Sound Bites

A Floyd farewell and Pink primer

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pink Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright died Monday, Sept. 15, and the news made me think about the amazing work he did, especially in the early and mid-'70s.

Pink Floyd was founded by leader Syd Barrett, who famously succumbed to mental illness purportedly brought on by overuse of psychedelic drugs. When Barrett left the band in the late '60s, Pink Floyd moved into an aural landscape of rich multilayered instrumentation, much of it composed by Wright.

The album "Meddle" was the first indication of this new sound, and Wright was in the forefront on the epic "Echoes," a track which spans the entire second side. Wright went on to cowrite much of the blockbuster "Dark Side of the Moon," and even took lead vocals on many people's favorite track, "Time."

My favorite Floyd album is "Wish You Were Here," in which Wright turned in one of the most expansive rock keyboard tracks, the nine-part "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."

To hear Wright laying down some great jazzy keyboard grooves, check out his work on the album "Animals," particularly "Sheep."

This heyday of Floyd that was so influenced by Rick Wright is worth checking out if you haven't delved into it before, and worth reminding yourself of if it has been a while since you went Pink.

• Andy Kline is program director at KXLL FM Radio in Juneau and music critic for the Hooligan. He can be reached at

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