Friday, January 2, 2009

In Memoriam: Richard Wright

Pink Floyd: The Great Gig In The Sky


Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright passed in September of this year, and though I hadn't known much about him before his death, my pursuit of appropriate fodder for a blog post on the subject back then led me to a great respect for this undersung member of one of psychedelic rock's most influential bands. Taking a cue from Nelson, here's a clip from my Cover Lay Down post on the subject:

[Richard] Wright spent much of his career as third fiddle to two powerful songwriters (and, previous to that, one additional stellar frontman), but he deserves his due: his work was hardly negligible, and he did his share of songcraft, too, on some of the best known albums from the band.

Presciently, Wright’s most famous composition is probably The Great Gig in the Sky, which begins with the line “I am not frightened to die.”

It's not every artist who writes his own perfect epitaph. You've heard it before, of course. But isolated from the grandeur that is the entirety of Dark Side of the Moon, The Great Gig in the Sky stands alone as a finite atmosphere, a wash of keys and crashing waves rising ever higher and then floating down to earth again, a lifetime encapsulated in song.

So long, Richard. See you on the other side.

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