Pink Floyd founder Richard Wright dies at 65


Pink Floyd keyboard player and founder member Richard Wright has died at the age of 65.


A Pink Floyd spokesman said Wright died at his UK home on Monday, September 15, 2008 after a short battle with cancer.


In a statement, David Gilmour said: “No one can replace Richard Wright. He was my musical partner and my friend. 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. After all, without ‘Us and Them’ and ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’, both of which he wrote, what would The Dark Side Of The Moon have been? Without his quiet touch the album Wish You Were Here would not quite have worked.


“Like Rick, I don’t find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously.”


Destined to become one of the pioneers of synthesizer-based rock, Richard ‘Rick’ Wright met future Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and Nick Mason at college in 1964 when they were studying architecture. He later joined their band Sigma 6 which, in 1965, became The Pink Floyd Sound.


In 1967, Wright appeared on the group’s first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, alongside lead guitarist Syd Barrett, bassist Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason.


Wright wrote and sang some of the band’s most influential songs – including ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ and ‘Us And Them’ from Pink Floyd’s legendary 1973 album The Dark Side Of The Moon, which has sold over 40 million copies worldwide and remained in the album chart for a record 14 years.


Although Wright performed as a vocalist on many of the band’s early songs, the self-taught keyboardist later took full advantage of the many instruments he played and concentrated on experimental compositions.


His interest in sonic experimentation and synthesizer-based rock came to the fore on Pink Floyd’s double LP Ummagumma in 1969. One of the albums was live, while the second LP featured solo compositions from each member of the group.


Wright took advantage of his half of a vinyl LP side to compose what he called “real music” – a move that paved the way for the innovative sounds on the band’s masterpiece albums The Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here.


After releasing a solo record in 1978, he quit Pink Floyd in 1981 following a bust-up with Roger Waters. He formed his own band, Zee, but later rejoined Pink Floyd – after Waters had left – in time for their 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. After that, he continued performing and recording with Nick Mason and singer and guitarist David Gilmour under the name Pink Floyd.


Wright was reunited with Waters onstage in July 2005 when the members of Pink Floyd set aside their differences to perform at the Live 8 charity concert in London.


Fellow founding member Syd Barrett died of pancreatic cancer in July 2006.


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