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Pink Floyd Band Member Biographies

Richard Wright





Richard William Wright was born in London on 28 July 1945 of a well to do family. His parents, Bridie and Cedric Wright had two other children, daughters: Selina and Guinvere. He went to the exclusive Harberdashers' school and at 17 he went to the Regent Street School of Architecture and there he met bassist Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason. They set up a group at college and were joined six months later 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."

They went under various names, including The Meggadeaths, Sigma 6, The Abdabs(Juliette Gale was part of the Abdabs who married Ricahrd Wright.), Leonard's Lodgers and The T-Set, before settling on the name The Pink Floyd Sound, which was taken from of Syd Barrett's favorite bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. As their confidence grew, they went from pop and R&B covers to their own extended psychedelic improvisations. Barrett became the band's chief songwriter in their early stages, contributing most of their songs on their first album (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn) and their two hit singles 'Arnold Layne' and 'See Emily Play'. After two Top 20 singles and a Top 10 album in'67 , Pink Floyd looked set for a successful career but Syd's experiments with LSD led him to become even more bizarre and eccentric, until eventually he was dismissed from the group in April 1968, to be replaced by David Gilmour.

After David Gilmour replaced Syd Barrett, the band gradually redefined their style over half a dozen albums. They released two singles after Piper: "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. The following year, Pink Floyd released "More" and "Ummagumma". 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. Ummagumma was followed by "Atom Heart Mother" in 1970, but it wasn't until 1971's Meddle with the side-long Echoes inspired by Wright's single piano note fed through his Leslie rotating speaker, that the band regained the prospects they'd shown four years earlier.

The next album, Dark Side Of The Moon, ensured their place in rock history. Released in 1973, the album became more than just a soundtrack to a generation (many of whom first discovered the delights of stereo listening to it in headphones). It spent an unprecedented 15 years in the Billboard Top 200 album charts and to date it has sold 28 million copies (rising at the rate of a million a year) making it the third highest selling album ever. Wright co-wrote many of the tracks on this epoch-making album but his most memorable contribution was The Great Gig In The Sky.

The next two albums - Wish You Were Here in 1975 and Animals in 1977 - consolidated their position as one of rock's biggest names but, as frequently happens, the band's phenomenal success put an increasing strain on their personal relationships and the creative tensions gave way to conflict. Solo albums were a safety valve and Wright released Wet Dream in 1978. Wright was accompanied by top session musicians Mel Collins (sax), Snowy Whithe (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.

None of this was public knowledge until Wright's name was conspicuously absent from Pink Floyd's 1983 album, The Final Cut. However, within months the band had imploded under the weight of the acrimony between the survivors. 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.

Wright rejoined Pink Floyd in 1987, after Gilmour and Mason had reconstituted the band, during the recording of A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. He arrived too late to contribute any songs but played on the world tour that confirmed Pink Floyd's status as one of the world's biggest drawing live attractions.

However on Pink Floyd's most recent studio album, The Division Bell, the band returned to the co-operative principles that had got lost during the late '70's. Wright co-wrote Wearing The Inside Out with lyricist Anthony Moore and co-wrote the music for Cluster One, What Do You Want From Me, Marooned, 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.


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