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Pink Floyd Keyboardist Rick Wright Dies, Aged 65

Published: Tue September 16, 2008  News Feed

Richard Wright, one of the founder members of Pink Floyd, died yesterday (Monday 15th Sept.) after battling with cancer.

Wright, besides playing the keyboards, also wrote some songs for the band and even sang some of their material, early in the Pink Floyd career, including "Paintbox" and "Remember A Day". Though those songs were overshadowed by Syd Barretts' genial early work, they still represent that early, psychedelic pop side of Pink Floyd very well, and there's much to be said for Rick Wright's knack for writing such breezy, gentle tunes as these - both essential staples in any collection of early, non-album Pink Floyd tracks:

Pink Floyd performing Wright's tune "Remember A Day" on French TV

Early Pink Floyd promo video, Rick Wright sings "Paint Box"

Guitarist David Gilmour said: "He was such a lovely, gentle, genuine man and will be missed terribly by so many who loved him."

Writing on his website, he added: "And that's a lot of people. Did he not get the loudest, longest round of applause at the end of every show in 2006?"

Wright's spokesman said in a statement: "The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

Rick Wright was a self-taught keyboard player and pianist, and his liquid, intuitive playing and use of effects such as Leslie speaker and echoe boxes, greatly enhanced the Pink Floyd sound in some of their best and most seminal albums, from Floyd's debut "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" to "Echoes" and "The Dark Side Of The Moon".

Wright (left) and his Pink Floyd bandmates in '67

Wright's work on the title track of "Echoes", with it's amazing use of the Leslie Rotating Speaker, is one of the most classic keyboard parts in rock'n'roll, and is still greatly appreciated by keyboard players today. It was one of the highlights of Pink Floyd's film "Live In Pompeii", and here's "Echoes - Part I" for you:

Wright, a founder member of The Pink Floyd Sound - and other previous incarnations including Sigma 6 - met Waters and Mason at architecture school. Despite his important role within the band, Wright was forced to leave Pink Floyd in the early 80's, after working on "The Wall", due to artistic differences with Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters.

When Waters eventually left Pink Floyd, Rick Wright resumed his role in the band, working on a string of successful comeback albums such as "The Division Bell" in 1994, that kept the Pink Floyd flame still burning bright, well into the 90's.

In 2005, the full band reunited - for the first time in 24 years - for the Live 8 concert in London's Hyde Park. Fans worldwide were rejoiced to see Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Rick Wright and drummer Nick Mason together onstage again, and it was one of the highlights of the event.

Pink Floyd at Live 8

There was much speculation - or at least hope - that Pink Floyd would reform and tour again.

The band never confirmed the rumours, and now, with Rick Wright's passing, those hopes are dashed forever. Rick Wright is now joining Syd Barrett at the Great Gig In The Sky...

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