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Rick Wright: Citizen of the Great Gig in the Sky

As with almost everyone my age, Pink Floyd hovered over significant parts of my childhood.  Our local rock station, Wichita’s T-95, played Floyd constantly.  Sometimes (and the station was fantastic), T-95 would play just a part or all of DARK SIDE OF THE MOON.  The same was true of THE WALL.  Never would a day go by without hearing at least one song by PF.

Kids wore PF buttons on their denim jackets and wore a variety of different PF t-shirts.  The planetarium in my hometown even hosted a number of shows of Laser Floyd, the music of the band set to the then extremely high tech flashes of light and image.

Then, of course, in 1983, PF released THE FINAL CUT and, in 1987, A MOMENTARY LAPSE OF REASON.  Throughout the 1980s, we proggers and rockers argued constantly about who represented the real PF, that is, the best PF–Roger Water or David Gilmour.  Like almost all Manichaen thinkers, we were idiots.

Thirty years later, I look back and think the lost and forgotten genius of the band was Rick Wright.  I’m not in any way discounting Water or Gilmour.  But, each has received his due. As the only member of Floyd now residing in the “Great Gig in the Sky,” Wright deserves to be considered not just a great keyboardist, but, perhaps, a genius.

Skeptical?  Watch this performance of “Echoes,” at Pompeii, 1971.  Absolutely stunning.  Listen to his voice as well as his keys.  Genius.