorable music -- music that is relevant to this very day. I'm still deeply moved each time I hear his and Clare Torry's collaboration on "The Great Gig in the Sky" -- a song which will have new meaning from this day on.

Certainly, the hope, albeit a distant one, of any Pink Floyd reunification has also passed with Wright's death. However, one can't rule out the possibility of a tribute concert (with Gilmour, Waters and Mason) to honor this legendary musician. I, for one, have high hopes.

"And no one sings me lullabies,
And no one makes me close my eyes
And so I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky."

-- Richard Wright


d.edlen said...

Maybe this is one reason I feel so melancholy today... wish I could find a good photo to use to paint him.


Randy said...

Gilmour & Waters: if you're reading this blog, please reunite soon. Get Rick Wakeman to play keyboards.