Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Richard Wright, RIP

One of the founding members of one of the most influential rock bands of all time died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. Along with Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Syd Barrett, Richard Wright produced an album in 1967 - Piper at the Gates of Dawn - that rivaled The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band (recorded in the same studio at the same time) for sheer inventiveness. Initially inspired by a combination of the blues and LSD, as well as the limited familiarity with the electronic instruments they were using, Pink Floyd managed some seriously creative music. After Syd Barrett's psychosis reached the unmanageable stage, a childhood friend of his, actor and model David Gilmour, was brought in first to stand in for him in concert, then to replace him full time. The band fiddled and faddled, including producing a couple movie soundtracks and an interesting concept LP, Atom Heart Mother, until 1973's Dark Side of the Moon was released. Giving Roger Waters the room to lead the band maight, in the long run, have given the band both commercial success and internal turmoil, but it also produced a certain amount of darkly wonderful music. When Waters left, the band seemed to end, regrouping under Gilmour's leadership for two more studio releases, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell and a combo live CD/DVD, Pulse. Ironically enough, I was watching Pulse on Sunday night, then got a flash email about Wright's passing. Here's "High Hopes", from their last release.

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