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and after all, we're only ordinary men
September 15, 2008 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Pink Floyd keyboardist and founding member Rick Wright joins Syd Barret at the Great Gig in the Sky.
posted by swift (122 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
See you on the dark side of the moon.

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posted by Eekacat at 10:00 AM on September 15, 2008


Whoa, I'm shocked. Excellent guy, amazingly talented. One of my favorite musicians of all time. Godspeed toward the light!
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:02 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by gcbv at 10:06 AM on September 15, 2008


Damn. I think immediately of the keyboards on "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun." And the Moog synths on "Wish You Were Here." And ..... well, the list is endless. An absolutely brilliant musician.
posted by blucevalo at 10:06 AM on September 15, 2008


Don't go towards the light! Its a trap!
What an amazing musician.

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posted by Sailormom at 10:06 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


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Sysyphus was great.
posted by Shepherd at 10:07 AM on September 15, 2008


RIP, Mr. Wright. You participated in some great rock and roll. I'm off to do laundry now, and while I'm at the bar during the dry cycle, I'll put some Floyd on.
posted by jonmc at 10:08 AM on September 15, 2008


What did I tell you, stav?

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say

posted by Meatbomb at 10:11 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Set the controls for the heart of the sun.
posted by Artw at 10:12 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by DaddyNewt at 10:13 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:13 AM on September 15, 2008


a short sharp shock
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posted by hal9k at 10:14 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by Ironmouth at 10:14 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by stubby phillips at 10:17 AM on September 15, 2008


Well, now there really isn't going to be a Pink Floyd reunion. Dave was right.
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posted by SansPoint at 10:18 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by baggers at 10:20 AM on September 15, 2008


--/\<
posted by Pastabagel at 10:21 AM on September 15, 2008 [48 favorites]


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posted by RussHy at 10:21 AM on September 15, 2008


Oh, damn. Rick Wright was always the heart of Pink Floyd to me -- his synth work was the best part of an incredible band. Here's to you, Mr. Wright.

And no one sings me lullabyes
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky...

posted by vorfeed at 10:23 AM on September 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


What a shitty couple of days it's turning out to be. I guess Duane Allman, Hendrix, Moon, and Entwhistle needed a great keyboard player to round out the house band.

RIP, Rick.
posted by Devils Slide at 10:23 AM on September 15, 2008


RIP, Mr. Wright. It's been good.

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(first DFW, now this. Somehow I feel it's a privilege to be a contemporary of such artists, but all good things got to come to an end, don't they?)
posted by _dario at 10:23 AM on September 15, 2008


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Floyd wouldn't have been able to write the sort of stuff they did without him. I think he was a lot more integral to their sound than most people realise. I'm bummed that I never got to see all four of them together.
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:26 AM on September 15, 2008


Holy cats! Stunned!

I was just listening to Dark Side of the Moon this morning and thinking about how much I enjoyed Wright's keyboard work on it. Really, while Gimour's guitar playing is excellent, it is Wright's work that defined the Pink Floyd sound.

RIP, Mr. Wright. Thank you for the music.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:28 AM on September 15, 2008


ENOUGH OF THIS DYING SHIT! STOP IT!! AUUGGHHH!!!

*sigh*

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posted by Devils Rancher at 10:31 AM on September 15, 2008


This DVD has an exceptional performance by Mr. Wright. His last filmed performance is probably this upcoming release from the same tour. (Last link has a video of Wright performing Comfortably Numb with Gilmour.)

Gilmour's home page has a brief statement with a wonderful photo. David Gilmour's blog is a good place to leave and read comments.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:31 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]



posted by bz at 10:31 AM on September 15, 2008


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I loved hearing him sing on the early Pink Floyd records. Oddly, he wrote a few tracks about getting drunk and having sex with groupies (Paintbox, Stay, Summer '68) which seemed to belie his gentle voice.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:36 AM on September 15, 2008


all good things got to come to an end, don't they?

Yes, but not only good things, so there's that. Set the Controls is probably my favorite Floyd song, along with Fearless.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:37 AM on September 15, 2008


. Damn.
posted by octothorpe at 10:38 AM on September 15, 2008


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And you'd think the Guardian would do a better obituary for him than that.
posted by micayetoca at 10:40 AM on September 15, 2008


after pastabagel:

goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
posted by boo_radley at 10:42 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well shit.
posted by cortex at 10:42 AM on September 15, 2008


So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.


It comes for us all, but not every one of us will leave behind a legacy as great a Rick's... A loss, but not a waste.
posted by benzo8 at 10:44 AM on September 15, 2008



I loved hearing him sing on the early Pink Floyd records. Oddly, he wrote a few tracks about getting drunk and having sex with groupies (Paintbox, Stay, Summer '68) which seemed to belie his gentle voice.


Yeah. I always got the feeling he was being a bit sarcastic about it though. WIth that British humour.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:47 AM on September 15, 2008


The wikipedia page is currently a much better obit than most of the newspapers.
posted by swift at 10:49 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by fletchmuy at 10:50 AM on September 15, 2008


He didn't give in without a fight.
posted by rocket88 at 10:51 AM on September 15, 2008


dammit

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posted by lazywhinerkid at 10:54 AM on September 15, 2008


It's just another clue to the Publius Enigma!
Pink Floyd pretty much defined the first half of high school for me. Then they got back together and my (soon to be ex-) best friend went to see them live and didn't get me a ticket. That kind of killed it for me, plus I wanted to stop being depressed and listening to The Wall made that pretty much impossible. If they'd just stopped after Wish You Were Here, I can't think how many people would've been happier people. Slick and great as the Dark Side to Wall stuff was, and psyche-poppy as the Syd Barrett era stuff was, it's a damn shame the mid-period noodling doesn't get its due. I mean, Atom Heart Mother--where's the love?

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posted by rikschell at 10:55 AM on September 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


Paint Box
posted by stifford at 10:55 AM on September 15, 2008


Well, fuck.

As much as I love Syd Barrett's otherwordly weirdness, the best of the early Pink Floyd IMO has got to be the Rick Wright-penned "Paint Box." (AFAIK, the only Floyd song Wright ever wrote.) While it was probably just a nod to the Beatles' "Day in the Life," it's clear that it's the precursor to the more earthly post-Syd period, a good portion of which is essentially the "Paint Box" 45 played at 33rpm for forty years.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:56 AM on September 15, 2008


Aw. Some of my favorite Pink Floyd songs were by him. Hell, I officially fell in love with the band after hearing See-Saw for the first time. What a beautiful voice. Always felt bad for the way Waters bullied him, too, the egomaniac. Ah well.

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posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:57 AM on September 15, 2008


Goodbye Mr. Wright, thanks for some excellent music.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:58 AM on September 15, 2008


In tribute, this is See-Saw.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:59 AM on September 15, 2008


Another Wright composition, Remember a Day.

Fuck, I'm gonna miss this guy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:03 AM on September 15, 2008


NOOOOO! Dammit.
posted by malaprohibita at 11:04 AM on September 15, 2008


...........................
...........................
posted by schyler523 at 11:05 AM on September 15, 2008


> I mean, Atom Heart Mother--where's the love?

Well, that album's a real mixed bag for me, but I've never understood why "Fat Old Sun" isn't a Floyd classic up there with the best of 'em.

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posted by The Card Cheat at 11:05 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Huh. (AFAIK, the only Floyd song Wright ever wrote.)

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posted by Sys Rq at 11:07 AM on September 15, 2008


Ah, fuck. "Summer '68" is one of my favorite early tracks. I love the early, collaborative, pre-DSOTM Floyd the best, and he was crucial to that.
posted by anazgnos at 11:08 AM on September 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


it's a damn shame the mid-period noodling doesn't get its due.

IMO, the period from More to Obscured by Clouds is not just formative work leading to Dark Side, it's some of the most varied, interesting, and free music released by any band (accompanied by some great album covers, too.) If you haven't heard Meddle, you haven't lived.

It's no accident that Rick had a big influence on the band's sound during this time.
posted by swift at 11:08 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


This too is bad.
posted by oddman at 11:09 AM on September 15, 2008


Interviews and rehearsal footage from the Pink Floyd Live 8 reunion.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:09 AM on September 15, 2008


Bummer.
posted by heyho at 11:12 AM on September 15, 2008


:-(
posted by punkfloyd at 11:14 AM on September 15, 2008


Well, that album's a real mixed bag for me, but I've never understood why "Fat Old Sun" isn't a Floyd classic up there with the best of 'em.

I wonder if it was just too straightforward for the still 60's-psychedelica place the band was in after the first two albums—Atom Heart Mother is weird monster from the band in transition, and as much as the title track is a strange mess, it was more of what you'd think of as Floyd at the time than something as poppy and simple as Fat Old Sun, which almost feels like it should be on Wish You Were Here.

But it's a gorgeous track, agreed. The way the guitar comes in over the melody when it comes back around to the top of the verse the, what, third time? I always loved that.

If you haven't heard Meddle, you haven't lived.

Absolutely.
posted by cortex at 11:16 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by Pope Guilty at 11:25 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by fatbaq at 11:25 AM on September 15, 2008


A good Afroblanco post about early Pink Floyd.
Bon voyage Rick to your great gig in the sky.

Thank you Rick Wright for several decades of dancing, mind expanding listening, much enjoyment. Condolences to your family.

Peace and love.
posted by nickyskye at 11:29 AM on September 15, 2008


I guess Duane Allman, Hendrix, Moon, and Entwhistle needed a great keyboard player to round out the house band.

Wright: And the bad news?
Devil: Karen Carpenter on lead vocals.
posted by hal9k at 11:32 AM on September 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thank you, Rick. That's all.

The soundtrack of my high school years--despite being in the early 80's--was Pink Floyd. Didn't get laid but damn did I get my soul tempered.
posted by maxwelton at 11:32 AM on September 15, 2008


:'-(

Sigh.

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posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:33 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by shmegegge at 11:35 AM on September 15, 2008


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When ever a great one passes I remember this comic. (Its Led Zeppelin but its the same deal)
posted by lilkeith07 at 11:39 AM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by elfgirl at 11:39 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by blastrid at 11:40 AM on September 15, 2008


I've always loved Meddle, if we're tossing out some favs. Peace Rick.
posted by Witty at 11:41 AM on September 15, 2008


so sad

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posted by medium format at 11:48 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by mosk at 11:48 AM on September 15, 2008


I think he was a lot more integral to their sound than most people realise.

Yeah. When he came back into Pink Floyd properly for The Division Bell they suddenly sounded a lot more like Pink Floyd than they had for a while.
posted by rodgerd at 11:56 AM on September 15, 2008


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posted by futility closet at 11:57 AM on September 15, 2008


Aww fuck, that means just Paul and Ringo are left?

srsly, I loved his and Gilmour's harmonies, especially on Echoes. And Remember A Day is one of my favorite PF tunes.

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posted by not_on_display at 12:04 PM on September 15, 2008


It can be any colour you like, now.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:07 PM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by DreamerFi at 12:11 PM on September 15, 2008


I had just added "Wet Dream" to my iPod last week.
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posted by Heretic at 12:12 PM on September 15, 2008


Shit.

All my heros are dying.


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posted by chillmost at 12:22 PM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah shit. This week has been seriously the worst so far.

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posted by shakespeherian at 12:26 PM on September 15, 2008


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posted by Palquito at 12:29 PM on September 15, 2008


This man made my life more worth living. Thank you, Rick Wright.
posted by BeerFilter at 12:37 PM on September 15, 2008


I made a resolution not to drink this week. This and other things, and it's only Monday.
posted by chillmost at 12:44 PM on September 15, 2008


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posted by dancestoblue at 12:46 PM on September 15, 2008


This sucks.

I'd held out some glimmer of hope--howver faint--that David would eventually come around and I'd get to see the Floyd, all together, for the first and last time.

RIP, Rick. God bless you, sir. Say hello to Syd for us.


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posted by spirit72 at 12:53 PM on September 15, 2008


I guess Duane Allman, Hendrix, Moon, and Entwhistle needed a great keyboard player to round out the house band.

Unfortunately, pretty sure Billy Preston already nailed the gig.
posted by stenseng at 1:08 PM on September 15, 2008


Bollocks. This year has been the worst I can remember for a long time. Godspeed Mr. Wright.

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posted by ninthart at 1:09 PM on September 15, 2008


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what sad sad news

my first album purchase as a teen was Ummagumma.
posted by seawallrunner at 1:14 PM on September 15, 2008


If you haven't heard Meddle, you haven't lived.
Absolutely.

Abso-fucking-lutely.

Even though The Final Cut is my favourite album from Pink Floyd, it never really sounded quite like them without Rick Wright in the background, I've always thought.

We'll miss you Rick, particularly those of us who never got the chance to see a "real" live performance of Pink Floyd "in the flesh". I saw Roger Waters live last year and it was fucking awesome to see all those great tracks being played live, but it still wasn't Pink Floyd, no matter how much he tries to convince the world otherwise. I kept holding out hope that we would one day see the real thing playing together and, by some miracle, I could stand in the crowd at one of their concerts, but now it can never be.

Wish You Were Here ...
posted by dg at 1:14 PM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by Thorzdad at 1:18 PM on September 15, 2008


:'-(

Sigh.

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posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:37 PM on September 15, 2008


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posted by fixedgear at 1:40 PM on September 15, 2008


My high-school years were bisected by the release of "Dark Side of The Moon".

Thanks Rick.

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posted by Artful Codger at 1:42 PM on September 15, 2008


Awww.

Floyd - Live at Pompeii - Echoes (Pt 1)
Floyd - Live at Pompeii - Echoes (Pt 2) .
posted by cavalier at 1:50 PM on September 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


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posted by Mintyblonde at 3:26 PM on September 15, 2008


. ΡЇήκ ϜᶅΘὟḓ .
posted by Ike_Arumba at 3:37 PM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:49 PM on September 15, 2008


I feel like firing up the turntable, putting on "Relics," and staring at the ceiling for the rest of the evening.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:54 PM on September 15, 2008


Why can't we play today?
Why can't we stay that way?

posted by pyramid termite at 4:09 PM on September 15, 2008


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posted by fairmettle at 4:28 PM on September 15, 2008


I don't really believe in an afterlife, but still, I'd like to believe that he suddenly found himself being welcomed at the gates by his old friend Syd, totally lucid and restored to health. And right now he's jamming in a pickup group with Syd, Buddy Rich, John Entwhistle, and D. Boon, opening up for Leadbelly. Even old Robert Johnson is there, his good works having earned him forgiveness. There are no day jobs, crooked promoters, commercial obligations, broken strings or drug problems.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:47 PM on September 15, 2008


The memories of a man in his old age
Are the deeds of a man in his prime.
You suffle in gloom in the sickroom
And talk to yourself till you die.
Life is a short, warm moment
And death is a long cold rest.
You get your chance to try
In the twinkling of an eye:
Eighty years, with luck, or even less.


Looks like it was even less in his case.

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posted by you just lost the game at 4:54 PM on September 15, 2008


So sad, and so much of my early Pink Floyd collection sits un-listened to on cassette.

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posted by meinvt at 4:57 PM on September 15, 2008


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=(
posted by perilous at 5:05 PM on September 15, 2008


VH1 Classic is showing the Classic Albums Dark Side of the Moon documentary. A highly recommended DVD for anyone who doesn't have it.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:07 PM on September 15, 2008


You pick the place and I'll choose the time
And I'll climb that hill in my own way.
Just wait a while for the right day.
And as I rise above the tree lines and the clouds,
I look down,
hearing the sound of the things you've said today.


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posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:07 PM on September 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by /\/\/\/ at 5:26 PM on September 15, 2008


When ever a great one passes I remember this comic. (Its Led Zeppelin but its the same deal)

This. Back in the day they were coming out with Zeppelin and Floyd, and nowadays they're coming out with what, Radiohead and Arcade Fire? And I say that as a fan of both the latter.

Also, Fat Old Sun is great. Always thought of it as the "friends are lying in the sun, I wish that I was there" from Summer '68.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:05 PM on September 15, 2008


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posted by disclaimer at 6:16 PM on September 15, 2008


As a fan this and this was new, and amazing. For what its worth....
posted by Mintyblonde at 6:23 PM on September 15, 2008


My favourite band, a real innovator has died.
posted by dabcad at 6:50 PM on September 15, 2008


Listening to Echoes right now. Those opening ping, the stately swatches of sounds, Gilmour soars towards the sky, gawd what a trip. R.I.P. Mr Wright.
posted by Ber at 7:18 PM on September 15, 2008


IMHO, the afterlife is real only for those who make lasting and timeless art. Rick Wright definitely qualifies.

mistyblonde - thanks for those live in France links. Here' how I'll remember Wright - adjusting the Binson Echorec at about 4:48 in this "...Make Love in London" clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUHMltEOLds
posted by jetsetsc at 7:31 PM on September 15, 2008


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posted by five fresh fish at 8:15 PM on September 15, 2008


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Thank you Rick.
posted by pwb503 at 9:53 PM on September 15, 2008


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posted by scottymac at 10:56 PM on September 15, 2008


What did I tell you, stav?

Aye. You didn't need to remind me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:27 AM on September 16, 2008


Finally I get a chance to sit quietly and reflect after a hectic work day. Wish You Were here warbling quietly from the speakers of my laptop. I wish I could say all's right with the world, but it's clearly not so.
posted by dg at 4:45 AM on September 16, 2008


cavalieri first saw live at pompeii on pbs in the 70s. talk about confused. i'd never heard anything like it before, and certainly never seen anything like it--especially on public television in the states. my high school english teacher was a fan and introduced me to ummagumma & atom heart mother. when dark side of the moon--a more accessible floyd, if you will--came out, i was all over it. when they toured behind the album (i wasn't allowed to go to the show: my mother said i was too young & couldn't venture into the big city 'with a bunch of damn hippies'), i remember hearing that the band pretty much roamed around pittsburgh without anyone even knowing who they were. that seemed so fitting.

to this day, i wouldn't recognize richard wright or any of the others if they sat down next to me & we passed a pleasant evening at the neighborhood watering hole. but give me the opening strains of careful with that axe, eugene or rise and shine or just about anything right up through the wall, and the recognition--and the love--is right there.

i was too broke to make the trip to new york for the wall, dammit, but i was fortunate enough to have seen them twice. the second show clevelend, ohio, 1987, i think was pretty much it for me & pink floyd. i still haul out obscured by clouds or piper at the gates of dawn or whatever, but floyd without roger waters pretty much left me cold & that second show seemed like so much an echo of what i remembered from the first. i had no idea wright had ever even been ejected by waters, but that' right about the time my decade-plus long love affair with pink floyd started to unravel.

the news of wright's passing, though, has very much rekindled a bit of that flame & ignited the nostalgia. truly an integral part of my musical life and a huge influence on countless musicians and music lovers. i miss him, and i didn't even know him.
posted by msconduct at 6:14 AM on September 16, 2008


The educational system here had been all about the final school exams for the past two years. I've spent all that time studying and I'm in class for the exam in the easy course of Physics (one of the two). The only problem is I can't remember the optical spectrum. So elementary I apparently passed it over during my revision. Deep breath, can't panic now. Can't let these two years go to waste. I know the order of the colours, but is purple on top? Or is it red?

The cover of Dark Side of the Moon was my university pass.

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posted by ersatz at 6:25 AM on September 16, 2008


David Gilmour had this to say about his old friend this morning:

"No one can replace Richard Wright. He was my musical partner and my friend.

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.

I have never played with anyone quite like him. The blend of his and my voices and our musical telepathy reached their first major flowering in 1971 on 'Echoes'. In my view all the greatest PF moments are the ones where he is in full flow. After all, without 'Us and Them' and 'The Great Gig In The Sky', both of which he wrote, what would 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' have been? Without his quiet touch the Album 'Wish You Were Here' would not quite have worked.

In our middle years, for many reasons he lost his way for a while, but in the early Nineties, with 'The Division Bell', his vitality, spark and humour returned to him and then the audience reaction to his appearances on my tour in 2006 was hugely uplifting and it's a mark of his modesty that those standing ovations came as a huge surprise to him, (though not to the rest of us).

Like Rick, I don't find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously."








posted by spirit72 at 6:37 AM on September 16, 2008


Okay. This makes me sad.
posted by grateful at 6:40 AM on September 16, 2008


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posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:42 PM on September 16, 2008


This has happened a hell of a lot this year, people in my family, things like this. Too sad.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:10 PM on September 17, 2008


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posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 9:27 AM on September 27, 2008


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