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Richard William "Rick" Wright (born July 28, 1943 in Hatch End, London, England) is a self taught pianist and keyboard player best known for his long career with Pink Floyd.
He was a founding member of the band in 1965, and also participated in its previous incarnation, Sigma 6. Though not as prolific a songwriter as his band-mates Roger Waters and David Gilmour, Wright made essential contributions to Pink Floyd's long, epic compositions such as "A Saucerful of Secrets", "Echoes", and "Shine on You Crazy Diamond". His most commercially popular compositions are "The Great Gig in the Sky" and "Us and Them" from 1973's The Dark Side Of The Moon.
Wright frequently sang background and occasionally lead vocals onstage and in the studio with Pink Floyd (most notably on the songs "Time" and "Echoes"). In the early days of the band, Wright dabbled with brass and string instruments before settling on the Farfisa organ as his main instrument onstage (in addition to piano and Hammond Organ in the studio). For a brief period in 1969, Wright played vibraphone on many of the band's songs and in some live shows, and he even played trombone on "Biding My Time" (also dating from this experimental period). He started using a Hammond organ regularly onstage thereafter, and a grand piano later became part of his usual live concert setup when "Echoes" was added to Pink Floyd's regular set-list. A few years later, for tours in the mid-1970s centering around The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer and Hohner electric pianos, ARP, Moog and Prophet synthesizers were added to the lineup in place of the Farfisa. Since 1987, Wright has favoured Kurzweil digital synthesizers.
Using material that was considered unsuitable for Pink Floyd's Animals album, Wright recorded his first solo project, Wet Dream, and released it in September 1978 with little fanfare. Battling both personal problems and an increasingly rocky relationship with Roger Waters, he was fired from Pink Floyd during recording sessions for The Wall in 1979. However, he was retained as a salaried session musician during the subsequent live concerts to promote that album in 1980 and 1981. Ironically, Wright became the only member of Pink Floyd to profit from those hugely spectacular shows, since the net financial loss had to be paid out of pocket by the three remaining "full-time" members. In 1983, Pink Floyd released the only album on which Richard Wright does not appear: Waters' swan song The Final Cut.
During 1984, Wright formed a new musical duo with Dave Harris (from the band Fashion) called Zee. They signed a record deal with Atlantic Records and released only one album, Identity, which was a commercial and critical flop. Wright left Zee in 1986 to rejoin Pink Floyd following Waters' departure. Because of legal and contractual issues from his "hired gun" status during The Wall world tour, Wright's photo was not included in the 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason and his name was listed in smaller letters than Mason and Gilmour. By the time of the Momentary Lapse world tour and the 1988 live album Delicate Sound Of Thunder, Wright was contractually able to claim total Pink Floyd membership once again. In 1994, he co-wrote five songs and sang lead vocals (on "Wearing the Inside Out") for the next Pink Floyd album, The Division Bell. This recording provided material for the double live album and video release P*U*L*S*E in 1995.
In 1996, inspired by his successful input into The Division Bell, Wright released his second solo album, Broken China, including contributions from Sinead O'Connor, Pino Palladino and Tim Renwick.
On July 2, 2005, Wright joined Gilmour, Mason, and Waters on stage for the first time since the Wall concerts for a short set at the Live 8 concert in London. He underwent eye surgery for cataracts in November 2005, preventing him from attending Pink Floyd's induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
Wright contributed keyboards and background vocals to David Gilmour's most recent solo album, On An Island, and performed with Gilmour's touring band for over two dozen shows in Europe and North America in 2006. He declined an offer to join Roger Waters and Nick Mason on Waters' The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour in order to spend more time working on an upcoming solo project (which may be released in 2007).
On July 4th, 2006, Wright joined Gilmour and Mason for the official screening of the upcoming DVD P*U*L*S*E Inevitably, Live 8 surfaced as a subject in an interview. When asked about performing again, Wright replied he would be happy on stage anywhere. He explained that his plan is to "meander" along. He spoke to Gilmour about performing:
"And I guess my plan is to meander along. AND whenever Dave wants me to play with him, I’m really happy to play with him. And [to Gilmour] you’ll play with me right?"
The quietest and shyest member of a band who were always known for their lack of personal profile and individual attention seeking, Wright has not followed the other 3 surviving band members in of late being willing to become more public figures. He retains a low profile, and rarely speaks in public.
- "Wet Dream" (1978)
- Identity under the band name Zee with Dave Harris. (1984)
- "Broken China" (1996)
- "Title TBA" (2007)