Founding member of Pink Floyd whose keyboards helped create a unique rock sound
Richard Wright, who died from cancer on 15 September, 2008, contributed ethereal and atmospheric keyboards to the melting pot of musical styles that was Pink Floyd.
He played with Roger Waters and Nick Mason in early incarnations of the group (when they performed under such ludicrous names as Sigma 6 and The Screaming Abdabs) and was instrumental in helping Syd Barrett realise his psychedelic vision on their classic debut
Though he did not write as many words as Barrett, Waters and (after 1968) Dave Gilmour, he composed much of the music as the band evolved into an epic, operatic outfit during the 1970s. His best known piece of writing was The Great Gig in the Sky, the voice instrumental that ended the first half of The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and he was responsible for several of the album’s recurring musical motifs.
After leaving Pink Floyd in 1981 he founded a band called Zee and recorded one album. In the 1980s Pink Floyd’s history was rewritten somewhat amid political and financial turmoil in the Pink Floyd camp and a feud with Waters saw his credit for the band’s success diminished – his name was written in smaller print on the credits and his photo removed from record sleeves.
Nevertheless, following Waters’ own departure, he played on A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and officially rejoined the group shortly afterwards. More recently he had been part of Dave Gilmour’s live band and played with his former bandmates at the Live 8 concert. He also recorded the solo albums Wet Dream (1978) and Broken China (1996).
Mr Wright, who was born in Harrow on 28 July, 1943, was a multi-instrumentalist who learnt to play trombone, saxophone, guitar and piano because of his childhood love of jazz. He then studied architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic where he met Roger Waters and Nick Mason and formed the group which would become Pink Floyd.
Dave Gilmour paid tribute to his "musical partner and friend" Richard Wright, saying he was "gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound".
He added: "Like Rick, I don’t find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously. I have never played with anyone quite like him. Without Us and Them and The Great Gig In The Sky, what would The Dark Side Of The Moon have been? Without his quiet touch the album Wish You Were Here (1975) would not quite have worked. In my view all the greatest Pink Floyd moments are the ones where he is in full flow." http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/tribute/wright/2902357