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R.I.P. Richard Wright of Pink Floyd

Posted by Sarah Rodman  September 16, 2008 11:44 AM

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Sad news. Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright passed away yesterday after a short battle with cancer according to the band's website. Wright was a founding member of the classic rock band. He was 65.

While Wright was often overshadowed in the spotlight by his more colorful and combative bandmates his playing was an integral part of the group's sound. If bassist Roger Waters' apoplexy and outrage were the head and David Gilmour's liquid guitar lyricism the heart than Wright supplied indispensable soul - and a sense of light and air- with his diverse parts.

Think about it, what would "Comfortably Numb" be without that sweet willowy keyboard or "The Great Gig in the Sky" without the mournful piano underpinning Claire Torry's celestial wails? And pretty much all of the dreamy atmospherics of every record - from the early psychedelic freak out organ stuff like "Interstellar Overdrive" to the gauzy "The Dark Side of Moon"- were shaped in part by Wright's steady hand.

Here's a clip of the group's final performance of "Wish You Were Here" from its hell-froze-over reunion at Live 8.

Hopefully, Wright has joined friend and bandmate Syd Barrett at that great gig in the sky.

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8 comments so far...
  1. Its a tragedy! One hell of a musician ,and a great loss for the band.His sounds will echo through time.Shine on Richard .Give my regards to Syd.....Wortho.Skeggy.

    Posted by mick wortho September 16, 08 01:33 PM
  1. He is still with us in the music that he wrote and played. The vessel is gone but his spirit of music will always be with us.

    Posted by Steve September 16, 08 03:03 PM
  1. RICHARD "wish you were here" I had the honor of meeting the band in chicago on the "MOMENTARY LAPSE OF REASON' tour and got all 3 to sign my wish you were here album.In the 5 minutes i spent with each band member ,I could not get over how down to earth and laid back they were.they took the time after a great show to make me feel relaxed around them. I am sure RICHARD and SYD are still chating and having a sip of tea.RICHARD will be missed by millions of "floyd " fans around the world,and one HUGE fan in chicago.god bless.

    Posted by CHICAGO MARK September 16, 08 07:23 PM
  1. Sarah, no offense to your comments, or to the memory of Mr. Wright, but..."Comfortably Numb?"

    The thing that makes THAT song a classic is one of David GIlmour's finest ever guitar solos. In fact, it's one of rock music's all time GREAT solos.

    Posted by Matt Talvi September 17, 08 12:11 PM
  1. Rickards death is a great loss to his family and all of us millions of Pink Floyd fans. Hopefully this will wake up the remaining members of the band to the fact that they aren't all going to live forever and that they need to put their differences aside and do a tour. Just like the Police, they don't need a new album, they just need to tour together. These musicians seem to forget that without us fans they wouldn't be able to do what they do for a living.

    Posted by Jim September 17, 08 03:16 PM
  1. Hey Matt,

    And no offense to your comment to my comment but I wasn't making an argument that Wright's contribution was more important somehow than David Gilmour's solo, which I agree is one of the all-time greats. Just that his contribution on that song, as well as others, was worth celebrating as well.

    Posted by Sarah Rodman September 17, 08 03:37 PM
  1. Hey Matt,

    And no offense to your comment to my comment but I wasn't making an argument that Wright's contribution was more important somehow than David Gilmour's solo, which I agree is one of the all-time greats. Just that his contribution on that song, as well as others, was worth celebrating as well.

    Posted by Sarah Rodman September 17, 08 03:39 PM
  1. I feel like such a personal loss....I truly admired his work, such depth, sincerity and emotion....as it's been said... what would DSOTM be without Great Gig and Us and Them....among his other great works....

    Posted by Michael L. September 22, 08 01:55 PM
 

About Sound Effects

The latest news, commentary, and reviews on music in Boston and beyond.

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Sarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.

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