The Great Gig in the Sky

by lestro

Richard Wright, the keyboard player for the Pink Floyd, died today. He was 65.

I don’t know if you are a Floyd fan, but they are one of the bands that defined my high school and college years and remains not only a favorite, but a major cohesive force in the lives of my Idiot Friends.

Wright’s farfisa organ and Syd Barrett’s wild, wailing guitar were the soundtrack to many a night of adolescent debauchery as we too tried to achieve “Interstellar Overdrive.”

Wright is a founding member of the Floyd, formed in the mid 60s and along with Barrett (who died in 2006), Roger Waters and Nick Mason. Wright’s distinctive organ sound really helped define “the psychedelic sound” and helped the early Floyd become one of the most emulated sounds of the late-60s scene.

Wright contributed to the writing in many Floyd songs, as well as the vocal in ‘Astronomy Domine,’ but his most famous songs were probably “Great Gig in the Sky” and “Us and Them” from the Floyd masterpiece Dark Side of the Moon.

Great Gig” is the song that ends Side A. It is the one with the great orgasmic shrieks and no lyrics. It is a musical meditation on death, part of the album’s things that drive us to insanity motif.

After Roger Waters’ ego took over the band in the late 70s and early 80s, he and Wright clashed, which led to Wright being unceremoniously tossed from the band during the sessions for “The Wall.” After Waters left the Floyd, Gilmour (Barrett’s replacement) called him back into the fold for “Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell” as well as the ensuing tours for each album, the latter of which brought them to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse where a young Lestro sat pie-eyed in the worst seats in the house (they told us at one point to put our arms down because we were blocking the spotlight) for what is still today one of his favorite concert experiences ever.

Unfortunately, and selfishly, this officially means there will be no Pink Floyd reunion and tour.

However, if you’ve got some Floyd, especially old Floyd, now is the time…

Early Days (Wright and Barrett).

Mid-period, “Dark Side” era (Wright, Waters, Mason, Gilmour)

Cheers, Rick.


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