The recent demise of Richard Wright gave severe shock to my circle of rock and roll friends who have been dreaming for great gig reunion of Pink Floyd in the near future. It was really delightful to witness the original Pink Floyd members returned together on stage at LIVE 8 concert in London in 2005 after their two decades of separation.
But the united beginning seemed to come to an end when a friend of mine sent an SMS reading "Richard Wright passed away today!" on the night of his death. For a moment, I was dumfounded starring at the large Pink Floyd image hanging in my bedroom.
Certainly the loss of Wright may result in a situation that would restrain Pink Floyd to bring the same old intrinsic form. The Piper At The Gate of Dawn would never happen again without Wright's discrete vocal and keyboard excellence.
Wright's memories will be mingled forever with the albums like Meddle comprising Echoes and One Of These Days. Wright will also be remembered forever for his masterpiece keyboard renditions in the numbers including A Saucerful Of Secrete, Interstellar Overdrive and Careful With That Axe, Eugene.
No doubt, Wright had been the right hand of Pink Floyd. However, the band survived in its unique way even in the presence or absence of him. In 1983, Pink Floyd produced The Final Cut without Wright. While doing solo acts, Roger Waters has never been truncated himself from Pink Floyd sound in his albums like Amused To Death.
And David Gilmour did the same business in his album On The Island. Pink Floyd sound has been remained as an immortal entity at different monetary lapses of the band. The tradition will hopefully be retained even after the death of Richard Wright.
Obscured by youngsters
Many young people from North-east India, the rock capital of India, exchanged their heat-felt condolences over phones and message boards of rock music forums on internet on the very next day of Wright's death. I am really impressed by the way that today's young generation have eventually realised what/who Pink Floyd are.
Over the last few years, Pink Floyd sound has been chosen as one of the most sought after songs among young people in the region. Until the late 1990s, nu metal rockers in North-east India recognised Pink Floyd only for The Wall where Another Brick In The Wall was an anthem at every local concert.
I first introduced Wish You Were Here to a young friend of mine in 2001. Unfortunately, he misinterpreted the tracks in the album as unimpressive instrumental pieces. "I don't think Pink Floyd could do nice piece of rock and roll," I still remembered what he said.
In order to blow his negative impression of Pink Floyd out of his mind, I presented him Dark Side Of The Moon next day explaining that every household in London owned this album during the 1970s. He agreed my point as Time became one of the most popular gigs among budding progressive rock bands in Manipur. Delhi-based rock band Parikrama played great role in popularisation of Pink Floyd sound among youngsters in some parts of north India.
Know your Wright
My friends keep sending e-mails to me concerning the death of Wright. One of them mentioned that he never imagined that the death of a British rocker would hurt his sentiment as though he is missing someone so close. Everybody shared their views on how importantly Wright took part in Pink Floyd. Born on 28 July 1943 in Hatch End, London, Wright was son of a biochemist named Robert Wright.
He was educated at the Haberdashers Aske's School. It was Wright who first sown the seed of Pink Floyd after meeting Roger Waters and Nick Mason during his school days. Formed along with other schoolmates, Wight became the sixth member of their short-lived band titled Sigma 6.
Wright's journey into the music world never ended until he found the right tune of Pink Floyd sound. After his enrolment in Royal College of Music, he met Syd Barrett and Rado Close whose additions created a famous five group titled The Tea Set. The five-piece played intermittently in early 1965 under two titles The Tea Set and The Pink Floyd Sound until the departure of Klose.
I guess none of new generation rock bands in North-east region have been inspired by jazz music. But it happened with teenage Wright when he joined for private lessons in musical theory and composition at Eric Gilder School of Music. With an early love of jazz, he learned trombone, saxophone, guitar and piano. His ambition was to follow the footsteps of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Eric Dolphy.
One can easily detect in the early days of Pink Floyd, Wright implemented his distinctive melodic jazzy style to that of Syd Barrett. As long as the sound and objective of the band is evolved, Wright focused on adding sound textures to extended instrumental compositions such as Interstellar Overdrive, Us and Them, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, to name a few.
Wright's indefinable contributions to Pink Floyd sound include the epic compositions like Atom Heart Mother, Echoes and Shine On You Crazy Diamond, The Great Gig In The Sky. His ever-tasteful contributions were an essential part of Pink Floyd sound, whether on acoustic piano, Farfisa organ, synthesiser or Hammond at which he was particularly unique.
The wall divides
After his relationship with Waters became increasingly sour, Wright left Pink Floyd after the completion of The Wall album. Following the separation, he formed a new musical duo titled Zee with Dave Harris of a short-lived band called Fashion in 1984.
But the business was not last long. He rejoined Pink Floyd following the departure of Roger Waters. In 1987, Pink Floyd released the widely acclaimed A Momentary Lapse Of Reason that engendered the 1988 live album Delicate Sound Of Thunder during the their world tour.
In 1994, Wright co-wrote five songs with David Gilmour and sang lead vocal on Wearing The Inside Out in The Division Bell. Wright-Gilmour instrumental Marooned won the Grammy Award for 'Best Rock Instrumental Performance' in 1995 - Pink Floyd's only Grammy to date.
Wright's last appearance at LIVE 8 concert with Waters is still being a great memorable gig in the down memory lane of every Pink Floyd fan.
* Ozzyjane contributes to e-pao.net regularly .
The author is an executive member of taptamusic.com
and can be contacted at ozzyjane(at)gmail(dot)com .
This article was webcasted on November 02nd, 2008