(AFP) – Sep 16, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour has paid tribute to the band's keyboard player Richard Wright, who died of cancer aged 65, praising his "quiet touch" that brought their classic albums to life.
Wright, a founding member of the progressive rock group, wrote and sang several numbers from classic albums including "The Dark Side of the Moon" (1973) and "Wish You Were Here" (1975).
He died on Monday after a short struggle with cancer, his family announced.
Gilmour praised his bandmate's "vitality, spark and humour".
"No-one can replace Richard Wright -- he was my musical partner and my friend," he said. "In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick's enormous input was frequently forgotten.
"He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound."
And he added: "Like Rick, I don't find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously. I have never played with anyone quite like him."
Among Wright's best-known compositions were "The Great Gig In The Sky," and "Us And Them".
Without those tracks, "What would 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' have been?" Gilmour said.
"Without his quiet touch the album 'Wish You Were Here' would not quite have worked. In my view, all the greatest PF moments are the ones where he is in full flow."
Wright, born in the London suburbs, met bassist Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason at college, where they formed The Pink Floyd Sound in 1965.
After tensions with Waters, Wright left the band shortly after recording sessions for "The Wall" album in 1979.
He released two solo albums in a period during which Gilmour said Wright "lost his way for a while," before officially returning to Pink Floyd in 1987.
"In the early 90s, with 'The Division Bell,' his vitality, spark and humour returned to him," Gilmour said.
Wright took part in the band's reunion alongside Gilmour, Mason and Waters at the giant Live 8 concert in London's Hyde Park in 2005. It was the first time Waters had appeared with the group since 1981.
He also played last year at a tribute concert to Syd Barrett, the band's early leader who left the group in 1968 and died in 2006. Waters and Gilmour appeared separately.
Wright played on every Pink Floyd tour and Gilmour paid tribute to his "uplifting" performances.
"It's a mark of his modesty that those standing ovations came as a huge surprise to him," he said.
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