Pink Floyd founding member and keyboardist Richard Wright has died of cancer. He was 65 years old.
Wright helped found the pioneering band in 1965 along with Roger Waters and the late, iconic Syd Barrett, who was considered to be the band’s original mad genius. Wright was also a key component in Pink Floyd’s sound, from it’s early psychedelic explorations on songs like “Set The Controls For the Heart Of The Sun” and “Careful With That Axe Eugene” to such legendary marvels of studio craft as the albums Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall.
Wright’s signature keyboard swells on such epic songs as “Echoes” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” helped define Pink Floyd’s unique blend of prog-rock, improvisational jazz, and the outer fringes of psychedelia. The Pink Floyd sound would eventually go on to sell millions of records, including Dark Side Of The Moon, which spent more than a decade on the Billboard charts, and is one of the best selling albums of all time. The album includes two of Wright’s compositions, “Us And Them” and “The Great Gig In The Sky.”
Despite the success, Wright’s relationship with his bandmates was not always a rosy one. Wright was famously fired by Roger Waters during the making of The Wall. When Waters himself left Pink Floyd in 1985, this cleared the path for him to rejoin the group for the making of the Momentary Lapse Of Reason album. Wright did so at the invitation of guitarist David Gilmour.
In 2005, all four members of Pink Floyd including Wright, Waters, Gilmour, and drummer Nick Mason reunited to play Bob Geldof’s massive Live 8 benefit concert for the first time in 25 years. The concert was telecast to a worldwide audience of millions. Wright continued to perform with bandmate Gilmour, and will be heard again on Gilmour’s upcoming Live In Gdansk album, which is due out on Sept. 30.
With Wright’s death, fans already dim hopes for a more permanent reunion of the notoriously feuding band would now appear to be dashed for good. Richard Wright, dead at 65, will certainly be missed by music fans.