Rick Wright, 1943-2008By now I’m sure everyone’s heard the news about the passing of Rick Wright, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd. According to Wright’s spokesman, he died today after a short battle with cancer. Wright was 65.
The following note, from David Gilmour’s Web site, is, I think, a wonderful tribute to Rick Wright’s career and what he meant to Pink Floyd and to music.
No one can replace Richard Wright. He was my musical partner and my friend.“The Great Gig in the Sky,” from Dark Side of the Moon, is a Wright composition. Ironically, the song deals with death, specifically the emotions involved with death: “And I am not frightened of dying, any time will do – I don’t mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it, you’ve gotta go sometime. I never said I was frightened of dying.”
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.
I have never played with anyone quite like him. The blend of his and my voices and our musical telepathy reached their first major flowering in 1971 on “Echoes”. In my view all the greatest PF moments are the ones where he is in full flow. 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.
In our middle years, for many reasons he lost his way for a while, but in the early Nineties, with The Division Bell, his vitality, spark and humour returned to him and then the audience reaction to his appearances on my tour in 2006 was hugely uplifting and it's a mark of his modesty that those standing ovations came as a huge surprise to him, (though not to the rest of us).
Like Rick, I don't find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously.
The music of the song is said to represent the spectrum of emotions associated with death. It is both somber and uplifting, and even pained at times. One fan wrote, “The words in the piece are what we say; the vocals are what we feel. I think the song is about how we are extremely frightened and saddened by death and even the thought/concept of death, but cannot admit it.”
The Great Gig in the Sky.mp3
For more about Rick Wright, check out his bio page at Pink Floyd online.