We lose yet another great this year, Pink Floyd’s pioneering keyboardist, Rick Wright, who it has been announced today, has lost his a battle to cancer at the age of 65. Wright pioneered the use of synthesizers in rock music and is considered one of the greats, up there with Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson. I didn’t even realize until doing some research today, that Wright sang lead vocals on a few Floyd songs, including “Time”, “Astronomy Domine”, and “Matilda Mother”. Wright performed on every Pink Floyd tour in the band’s history. Oddly enough, I was just listening to The Wall all the way through yesterday, for the first time in probably like 15 years!
Addition: And Red David has just informed me that Wright passed away 33 years to the day, after the release of Wish You Were Here.
Here’s some more on him from Wikipedia…
Wright was educated at the Haberdashers’ Aske’s School and the Regent Street Polytechnic College of Architecture, where he met fellow band members Roger Waters and Nick Mason. He was a founding member of The Pink Floyd Sound (as they were then called) in 1965, and also participated in its previous incarnations, Sigma 6 and The (Screaming) Abdabs.
In the early days of Pink Floyd, Wright was seen as a dominant musical force in the group (though not as much of one as Syd Barrett, the band’s chief songwriter and front man at the time) and he wrote and sang several songs of his own during 1967–68. While not credited as a singer on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, he sung 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”. As the sound and the goals of the band evolved, Wright became less interested in songwriting and focused primarily on contributing his distinctive style to extended instrumental compositions such as “Interstellar Overdrive“, “A Saucerful of Secrets“, “Careful with That Axe, Eugene“, “One Of These Days” and to musical themes for film scores (More, Zabriskie Point and Obscured by Clouds). He also made essential contributions to Pink Floyd’s long, epic compositions such as “Atom Heart Mother“, “Echoes” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond“. His most commercially popular compositions are “The Great Gig in the Sky” and “Us and Them” from 1973‘s The Dark Side of the Moon. He also contributed significantly to other mid-period Floyd classics like “Breathe” and “Time”.
Wright recorded his first solo project, Wet Dream, and released it in September 1978 with little fanfare. However, the album is regarded with some acclaim among Pink Floyd fans. Battling both personal problems and an increasingly rocky relationship with Roger Waters, he was forced to resign from Pink Floyd during The Wall sessions 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. Ironically, Wright became the only member of Pink 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 première 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.
During 1984, Wright formed a new musical duo with Dave Harris (from the band Fashion) called Zee. They signed a record deal with Atlantic Records and released only one album, Identity, which was a commercial and critical flop. Wright rejoined Pink Floyd following Waters’ departure. Because of legal and contractual issues from his “hired gun” status during The Wall world tour, Wright’s photo was not included in the 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason and his name was listed in smaller letters than Mason and Gilmour. By the time of the Momentary Lapse world tour and the 1988 live album The Delicate Sound of Thunder, Wright was contractually a member of Pink Floyd once again. In 1994, he co-wrote five songs and sang lead vocals on one song (“Wearing the Inside Out“) for the next Pink Floyd album, The Division Bell. This recording provided material for the double live album and video release P*U*L*S*E in 1995. Wright, like Nick Mason, has performed on every Pink Floyd tour.
And here’s a great song from his solo album, Wet Dream, from 1978. Rest In Peace, Rick…
Listen to some great Wright tracks here.
I’ve got an offer that you can’t refuse right here! I found this over at Gorilla v Bear (indie people like animals) and it’s the music deal of the year so far. It’s The Walkmen‘s new album, You & Me, which is supposedly their best yet and one of the best albums of the year for a measley 5 bones. Not only is it only $5, but that $5 will go towards helping kids with cancer. Really, you almost can’t not do this, unless you’re a true grouch who doesn’t like music or kids. This from the press release:
“All donations go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in honor of Luca Vasallo, a friend to the band and a current patient who is seven months old and doing a great job fighting a very difficult disease,” said Peter Bauer of The Walkmen. “This is a very good organization that certainly deserves the attention.”
So, it would behoove you to head on over to Amie St. and make your donation, and receive a fine musical album at 320 kbps DRM-free mp3′s! Oh yeah, and it doesn’t officially drop until August 19th. I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m going there now to get mine.
Sample the song “In The New Year” from You & Me… [audio http://www.frannysilverman.com/NewmRadio/04-In_The_New_Year.mp3]