Richard William Wright was born on 28th July, 1945, in Hatch End, London. His parents, Bridie and Cedric Wright had two other children, Selina and Guinvere. Rick attended the Haberdasher's School, and when he was 17 years old, the Regent Street Polytechnic, where he met Roger Waters
and Nick Mason
. They started a group and six months later were joined by lead guitarist Syd Barrett
Richard Wright: "It was great when Syd joined. Before him, we'd play the R&B classics, because that's what all groups where supposed to then. But I never liked R&B very much. I was actually more of a jazz fan. With Syd, the direction changed, it became more improvised around the guitar and keyboards. Roger started playing the bass as a lead instrument and I started to introduce more of my classical feel.
After Syd Barrett was replaced by David Gilmour
, the band gradually redefined their style over half a dozen albums. They released two singles after The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
: Apples And Oranges
where the b-side included the Wright song Paintbox
. The A-side on the other single It would be so nice
is by Wright too. The next album was A Saucerful of Secrets
which included two Wright compositions.
, one of the later records, the band was allowed to combine a straightforward live album with a second disc, comprising four sections, each recorded by one band member as a solo activity. Rick Wright's instrumental contribution, Sysyphus (parts 1-4)
was named after a character in Greek mythology. Part 1 is a mystical synthesizer with timpani, while in places Part 2 could easily be taken for a romantic-era classical piano sonata. Part 3 is very experimental, and Part 4 opening with bird-song, relies heavily on Wright's Mellotron, eventually returning to the theme of Part 1. In the side-long Echoes
, a progressive rock masterpiece found in Meddle
, Wright's single piano note fed through his Leslie rotating speaker.
You'll find that not only has tickled the ivories (or plastics), but he's also managed to find time to write and sing a number of the Floyd's ditties, like The Great Gig in the Sky
(The Dark Side of the Moon
The band's phenomenal success during the time when Wish You Were Here
were released led to a great amount of tension and conflicts among the band members. Solo albums were a safety valve and Wright released Wet Dream
in 1978. Wright was accompanied by top session musicians Mel Collins (sax), Snowy White (guitar), Larry Steele (bass) and Reg Isadore (drums). No singles were released from the album, and Wright did not perform any concerts.
By the time they came to record The Wall
in 1979 Roger Waters was assuming control of the band. Wright felt the full brunt of this when Waters threatened not to release The Wall
unless Wright left the band. Wright spent the next two years as a paid employee, playing The Wall
in America, Britain and Germany.
Being paid on a wage, he was the only "member" of Pink Floyd to actually make money on that tour (yes, the Floyd "lost their shirts" on that tour--it was so phenomenally expensive to put on, and they did so few shows that they couldn't recoup their investment. The rest of the band were "investors," as it were, but Wright's role was the same as that of the roadies--fixed dollar amount per night or somesuch. So he didn't get reamed like everyone else). He did not appear on The Final Cut
After leaving Pink Floyd, Wright formed a shortlived partnership, called Zee who released Identity
('84), with Dave Harris, former leader of New Romantic band Fashion, with Wright composing music for Harris' lyrics. There were again no live dates. This is the only Floyd solo album never released on CD anywhere.
He did, however, appear as a "session" musician on A Momentary Lapse of Reason
, and also participated in the Delicate Sound of Thunder
tour. With The Division Bell
he's finally fully back in the band co-wroting Wearing The Inside Out
with lyricist Anthony Moore and co-wroting the music for Cluster One
, What Do You Want From Me
, and Keep Talking
with David Gilmour. More important, as Wright says, "On this album the three of us actually played together. It's like the Floyd again.
Millions of fans felt exactly the same way during Pink Floyd's Division Bell world tour which played over 100 shows, culminating in their 14-night stint at London's Earls Court in the autumn of 1994. Write has recently released his newest solo album, Broken China
Richard Wright: "I feel very confident about what I've done with Broken China. I'm proud of it. I like it a lot and I'm now having to live with it. There are already a few little things I might have changed, but not nearly as many as I thought there would be. This has really given me a lift. Next year I will be doing another album or possibly a film soundtrack. If the Floyd happens again, it happens, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. In the meantime, I am going to continue writing.
Guy Pratt, a bass player who has been performing with Pink Floyd since the Momentary Lapse of Reason
tour, married Wright's daughter, Gala, and therefore is his son-in-law. Some of this information was taken from the biography in the All Wright website.
Wright died of an undisclosed form of cancer in his home in the UK on 15 September 2008 at age 65. RIP, Rick.