Richard Wright (musician)

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Richard Wright, 2006

Richard William "Rick" Wright (born July 28, 1943 in Hatch End , London Borough of Harrow , † September 15, 2008 in Kensington , London ) was a British musician and songwriter . He became known as the keyboardist and singer in the rock band Pink Floyd , which he co-founded.


School and the musical beginnings

Richard Wright visited the Haberdashers 'Aske's Boys' in Elstree near London. There he developed a keen interest in ancient Greek architecture . He decided to study architecture and after graduating from school he enrolled at Regent Street Polytechnic in London. There he met his later bandmates Nick Mason and Roger Waters .

The time as a member of the Pink Floyd band

From 1964 the drummer Mason, Waters and Wright played together in several bands. Syd Barrett was added in 1965 , and it was called The Pink Floyd Sound from now on , later simply Pink Floyd . In the late 1960s, during the period that followed Barrett's sacking and David Gilmour 's entry , Rick Wright was the band's most distinguished songwriter alongside Waters. Pieces like Paint Box , It Would Be So Nice , Remember a Day , See-Saw , Sysyphus (Pts. 1–4) , Summer '68 and The Great Gig in the Sky were from him. As a co-writer, he also contributed significantly to pieces such as A Saucerful of Secrets , Careful with That Ax, Eugene , Us and Them and Shine On You Crazy Diamond . From the mid-1970s, he focused more on his role as the band's keyboard player.

The recordings for the album Animals went hand in hand in 1976 (also by his own admission) with the onset of writer's block, which in part resulted from his marital problems at the time. His solo debut album Wet Dream , released in September 1978 and hardly noticed , also seemed to be an indication that he was leaving the band. In 1979 he was then gradually pushed out of the band by Roger Waters during the recordings for the Pink Floyd album The Wall because of a lack of contributions and growing tensions within the band.

Leaving Pink Floyd

On which the recording of The Wall subsequent tour Wright was no longer a band member. In the legal sense, he was no longer a partner in the Pink Floyd company, but only as an employee or guest musician. On the 1983 Pink Floyd album The Final Cut , it was finally missing entirely. In 1984 he retired to the Greek island of Kefalonia and lived there for ten years.

David Gilmour and Nick Mason released the Pink Floyd album A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987 . There Wright could be heard again as a guest musician. On the following tour he was introduced again as a member of the band, although still officially only an employee of the band. From 1992 Wright was again a full member of the band. The Pink Floyd studio album The Division Bell , released in 1994, features Wright's strongest influences since the 1975 album Wish You Were Here .

From 1994

After the Pink Floyd tour in 1994, Wright worked on his second solo album Broken China . The album, written together with Anthony Moore (who had already co-authored lyrics on some of the pieces on A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell ) was finally released in 1996. In interviews at the time, he stated that he would like to go on tour and that he would also assume that that Pink Floyd soon went back to the studio. Neither was confirmed. On the tour of former band colleague Roger Waters in 2000, the two met again for the first time in almost 20 years. The meeting was arranged by keyboardist Jon Carin , who was in Waters' band and had previously played together with Gilmour, Wright and Mason on the two Pink Floyd tours without Waters (1987 and 1994). However, according to Wright, the meeting was very brief and impersonal.

In 2002 he appeared as a guest musician at the few concerts that his Pink Floyd colleague Gilmour took part in that year. a. the title Breakthrough from his solo album Broken China . A recording of it can be found on the DVD released in 2002 David Gilmour in Concert .

The last few years

In July 2005 Wright was back on stage with Roger Waters for the first and last time since 1981. The former members of Pink Floyd played in their classical line-up for the last time at the Live 8 concert in London .

In 2006 Wright was a permanent member of the band on David Gilmour's solo tour. A request from Roger Waters to appear as a guest at one of his concerts in Magny-Cours after the Gilmour tour was over , Wright declined, stating that he himself had recording obligations for his upcoming solo album.

On September 15, 2008, Rick Wright died, unexpectedly to the public, of cancer.

Musical style and influences

Rick Wright taught himself to play the piano. His playing style was mainly influenced by jazz . But Bach and Beethoven also played an important role for him. His compositional ideas were strongly influenced by unusual, colorful and complex changes in harmony, which showed influences from modern jazz and romanticism. This is shown by pieces like the last part of Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part 9), The Great Gig in the Sky, Us And Them, Burning Bridges and Summer '68 . Unlike David Gilmour, Rick Wright never believed he was an R&B fanatic.

Technical equipment

Rick Wright played with a Farfisa organ from 1965 , which was coupled with a Binson Echorec . He used it in 1971 in the film Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii , in Echoes and in the middle part of Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun , also in 2006 on the David Gilmour tour for his album On an Island in Echoes . Since 1968 he has also used a Hammond M 100 organ , and from 1973 a Hammond C-3 organ, which he still played in the 1990s.

It wasn't until 1972 that Pink Floyd started using the first synthesizers . The VCS-3 synthesizer from the English company EMS was used on the Pink Floyd albums Obscured by Clouds and The Dark Side of the Moon . A special form of the VCS 3 , the Synthi AKS , contained a sequencer, with which one can endlessly repeat stored tone sequences; an effect that can be heard on the track On the Run from the same album.

In 1974 Wright bought two mini Moog synthesizers, which did the solo parts on Shine On You Crazy Diamond and on the entire Animals LP. An ARP Solina String Ensemble , a string keyboard that can be heard on numerous recordings from the 1970s, is also used on both albums . From the ARP company, the band also probably used the ARP 2500 on Obscured by Clouds in 1972. In 1978, the Prophet 5 from Sequential Circuits and the Oberheim Four Voice were the first polyphonic synthesizers in the Pink Floyd sound.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Rick Wright switched from analog to digital synthesizer technology. With the devices from Kurzweil , he was able to imitate the sounds of the old keyboards with increasing perfection. In addition to handling, the advantage was that the new equipment was less prone to failure. In addition, digital devices have better tuning stability.


Chart positions
Explanation of the data
Broken China
  CH 39 11/03/1996 (1 week)
  UK 61 October 19, 1996 (1 week)

Wright released two solo albums as well as one album as part of the Zee project .

Web links

Commons : Richard Wright  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Chart sources: CH UK