NPR logo Pink Floyd's Richard Wright: 1943-2008

Pink Floyd's Richard Wright: 1943-2008

Pink Floyd fans have long argued over which band member was the most important. Some say it was Syd Barrett, the founding member who gave the group its name and guided the then-unknown band in maniacally imaginative directions. Others argue that it's Roger Waters, the bassist who took over as lead songwriter after Barrett left the band in 1968; Waters led Pink Floyd through its most successful period. Then there are the David Gilmour fans, who say that the lead guitarist was most responsible for Pink Floyd's widely influential and groundbreaking sound. But for me, the heart and soul of Pink Floyd was always keyboardist Richard Wright, who died today at age 65.

I first heard the music of Pink Floyd, thanks to an older brother, when I was in elementary school in the 1970s. The album was Dark Side of the Moon. All these years later, I can still vividly remember listening to the record on headphones, with my eyes popping at the mindblowing sound I heard. Dark Side showed me that music could be so much more than the standard three-chord pop dreck on the radio. It could be transporting.

Of all the incredible sounds on Dark Side of the Moon — and there are many — it was Richard Wright's simple and beautifully elegant piano and organ that struck me the most. One of the songs he wrote for that album was the hypnotic and poignant "Us and Them."

While Wright's contemporaries — keyboardists like Rick Wakeman of Yes or Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer — were focused more on synthesizers as a driving (and often brash) force in music, Wright chose a more restrained style. He loved what a simple organ or piano line could bring to a song. His tasteful mix of jazz and neoclassical forms proved to be the perfect complement to the blues- and folk-flavored psychedelic rock of his bandmates. It's not that Wright didn't love synthesizers; some of his best work was largely synth-based. (Check out Wish You Were Here for proof.) But Wright's voice was always one of calm and control. It's one of the reasons the band rarely allowed extended jams during live shows: The songs were composed with such precise melodies, they didn't really lend themselves to free-form improvisations. Wright had a lot to do with that.

Richard Wright inspired me to be a musician. My parents forced me to take piano lessons when I was 6 and finally allowed me to quit when I was 9 because I loathed it so much. Wright made me want to return to the keyboard. More than 30 years later, the music I play and love today is shaped greatly by his music and what he brought to Pink Floyd.

When Waters and Wright left Pink Floyd and the band more or less fell apart for good in the mid-'80s, Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason soldiered on with the largely forgettable 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. It was obvious to most longtime fans that Waters' lyrics were no longer steering the ship. But for me, the most glaring omission was Wright's piano and organ. When the regrouped Pink Floyd returned in 1994 with The Division Bell, Waters was still gone, but Wright had returned — and the band's new music was noticeably improved.

Like any Pink Floyd fan, I've long hoped the band would tour again. I'm not ashamed — okay, it's a little embarrassing — to say that I got misty-eyed when Waters, Gilmour, Mason and Wright reunited briefly in 2005 for a Live 8 performance. It sparked a lot of rumors and speculation that Pink Floyd would finally hit the road again. But now, with Wright's death, those hopes have come to an end.

Wright wrote my all-time favorite Pink Floyd song, one with a title suited to commemorate his passing. I'd like to think he's playing now in the "Great Gig in the Sky."



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That's one of my favorites too. The word precise describes it well. What can you tell us about the original vocalists?

Clare Torry is the singer on "Great Gig In The Sky." I remember hearing a lot of different stories about the song, including one that claimed the singer hitting those ridiculously high notes was actually a man. But it was Torry. I also believe she improvised the melody for the song over Wright's chord progression. -- rh

Sent by Cathy Haustein | 4:46 PM | 9-15-2008

"Us and Them" has been one of the most profound influences in my life. Wright was a true and brilliant artist and I will miss him dearly.

Sent by Paul Hathaway | 4:59 PM | 9-15-2008

This is a very sad day with Rick Wright suddenly gone! To me he has been hugely underrated for a very long time, especially when music journalists talk about Pink floyd in restrospect. For in particular, after the departure of Syd when things like "It would be so nice" arose, he seemed to be much of a driving force within the band. And what would "See Emily play" have been without his jangly pianos, mystical organs and background vocals as with "Wish you were here" where he seemed to take synthesizers to a totally new level. While songs like "Us and them" are more beautiful than words can ever tell.

Sent by Peter Lindahl | 5:10 PM | 9-15-2008

RIP Rick Wright one of the best 5 in the universe. Only 3 more players left, reuinion tour impossible. Thanks Roger! You f---ed up what a lot of people have been waiting for, you could of just done the freakin tour!

Sent by Jason | 5:16 PM | 9-15-2008

Like many people, I have great appreciation for the music that he gave to us. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was the only music that we felt right playing on our son's first ride in the car when he was born. It was the album that my first teenage boyfriend put on while we had those first mindblowing physical experiences. It will forever be etched upon my heart. Richard Wright will be missed by many more people than he knew.

Sent by Barrie Marker | 5:25 PM | 9-15-2008

End of all hopes!! Rest in peace... THANK YOU for the music dreams...
"Out of the way, its a busy day
I've got things on my mind.
For the want of the price of tea and a slice
The old man died."

Sent by George Tsiolis | 5:25 PM | 9-15-2008

I'm actually curious as to which kind of cancer he died from. You always hear that so-and-so died from cancer. Well which kind.

The family has said they don't wish to release any more details of his death. -- rh

Sent by Donald Pudas | 5:28 PM | 9-15-2008

After hearing the sad news today, I think of some of Rick's songs, lesser known beyond the die-hard Floyd fans: Summer '68 and See-Saw, among others. Then there's his "Broken China" solo album, without a doubt one of the better solo efforts by a Pink Floyd member (the song Breakthrough, in particular).

Sent by Ryan in Albuquerque, NM | 5:29 PM | 9-15-2008

I absoluely love 70s era Pink Floyd (that's pretty much all I listen to most of the time). Rick's death deeply saddens me. RIP Rick. You will be missed. Listening/watching to Live at Pompeii now - one of the best showcases of Rick's immense talent.

Robin: Sorry for being so anal, but you aren't entirely correct about band not doing free-form improvisations. From what I have heard and seen, before the Wall album came out, the band used to improvise a lot on stage. In fact before WYWH the band used to hone the songs in concerts before releasing as albums. Precisely timed animations and visuals in The Wall prevented such improvisations and then such things became a defining point of a PF show.

Jason: Roger no doubt f---ed up and caused totally wasted 20 years. But the recent reunion tour couldn't materialize as Gilmour wasn't too keen on it. Rick, Nick and Roger were all up for it. Wish it had happened.

Anyway, thanks Rick for the wonderful music. (the awesome middle part of Saucerful of Secrets is coming up - got to listen to it!)

Sent by Raymie Barrone | 5:44 PM | 9-15-2008

During the years of my youth Pink Floyd was my favorite. Their music has endured to this day and will (or should) be remembered the most of any group of the early 70's. They took music to a new level. Richard Wright made their journey to that level possible. I now sit here now listening to a vid of their Pulse concert where he still makes his music, his talent and his feeling of music known to others. He will be missed by many, those who knew him and those who loved his music. He could leave nothing more to the world than his music.

Sent by Tim B | 5:50 PM | 9-15-2008

Uhh, I think Roger is also credited with "Us and Them". Didn't Roger kick Wright out of the band for not producing any music yet receiving credit. I'm just saying.

Sent by AdmChesterMynutz | 5:51 PM | 9-15-2008

I am very saddened to hear about the passing of Richard Wright. Like all of the band members Richard brought very special talents and contributions to Pink Floyd. I was not aware that he wrote the Great Gig in the Sky. It has always been a very special song to me. He will be truely missed.

Sent by Andy Sandoval | 5:53 PM | 9-15-2008

Just saw him last year in person and a few days ago on Gdansk trailer... can't believe he's gone. He was the truly the thread that wove the Floyd tapestry. Will miss Rick forever.

Sent by Just an admirer | 5:54 PM | 9-15-2008

Common you raver u martyr .. u Unsung Hero
His Contribution to PINK floyd is immense.He was behind all their melancholic,soothing melodies.All though he is Eclipsed for now.HE will remain a Great GIG in the Sky

Sent by Guru Prasad | 5:58 PM | 9-15-2008

Pigs will never fly again ... RIP

Sent by richard peter | 5:59 PM | 9-15-2008

I've often been asked to name my 'favourite-ever bands and favourite musicians' in my lifetime of listening.

Little Feat get my award for excellence in all aspects of 'rock'; The Band also come a very close second. For pure and total 'melody' it's hard to beat the - dare I say? - Bee Gees. Then there are songwriters and incredible musicians like Joni and Gillian Welch. Then there are pure songwriters like Hank Williams; Townes VZ; John Prine; Guy Clark and others.

Then there are heavenly 'voices' like George Jones; James Taylor; John Hall; Lyle Lovett; Roy Orbison et al.

But my favourite all-time music cannot be included here as it has always been on a different level altogether. Floyd have constantly written and produced the finest musical work and performances over many, many decades that no-one else has even approached despite their many personal upheavals along the rocky way.

Floyd will always remain at the top of my list - light years above the other very talented musicians in this world.

God Bless Rick - it's a sad day for millions of us.

Sent by Waddy | 6:04 PM | 9-15-2008

his time is gone the song is over i thought that something more to sayyyy....

Sent by kian | 6:09 PM | 9-15-2008

With , without
its what the fighting all about

from Us and them

Sad but true , will humanity ever learn?

Sent by paul turner, San Ramon CA | 6:12 PM | 9-15-2008

as today greed and the world down turn your music and lyrics are today ecoed first saw you at bretton college england followed you at 17 across USA we will meet again Ernie G4LUE

Sent by Ernest Bailey | 6:12 PM | 9-15-2008

God bless you Rick Wright... and thank you.

Sent by dick | 6:15 PM | 9-15-2008

The Wright one has finally walked out the door. I'm so glad I had a chance to see him live during Gilmour's tour three years ago. It's a time and memory that will be always cherished.

Sent by Dennis Jay | 6:17 PM | 9-15-2008

Alas, wouldn't Rick's untimely death only spark a reunion for everyone, especially in his and Syd's memory. I would hope to think so. The other guy who played the keyboards/piano for Pink Floyd (Post-Roger Waters) was very good.

Sent by MistyLvsPinkFloyd | 6:18 PM | 9-15-2008

I have never been moved to write to one of these blogs before but can't express my feelings right now. Been following floyd since day one - still appreciate both DG and RW but will surely miss Rick. can't understand why the last part part of soycd was cut from some releases - rw at his best
All the best to his family

Sent by Ivor | 6:20 PM | 9-15-2008

Pink Floyd have always and always will be, a massive influence on my life.. It's so sad to hear that Rick has now left us... RIP Rick, my thoughts go to your family and friends..

Sent by Jay | 6:28 PM | 9-15-2008

Thanks for a nice eulogy, from someone who also got a bit misty eyed when they performed Wish You Were Here at Live 8. RIP Rick. Maybe they'll get together for a tribute concert, for both Rick & Syd.

Sent by Tom | 6:35 PM | 9-15-2008

"...the band rarely allowed extended jams during live shows: The songs were composed with such precise melodies, they didn't really lend themselves to free-form improvisations."

You could not be farther from the truth... dig deep into the bootlegs and find out why.
In the pre-"Wall" days, the band extended many of its songs well past their respective album's running times.
For example, on 1977's Animals tour, "Pigs: Three Different Ones", which capped out at about 13 minutes on the LP, was taken over the 20 minute mark by the time the tour reached North America. On that same tour "Money", which was played as an encore, was jammed out well past 12 minutes!
On earlier tours, when they were performing Dark Side of The Moon in its entirety, Wright's "Any Colour You Like" would meander in and out of album form with the help of the backing vocalists, nearly doubling the LP version's running time.
Lest we forget the band's pre-Dark Side material, classics like "Careful with that Axe, Eugene" and "Saucerful of Secrets" very much utilized on-stage improvisations and long instrumental jams, as their music in those days was more open for interpretation, rather than based on a rigorous set of ideas and themes.
Yes, the Gilmour-led Floyd tours of '87 through '94 did not have much in the way of long jams, but their earlier live work clearly shows just how loose they could be on stage.

Perhaps I should say in their later years. I'm beyond envious of anyone who saw the band in the earliest years. Bob Boilen is one of them. - rh

Sent by John | 6:35 PM | 9-15-2008

Like many,I too was shocked and very sad at Rick's passing,but I'm drawn back to watching David Gilmour's "Island" tour documentary,and the obvious love and happiness that is shown towards,and exuded by Rick.Here is a man,happy in himself,playing as well as ever and at peace with himself and the world.A very fitting tribute and epitaph indeed ! Rick,rest in peace and thanks for the memories of a lifetime.

Sent by Paul Hayward | 6:42 PM | 9-15-2008

Thanks for everything Rick RIP...we've lost another true giant...I'm just grateful I got to see Rick play with Dave on his last solo tour. 'Echoes' was phenom!!!! Shine on You Crazy Diamond...

Sent by Mal Brown | 6:55 PM | 9-15-2008

Haunting...that was Rick Wright's main contribution to the Floyd. Listen to Echoes after the electronic section ends and Gilmour gently solos. Buried down in the mix is Wright's magnificent organ line, the perfect counterpoint to Gilmore's calming lines. He made the Floyd soar...and thank goodness for vinyl...he and the band can still soar anytime we like. British pressings of Dark Side and Echoes are pure bliss!

Sent by Jp | 7:06 PM | 9-15-2008

Like so many others PF have been a constant source of reflection and inspiration in my life. My best mate Pete introduced me to Floyd via 'Dark Side' on his scratchy mono record player on it's release - unquestionably one of my 'life moments'. We have regularly got together to listen to the worlds best band ever since. Thanks Rick.

Sent by Andy (and Pete) | 7:08 PM | 9-15-2008

My first experience of Pink Floyd was hearing the Dark Side of the Moon, totally mind-bending a series of moments as I ever experienced where Music and the Muse were at issue. Those years still reverberate for me and Rick's passing doesn't diminish them for they were the time of our youth. See you, was fun!

Sent by Zeeknos74 | 7:29 PM | 9-15-2008

Following up on John's comments, yes they were well known for their earlier live improvs. Since he didn't mention it by name, I'd recommend a 1977 tour bootleg called "A Great Set", originally released as a 3 LP take-off of their double-LP "A Nice Pair". They may not have been having fun on tour but there's some outstanding work from Rick and the group, probably released on CD too, but with a different title and minus the great art work courtesy of Hipgnosis.

Sent by Tom | 7:41 PM | 9-15-2008

Very sad news... thank you Rick for the immense inspiration you have given us. Your music is dear to me like no other.

Sent by Alex | 7:47 PM | 9-15-2008

My rock and roll heaven concert occured in March, 1973, Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto: The lights went down and Richard pressed the high E key on the piano to begin Echoes - my favourite Pink Floyd song. And then I sat back and enjoyed the whole show - from Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, to The Great Gig in the Sky.
Oddly, I'm sending this link to my 18-year-old daughter, who on her own has become a Pink Floyd fan.
Thanks for the YouTube cuts.
And thanks Richard.

Thanks, Brian. I literally got goosebumps when I read this and imagined being able to hear the band do 'Echoes' live. - rh

Sent by Brian Christmas | 8:02 PM | 9-15-2008

My eyes well up every time when Us and Them starts. Now it will impact even deeper. Entranced from the beginning, I first saw them live in 1971. Recordings are wonderful, but the live experience goes to your soul. I bought an AMS Synthi AKS after they injected it into Dark side of the Moon. They inspired me to pursue live sound and that what I do to this day with Scorpio Sound Systems. I honestly don't know what direction I would have gone in were it not for what seeing them live did for me. They were truly creative live in so many ways.

Sent by Gary King | 8:04 PM | 9-15-2008

any luck he will be kicking back or having a jam with syd in that grate gig in the sky god bless you will never be forgotten that's for sure

Sent by gav | 8:10 PM | 9-15-2008

Although he was not one of the better known members of the band, he contributed immensely and, hopefully, those who did not know of him will now learn of and respect his work.

Sent by Carter | 8:13 PM | 9-15-2008

What can i say or even think as i whilt
in the shadows of these musical gods,words filled with sadness stifle my
breath,to me pink floyd are the best
band in the world,music takes you to
other worlds,and lyrics that are an equal to shakespeare,RIP RICHARD

Sent by willie anthony tynan | 8:22 PM | 9-15-2008

I'll always remember Pink Floyd's Meddle tour in NYC's Carnegie Hall- circa 1971. One of the highlights was Richard singing the harmonies in Echoes- it was beautiful!

Sent by still meddle | 8:47 PM | 9-15-2008

I had the great pleasure of meeting Rick Wright while Pink Floyd were rehearsing in Toronto Canada before the Division Bell tour.I have fond memories of talks we had over just everyday things like sports, sailing, (which he enjoyed very much)and some of his musical influences.He was very soft spoken and was very much the English gentleman.He always took time to ask how my day was going and what was going on in my little world.Imagine that! I will always remember those few weeks I spent in that Toronto Airport hanger, listening to the band practice.But more importantly I will always remember the kindness,respect and friendship that Richard Wright had shown me,and for that I will be forever greatful.We have not only lost a great musical talent but the world has lost a great human being as well.

Sent by Dan Ellis Toronto Canada | 9:05 PM | 9-15-2008

Some underated but worth hearing rick wright songs:

Burning Bridges: From obscured by clouds
Stay: From Obscured By Clouds
Summer 68: From Atom Heart Mother
It would Be So Nice: Single 1968
Breakthrough: From Broken China
Holiday: from Wet Dream

Sent by Paul b | 10:18 PM | 9-15-2008

Again, the enemy who rules as king- Death, along w/ time & unforeseen occurrence befalls our beloved. Richard Wright will be well missed by all of us who loved him. Fortunately we still have him in a small way through audiovisual equipment. 2006 was a very good year for Rick in that he was able to regain his joy even more so by working w/ the people he loved and who loved him very much. Just watch and listen to him w/ David Gilmore at the Royal Albert Hall concert "Remember that Night." That DVD is a must for anyone who loves Rick Wright. David & Richard were great artist & singers who could harmonize perfectly together. It's what gave PF their sound. Rick loved Syd as much as anyone. Listen to him sing "Arnold Layne," disc 2, "Remember that Night." By the time PF reached "Animals" & "The Wall," everything that Roger wanted to write and sing about truthfully,in contrary to this "old system of things," had
pretty much been said on "The Dark Side of the Moon" & "Wish You Were."
It was quite obvious that Roger was too full of himself, and needed to go solo. Rick, Dave and Nick had enough of it too, because the creative balance among members was gone. Still, David and Rick could not deny themselves of the creative joys of working together. They were, and always will be something very special together.

Sent by Steven S. Stone | 10:40 PM | 9-15-2008

Wow, just can't even imagine........Fotunate enough to see the division bell tour on floor at the siverdome. The worst possible place to see an act. Pink Floyd knows how to work any room and I have always remarked of 400 + shows I have been to in my life they were the best in all aspects. A true loss for us all.

Sent by Matthew cecora | 10:58 PM | 9-15-2008

I discovered Pink Floyd quite by accident while watching an hour-long PBS TV presentation of their music. I was an impressionable 13 year-old and I was instantly hooked by the strange, pulsating music with the spooky atmospherics. At that time, Pink Floyd were very experimental and very improvisational; I couldn't identify exactly why I liked their music--I just did. But I now know why: Rick Wright. While David Gilmour provided the spectacular guitar flourishes, Wright made the SOUND possible. In fact, it was he that controlled the quadraphonic sound using a joy-stick control during their live shows. And it was Wright that brought a sophistication to Floyd's music via modal jazz chord progressions to their live improvisions--and later recorded material.

For me, Pink Floyd was never the same after 1974--the year Rick Wright wrote the music for a happy little ditty entitled 'Raving And Drooling,' a song morphed into 'Sheep'in 1977. After that, Pink Floyd was little more than the Roger Waters show.

After Syd, Pink Floyd could never have existed were it not for Rick Wright. He shall be missed, but his contribution to my life shall always remain.

Sent by Pat Terhune | 10:58 PM | 9-15-2008

Pink Floyd has and will continue to have a hold on my consciousness that defies all explanation. Their music took a hold of me back in High School and has never let go. No matter how many other bands or different genres I listen to, I invariably find myself reaching out to the comforting sounds of a Pink Floyd tune. They band is like an extended group of best friends I could always count on: David, Roger, Nick and of course Rick Wright. So on hearing that Rick passed away today, it was like losing a dear friend, and the pang I feel in my heart is real....and so are the tears. Rock them up there in the Sky Rick!! I'll miss you buddy.

Sent by Robert Victoria | 11:56 PM | 9-15-2008

Rick was a true gentleman like Gilmour. Being in Pink Floyd was probably not an easy road with Syd's problems followed by Roger's power trips. They made wonderful music and I was hoping they might finally make peace after Live 8. I did not care as much if they reunited, I was just hoping they might personally reconcile. God bless Rick, we will miss you.

Sent by Franc | 12:35 AM | 9-16-2008

we will miss you richard
(from earth to heaven)
im sooo sad

Sent by hossein | 12:42 AM | 9-16-2008

I was privileged to see Rick with Pink Floyd in concert 6 times. I will always remember those wonderful concerts, and his fantastic keyboard playing. I am sad he is gone, but happy that he is over the pain of cancer.

Sent by Randy | 12:48 AM | 9-16-2008

I wish I could have said thanks for the music.

"The Great Gig In The Sky", indeed.

I wonder what kind of awesome jam Barrett and Wright are working on up there....

Sent by amandaGALAXY | 12:59 AM | 9-16-2008

Last year, I took my teenage daughter, who was into today's mainstream rubbish, to see Waters in concert. In the middle of the concert, she was standing and was so excited and the she shouted "Dad stand-up, how can you sit down, this is amazing". I regret that she can not see the magic of all four performing together. Thanks for the beautiful music, Rick, RIP

Sent by AliN | 1:21 AM | 9-16-2008

This is a huge loss for all Pink Floyd fans. Richard Wright will be missed by all. We love you and I will pray for Mr. Wright's family. Shorter of breath and one day closer to death. R.I.P. He will live in our hearts.

Sent by Woodstock | 3:48 AM | 9-16-2008

RIP Rick, and thank you.

Sent by MikeP | 5:36 AM | 9-16-2008

Pink Floyd was (is!) one of those rare bands whose talent and ability to speak to the soul spans the generations. My 50-something brother in law all the way down to my 12 year old son...we're all fans...Obviously, Rick was a big part of what made Floyd special...

Sent by Sizemorpheus | 8:35 AM | 9-16-2008

My favorite vision of Rick is of him sitting at the giant organ at Royal Albert Hall during the "On An Island" tour w/ Gilmour, and the beautiful, soulful music he created on that organ. One could tell that he was right at home. Let's also not forget "Matilda Mother", how he brought it to life so hauntingly. R.I.P. Rick, see you at the Great Gig in the Sky...

Sent by Cynthia | 9:44 AM | 9-16-2008

One of my most memorable experiences in the mid-seventies was to see Pink Floyd (In Madison Square Garden, NYC)performing songs from the Animals album, it was a terrific performance. I thank you Rick for those great keyboards sounds. Rest In Peace

Sent by Emilio C. Cruz | 10:56 AM | 9-16-2008

There is a great 2003 documentary film titled "Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon" which chronicles the making of the recording through contemporary interviews with the musicians at their instruments. It's an amazing insight into the incredible musicianship of these guys.

Sent by AnneJ | 11:02 AM | 9-16-2008

Very sad indeed. His vocals on Wearing The Inside Out were amazing - it is my favourite Floyd song of all time and means so mcuh to me.

Sent by Sara SJ | 11:38 AM | 9-16-2008

I can recall sitting in a friends bedroom in my early teens, a little high, yes, listening to Dark Side of the Moon and watching some crazy machine my buddy had created that pulsed electronic wave lines to every beat of the band. We understood even then that Pink Floyd was crafting some very serious music, and that we had to LISTEN and try to learn something. I am 46 and never got to see the whole band play live, but my brother and I did go see Roger play in Irvine a year or so ago, and got to hear Dark Side all the way from beginning to end. Not the complete real deal, I know, but for us it was pure heaven. What kind of band transcends generations such as this one? Pink Floyd was an integral link in the forming of my musical, social, and political thought processes. I am very saddened to hear of Richard's death, I hope the end (and his new beginning)was peaceful and free of pain.

Sent by Shawn Delaney | 12:31 PM | 9-16-2008

Up and down
and in the end
it's only 'round and 'round.
(Weeping at the computer, bye Rick).

Sent by Lori in Kalamazoo | 12:39 PM | 9-16-2008

I remember the first time that I saw Pink Floyd. It was at a 24 hr multi band concert at St Louis Mo in 1968. They came on the stage at 2am. Who are these guys? Now we know! They blew my mind then and just got better.

Sent by DG | 12:59 PM | 9-16-2008

This story is an appropriate tribute to the life of the brilliant artist we have come to know as Richard Wright. Richard had a much more significant impact on music than he'll ever know or would ever admit to, not only with his simple, yet unforgettable keyboard innovations and writings, but as a vocalist as well. Many who don't even know his name will miss him a great deal. Thanks for sharing, Robin, and may God Bless this wonderful man as he begins his new life in the "great gig." Also, to his loved ones: May God be with you at this difficult time -we thank you for allowing Richard to enter our hearts.

Sent by PatrickinIowa | 1:16 PM | 9-16-2008

Forget The Darkside of the Moon and The Wall. Before either there was beautiful Atom Heart Mother which I saw performed live in Frankfurt Germany in 1971. For this shows encore they played the blues subtle and slow. And before that there was UmmaGumma and terror-filled song "Careful With That Axe Eugene." That said, may Richard Wright rest in peace.

Sent by Pr. Bill Pierce | 2:00 PM | 9-16-2008

Rick Wright was always Pink Floyd secret weapon. It sadens me to se that some people are using this occasion to pick sides with one band member or another. Pink Floyd was amazing. All of the members brought something unique to the sound and its unfortunate to lose any of them. Ricks organs, synths, and piano were the proverbial glue that held Pink Floyd together. Requiscat in Pacem.

Sent by pmusick | 2:44 PM | 9-16-2008

Syd was Floyd.

Sent by Interstellar OD | 3:02 PM | 9-16-2008

My first Pink Floyd concert, Akron Civic Theatre, April 72. That set the bar for me which no act has been able to meet or exceed. I still want to know who came up with matching Dark Side of the Moon with the Wizard of Oz. Rest in Peace Mr. Wright. My thoughts are with your family.

Sent by Ted | 3:05 PM | 9-16-2008

Very sad news. I never had the good fortune to see Pink Floyd live in its heyday but I treasure all the albums. I saw Richard in David Gilmour's band when he last toured the US. To witness the two of them playing together on a stellar version of Echoes remains one of the true highlights of over 30 years' of concert-going. Rest in Peace, Richard.

Sent by Stephen Newbold | 3:14 PM | 9-16-2008

Before PF assumed a formula approach to their music, they were experimenting under the spell of, and then in response to the loss of, Barrett. And the finest example of Rick Wright's voice, piano, & songwriting was the early single, "Paint Box". That track stands the test of time as a perfect illustration of the late 60s rock renaissance.

Sent by Stuart Troutman | 3:14 PM | 9-16-2008

Richard Wright was the key element in PF, without him the sound that haunted my ears and my mind wouldn't have existed. If the last Floyd's Studio Albums didn't impress you, I recomend the RW's solo works: "Wet Dream" and "Broken China", you will notice that sound that will haunt your ears and mind and then you'll agree with me. Rest In Peace my friend, we'll miss you... Goodbye Blue Sky... goodbye

Sent by Javier Ruiz | 3:21 PM | 9-16-2008

It is well and good to pay respects and props to yet another great and softspoken musician gone before his time. A musicians musician is not a cliche' in Mr. Wrights case. Let us now pay respects to the living by striving to find cures for deseases like cancer which in all sadness have short-changed (money-its a hit) us and them- yet again.

Sent by Rock and roll tom | 4:29 PM | 9-16-2008

I met Rick Wright while working at Whole Foods in Atlanta in 1999. I heard a quiet voice behind me say "excuse me". I turned around and he was holding a Cliff Bar package and asked "could you tell me where I might find these?" I showed him and told him that I had see Pink Floyd on The WAll tour. He stayed and we talked for 10 minutes even thought he had his kid in the cart. He was such a gentleman and reaffirmed why he was my favorite member of PF. RIP

Sent by Joe Yancey | 6:39 PM | 9-16-2008

Thank you for a wonderful article on a great musician and person. I'm 55 and I've seen Pink Floyd 3 times, David twice, and Roger once. I'm so glad that I got to see Richard one more time, at the Kodak Theatre for the "On an Island" tour. RIP See you on the dark side of the moon

Sent by Grady | 6:56 PM | 9-16-2008


Sent by GASTON MONTREAL | 7:26 PM | 9-16-2008

hello how are you?
we are so sad to another passing of an international rock and roll icon
our thoughts and prayers to his family,friends and musical colleages..
love to the family.

Sent by jeff h | 8:13 PM | 9-16-2008

I grew up with Pink Floyd and there are so many songs written by Richard Wright that orchestrated the fabric of my teen years. I am remembering a gorgeous one now off of the Relics LP - Remember a Day. I'll always remember you Richard.

Sent by KK | 10:07 PM | 9-16-2008

The opening sequence of Astronomy Domine on Ummagumma. The last chords on Wish You Were Here. The Egyptian scales on Set the Controls. The harmonies with Gilmour on Echoes. Wright, to me was the best part of Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd was all about texture, and he was the one who provided it.

Sent by Mark Ellsworth | 11:53 PM | 9-16-2008

He will be miss, like all the other great arties. Pink Floyd is the best.

Sent by charles king | 8:43 AM | 9-17-2008

Do you happen to know if those clips are from the second show at the Pontiac Silverdome on the Division Bell tour? That was the first time they played Dark Side in its entirety since the mid-Seventies. I was fourteen years old and in about the fourteenth row, and I have never had a more transcendent experience at any concert I've attended. (And I wasn't even stoned. None of that until college.)

Sent by Joseph Waldman | 10:42 AM | 9-17-2008

How about talking about music of THIS century?
We've had plenty of time to rehash the music of the last 50 years.

Sent by Tom Hendricks | 11:01 AM | 9-17-2008

hi there..
the best "tribute" to Rick's work I know is by the electronica group Banco de Gaia. The song is called "Celestine" and it's on the album "Big Men Cry."

It's an extended Wright pastiche based on parts of "Atom Heart Mother" and, as extra topping, features a saxophone solo from Dick Perry...


Sent by rusty | 11:06 AM | 9-17-2008

Dark Side of the for song...flat out the best album of all time. My brother left his copy behind when he went off to got me into music, and its the only album that I have repeatedly purchased (cassette, cd...dvd) and listen to regularly to this day. Richard Wright was such an irreplaceable, fundamental part of Floyd's unique sound. His music was trancendent. He leaves a great I will continue to enjoy the rest of my life. RIP...

Sent by Nick Newton | 11:18 AM | 9-17-2008


Sent by kevinremme | 11:29 AM | 9-17-2008

Yeah I'm sad about this also. Thankfully I got to see Pink Floyd numerous times in the 70's and again for the Pulse tour in 1995 at RFK stadium--which was the best concert I ever saw, and I've seen many. Wright's organ and piano music are mystically calming and beautiful and have always formed an oasis, a counterpoint to the ominous Floyd machine sound. He, and Pink Floyd, are greatly missed.

Sent by Scott Jay Regner | 11:37 AM | 9-17-2008

Rest In Peace, Richard. Thank God for CD's and DVD's. I plan to watch "The Pulse" again tonight. Pink Floyd is the best!

Sent by Merritt Tilley | 11:45 AM | 9-17-2008

'Any Colour You Like' is my favorite of Wright's keyboard work. The MiniMoog melodic textures are hypnotizing.

RIP Rick Wright

Sent by David | 12:05 PM | 9-17-2008

Wright personified all that was "RIGHT" about Pink Floyd. His talent, humility, and presence will certainly be missed.

Sent by Ron | 12:45 PM | 9-17-2008

What news! Being an avid fan and hopeful member of the "Reunion Tour" club, this is awful news. I appreciate Pink Floyd for what they were and stick to my opinion that each member had their very important part in the band. With one of the great members gone, the reunion tour is that much more fleeting. He will be missed, but not forgotten.

Sent by David | 1:09 PM | 9-17-2008

I have been a Pink Floyd Fan for many years, and truly believe Rick Wrights influence on their Music was key to their success. RIP Rick and long live the music of Pink Floyd.

Sent by Rob | 2:25 PM | 9-17-2008

The aural impressionistic painting that was Pink Floyd's music was a subtle tsunami of colour.

Sent by Tim Driscoll | 9:03 PM | 9-17-2008

Hey Robin Hilton,

You dipshit. Richard Wright was a apart of Momentary lapse of Reason. He recorded, co-wrote, and toured with the band. He could not be considered officially part of Pink Floyd because of a pending lawsuit.

You are right, Wright did come back on board during the recording sessions, but was not officially part of the band. And he did tour with the band (I saw them on that tour and was thrilled to see him). But from everything I've read, most of the keyboard parts on the album were played by session keyboardist Jon Carin, Gilmour or producer Bob Ezrin, (though Wright did appear on some), and to the best of my knowledge, he did not write or co-write any of the songs. His name wasn't even added to the album credits until later pressings (he's nowhere on my copy). If anyone out there is certain otherwise, let us know. - rh

Sent by Floyd | 10:31 PM | 9-17-2008

Thanks for the thoughtful comments. As a bass and keyboards player in my teens and early 20s, Floyd's music was very influential to me as well. I was very enamoured of Wright's keyboard work, and I referred to it as "the sound", meaning I thought it represented the ultimate of what art rock could and should be. However, along with Emerson and Wakeman you really need to include Tony Banks of Genesis, another stupendous art rock band of the era. I can only hope that Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett will tour with Genesis once again before it is too late for them as well. They're still in their 50's.

Sent by Steven Kaganove | 11:21 PM | 9-17-2008

how, we will miss you! i can't imagine

Sent by colin | 12:05 AM | 9-18-2008

Robin I enjoyed your comments except for one part.........It's one of the reasons the band rarely allowed extended jams during live shows: The songs were composed with such precise melodies, they didn't really lend themselves to free-form improvisations. Wright had a lot to do with that.

All you have to do is listen to all the bootlegs available online, especially from the era 1968-1975 to understand that the floyd sound was based on long improv sessions of their songs. This was a trademark of early floyd shows and something which was lacking in later concerts. Rich Wright was truly an amazing player and as Waters has said was the bedrock of the early Pink Floyd Sound. My favorite examples are on the album "More". There is a lot of Wright on this particular album. So when you have 50 minutes some day, sit back and listen to this. Your appreciation for Wright will go though the roof!

Thanks for this, someone else noted as much, too. I saw the band a couple of times and have heard some bootlegs, but it was all from much later. I wish I could have seen some of those early shows. -- rh

Sent by Mick | 10:24 AM | 9-18-2008

One of the wonderful things to me about Floyd is the legacy of change over the long life of the band. Different eras were dominated by different people, and yet there was a throughline of creativity that has inspired in so many ways. We all are different, and over the life of the band one can pick one's favorite era, and one's favorite band leader. Clearly many people love Water's work the best, and others--like the poster above--love Syd's. For me the heart of Floyd was the early 70's sound, the time when there was some balance to the collaboration, and the work was (at least for me) a balance between the beauty of sound--and of life--and the harsh edges of the world we live in. Wright was so much a part of that balance, with keyboard work that could take you from one side to the other, from serene to sinister. And in an unselfish way; you paid attention to the words or the voice or the guitar solos but were carried along by the keyboards. Sometimes it was so poetic; he said things with his sounds that you could never quite put into words. Gilmour and Wright would blend their voices into a sweet harmony.

I'm so glad that Gilmour and Wright (and Mason) stepped past Waters to create more music; appreciate that Gilmour brought Wright back into the spotlight for their last tour together. So sorry he's gone but so grateful for the music that he brought into my life.

Sent by Kel | 8:13 PM | 9-18-2008

Jesus Christ... Why can't people like Rick live forever? Rest in Peace Rick, you will be always in our thoughts forever, as well Syd. Long live Pink Floyd.

Sent by Jay | 7:18 AM | 9-19-2008

The documentary that AnneJ refers to is part of the Classic Album series and the making of Dark Side is one of the best in the series.

If you're interested in the essential contributions of Rick WRight, then find this doc.

His knack for unusual, compelling and beautiful chord progressions (see Us & Them) had a lot to do with Floyd's greatest material. I feel the band lost a lot when the creative balance was tilted to Roger Waters exclusively.

Sent by Ed | 5:16 PM | 9-19-2008

Richard is playing with Syd again, in a Great Gig In The Sky.

Sent by Steve | 12:31 AM | 9-20-2008

Richard Wright's keyboard work helped make Pink Floyd one of rock's greatest bands. He and Syd Barrett are together again in rock and roll heaven, jamming with fellow Brits John Lennon, George Harrison, John Entwistle and Keith Moon,
playing Great Gigue In The Sky.
Mr. Wright, we'll miss you.

Sent by Darien Brooks | 9:17 AM | 9-20-2008

I love you lots Rick! Have fun in the Great Gig in the sky! Ur amazing!
R.I.P Rick and shine on! xxx :(

Sent by Liz Marrington | 12:49 PM | 9-20-2008

I missed the part where Richard Wright died in my last comment.
RIP. And he certainly had a successful career as a talented musician.

Sent by Tom Hendricks | 1:26 PM | 9-20-2008

Now I dont have words and forms
what I can say goodbye to my fauvorite melancolic and genuis play piano and teclades by my best group, melodies like echoes, forever walk to my side how like the breeze or hot like the elemntal sound
or phsicodelic song, so long richard
now I cant say anymore, by my friend till meet again when the sun willbe eclipse by the moon.

Sent by Juan Manuel Rodriguez from Mexico | 11:18 PM | 9-20-2008

The Floyd was and is the greatest. We will miss Richard. Thanks for all the great work and memories.

Sent by John Poynor | 9:20 AM | 9-22-2008

Ian Hunter said it best..."Old Records Never Die..."
I'll always remember Richard Wright as a great gentleman-artist.
Our sincerest sympathies to his spouse, family and friends.

Cheerio Rick!

Sent by James Thorn | 3:52 PM | 9-22-2008

I bet Rick would be so touched by all the love memories the fans have expressed. I have been a fan since "Dark Side Of The Moon" when I was I was elevan. he was always my favorite Floyd member. Quiet and gentle, his music speaking for him. Rest in peace Rick. I'm sure if you listen closely on a quiet night you can hear him playing keyboards in that "Great Gig In The Sky."

Sent by Judith Taylor | 8:23 PM | 9-22-2008

I grew up listening to PINk floyd and I always had thought of them as Bethovens, Motzarts of the 20th century, I think their songs will be heard 100 years from now as we listen to masterpeices of Past, so you can guess what I think of Rick's place in history of Music. RIP RICK

Sent by Shawn Saeedi | 5:57 AM | 9-24-2008

I always loved Richard Wright and I began to be a fan of him and other members of Pink Floyd when I was only 10!!I'm very sad for the death of Rick (my favourite keyboardist/pianist with Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson and Tony Banks).He was my favorite member of Pink Floyd. When I bought the first album of Pink Floyd in the year 1969, I told "Pink Floyd are and will be surely the best progressive and psychedelic rock band of all time" and I was right!!!
I always liked too much ten wonderful song composed by Rick Wright:The Great Gig In The Sky, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Summer68, Us and them, Remember a day, See Saw, Anycolor you like, Wearing the inside out" (with Rick wonderful lead vocals), Marooned (with Gilmour) and Cluster One (with Gilmour).When Rick played "One of these days" and " A saucerful of secrets" I remained enchanted to see his hands and Rick was always quiet, gentle, amazing and a great person and he was a great talent of keyboards and piano. Now i like to imagine Rick plays with Syd again in Paradise. I recomend the Richard Wright's solo works "Wet dream" and "Broken China", they are two great albums. He really was a great talented musician and Pink Floyd were, are and will be the greatest!!!Thank u Rick for all. Rest In Peace, my friend. I'll always remember you for the rest of my life, because with your music you are a part of me!! God bless you!!We'll miss you!!

Sent by Giovanni Quarti from Italy | 8:41 AM | 9-26-2008

I was 16 and had just finished my exams. Looking for somewhere to kill some time I walked to the local cinema, an old Victorian music hall, where a Wednesday afternoon matinee of Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii was running. I sat in my seat, dead centre of the stalls. I looked around me and the cinema was empty, not a soul shared the wonderful experience of this unique moment. The magic of Floyd performing in an empty gladiatorial arena as I watched in an empty cinema. It was the turning point in my appreciation of real music and for the contributions of messrs Barrett, Waters, Gilmour and of course Richard Wright I am eternally thankful.


Sent by Tarquin | 7:50 PM | 9-26-2008

It has always been the "Animals" album for with me with regard to Floyd. When I was reading Robyn's great trubute piece the opening part of "Sheep" was playing in my head, but the real Rick Wright moment of Zen(at least for me) is Gilmour's mesmerizing Guitar solo in the middle of "Dogs"...I say Gilmour's solo but give it a careful listen and imagine it without the keybords framing the entire thing. A true master. If anyone close to Rick ever reads this, please know that it's more than just sound to many of us.

Sent by Den | 8:44 PM | 9-27-2008

Ive seen every Pink Floyd concert from dark side of the moon to mission bell here in colorado except the wall. i even learned where they got their name from. i'm a musician for 55 years & when i heard them the 1st time i really beleived in my heart they came from another solar system. they are and always will be my favorite.
and now i'm going to my second australian floyd cover show. pink floyd will live on for eternity.
So greatful, marty spritzer

Sent by Marty Spritzer | 11:26 AM | 10-1-2008

I saw Pink Floyd in Tampa Stadium during the Animals tour in 1977. It was the BEST concert I ever saw. They were simply phenomenal and no other band even comes close to what it is they do. Rick was just fantastic. Dark Side of the moon is still playable and doesnt really sound dated after 35 years, what else can I say. Rest in peace Rick

Sent by Carl in Florida | 11:29 AM | 10-4-2008

man, richard thanks for giving us such great music youll live in ur hearts like most heros do R.I.P RICHARD WRIGHT

Sent by lily sent 10/5/08 | 7:07 PM | 10-5-2008