It is very stressful, in these troubled times, to try to summon emotions specific to Rick Wright. Waters and Gilmour would be no problem, even Nick Mason I have lots of specific affection for. As the keyboard player, Wright was obviously central to PF’s sound. But I think that he was most interesting in his minimalist approach to the keyboard. I guess it’s hard to appreciate what he was doing because, rare and innovative as they were at the time, his gauzy synth washes sort of became the default mode for keyboards in pop in the 80s and obscured his contribution. Maybe. I believe he composed that song on Dark Side that has a female singer doing a long wordless improv(?), but insofar as that sort of thing represents PF’s most indulgent side, well, I dunno.
I’m young enough that my introduction to PF came through Momentary Lapse of Reason, by which point Mason and Gilmour were listed as the only two official members of the band (although, oddly, Wright plays on the album), which I guess speaks to his friendship with DG and says something about loyalty and his generally being a perfectly lovely British chap.
If the four members of the Beatles were about as close to all being equal as you can imagine, and REM represents some sort of opposite extreme, with one extremely gifted member and three perfectly good but ultimately replaceable musicians, I guess PF fits somewhere in the middle. Two (three if you count Barrett) creative fountainhead dudes with two talented and valuable supporting musicians, of which Rick Wright was one. Not, I suspect, a bad life.
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