Richard Wright’s Great Gig in the Sky

Some days life takes over big picture discussions like the ones you normally find ToingToinged here. It’s pen (or keyboard) down time today, as we head to the digital local for a virtual wake to one of the greatest. Keyboardist Richard Wright, Pink Floyd founder member and significant contributing composer has died.

Wright took part in the run of one of the most significant rock bands ever together with Roger Waters (vocals, bass), Nick Mason (drums) and Dave Gilmour (guitar, vocals, who joined the band when original guitarist Syd Barrett left.) Wright’s keyboard is central to that unmistakable Pink Floyd sound.

Richard Wright wrote some of the most celebrate Pink Floyd tunes – “The Great Gig in the Sky” and “Us and Them” (the PF masterpiece The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973], and has stamped his personal musical mark on works like “Atom Heart Mother”, “Echoes” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”. Floyd fans followed and loved Wright’s personal choices of keyboards. During live performances, Wright often opted for the sound produced by all-but-extinct instruments – “On stage with Gilmour he performed piano, electric piano and synth leads with his Kurzweil K2600 workstation, Hammond organ and even his long-inactive Farfisa organ, which was resurrected especially for performing “Echoes” and a couple of Pink Floyd’s and Syd Barrett’s older numbers that Gilmour chose to revisit in his recent concerts.

Pink Floyd was both artistic and commercial phenomenon – selling over 200 million albums worldwide (about a third of which were sold in the UK) with megahits like The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), and The Wall (1979) and influencing other perennial bands such as Genesis and Yes.

..and I am not frightened of dying, any time will do, I
Dont mind. why should I be frightened of dying?
Theres no reason for it, youve gotta go sometime.
I never said I was frightened of dying.

(From the Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig In The Sky”)