With the forthcoming release of Pink Floyd’s The Endless River, a collection of posthumous recordings with late keyboardist Richard Wright during sessions for 1994’s The Division Bell, it got us thinking of all the fantastic material that the founding Floyd member wrote or co-wrote during his time with the legendary band.
The mega-talented Rick Wright is of course less well known than David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Syd Barrett, mostly due to his quiet and unassuming nature in the midst of all the other oversized talents and egos within Pink Floyd. But Floyd fans have long touted the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s underrated musical abilities and overall contribution to the band, and rightly so. Wright is responsible, at least in part, for some of the band’s most famous songs, along with a lot of other lesser-known yet highly respected material that has helped shape Floyd’s signature sound and musical legacy. From “Us and Them” to “Summer ’68,” “Time” to “See-Saw,” Wright’s soulful vocals and richly textured keyboard sounds are found throughout the progressive rock band’s classic albums. Here are the 10 Best Rick Wright Pink Floyd songs. Though he passed away in 2008, his incredible talent, spirit and contribution to the music world lives on.
10. “Remember a Day”
This haunting ode to childhood comes off of the band’s 1968 album, A Saucerful of Secrets. Written and sung by Wright and featuring melancholic piano and organ, it was performed live only twice – as an encore to a show in 1968, and in September 2008 when David Gilmour performed the song on Later… with Jools Holland as a tribute to Wright (who had died a week earlier).
9. “Paint Box”
The B-side to the 1967 single “Apples and Oranges,” this psychedelic pop song was written and sung by Wright and features angst-ridden, anti-social lyrics as well as a fantastic yet eerie piano solo.
8. “One of These Days”
The opening track to 1971’s Meddle is mostly instrumental except for one vocal “threat” spoken by drummer Nick Mason. The song is attributed to all four band members and was a staple of their 1971-1973 and 1987-1994 tours. Wright’s use of keyboards/piano and Hammond organ combine to create striking surges, stabs and waves throughout the song.
The song, off of 1968’s A Saucerful of Secrets, was written solely by Wright and features him on lead vocals, piano, organ, xylophone and mellotron. The track bore the working title of “The Most Boring Song I’ve Ever Heard Bar Two” on the recording sheet (we clearly disagree).
6. “Summer ‘68”
The pastoral song, off of 1970’s Atom Heart Mother, was written and sung by Wright and features soaring, unique vocal harmonies in the vein of The Beach Boys. The song also features beautiful passages by Wright on both piano and Hammond organ.
5. “The Great Gig in the Sky”
The track, off of 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon, began as a chord sequence by Wright and was originally played on the organ live, but eventually changed to piano for the album recording. The song contains spoken word samples about death as well as wordless vocals by the British singer Clare Torry, who successfully sued for co-authorship of the song in 2004/2005.
The third longest song in the band’s entire catalogue (23 minutes) was released on 1971’s Meddle and contains an organ solo by Wright that was inspired by The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations. In his eulogy for Wright, Gilmour expressed that the song was the first great example of the musical telepathy and beautiful blending of voices that they shared.
The fourth track from the band’s landmark 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon, is credited to all four members and features Wright singing lead on the bridges (while Gilmour sings lead on the verses). Wright also contributes organ, Wurlitzer electric piano and synths to the classic song.
2. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”
The nine-part suite from 1975’s Wish You Were Here was co-written with Roger Waters and David Gilmour as a tribute to the band’s former leader, Syd Barrett, who suffered from mental illness. The piece relies heavily on Wright’s gorgeous combination of piano, mini-Moog, synth pads and Hammond organ.
1. “Us and Them”
The music to the longest song on 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon was composed by Wright, who also contributed harmonies along with Roger Waters. The song was a reworked version of another instrumental Wright song titled “The Violent Sequence” which was originally intended for the score of the 1970 film Zabriskie Point but ultimately rejected by the director for being too sad.