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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pink Floyd Member Richard Wright Dies at age 65

I was listening to the Thom Yorke and Mark Linkous' (Sparklehorse) cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” last week and I was struck with how perfectly their voices melded with the melancholy longing of the song. An inspired cover it remains an all-time favourite of mine.

I was reminded of the song yesterday when I heard that Richard Wright, a founding member of Pink Floyd, died Monday after losing a battle to cancer. He was 65. 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.

Originally, the group's jazz-infused rock and legendary drug-laced multimedia "happenings" provided the template for the early UK psychedelic scene. The London-born musician wrote songs and played the keyboard. In the early days of the band, it was Wright, along with Barrett who was considered to be the group's dominant musical force. Their 1967 album, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," is considered a classic of the genre.

The band released a series of commercially and critically successful albums including 1973's "The Dark Side of the Moon," which has sold more than 40 million copies. Wright wrote "The Great Gig in the Sky" and "Us and Them" for that album, and worked on the group's epic compositions such as "Atom Heart Mother," "Echoes" and "Shine on You Crazy Diamond."

David Gilmour spoke fondly of his bandmate on his website yesterday:

"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 recognised Pink Floyd sound."
Wright’s death is truly a loss for the global music community. His influence felt across so many countries by musicians and fans alike. He will be missed.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Another one gone. They are leaving us quickly now.

Sean Wraight said...

It does seem that way doesn't it? This one seemed to really resonate with me largely because of the huge influence Pink Floyd were on my musical sensibilities.

A great loss indeed.