Richard Wright’s favourite Pink Floyd song

Even hidden from the gaze of fervent Pink Floyd enthusiasts, the keyboard virtuoso Richard Wright occupied a pivotal role within the band during Syd Barrett’s era as the frontman. As the London-based ensemble transitioned from their R&B origins to Cream-inspired psychedelic rock, Barrett predominantly penned the lyrics, yet Wright frequently contributed his vocals and songwriting sagacity.

The departure of Barrett in 1968, marked by struggles with substance abuse and psychological challenges, paved the way for David Gilmour to assume the role of a full-time replacement guitarist. Through the remainder of the decade, bassist Roger Waters assumed the mantle of creative lead. Under this new order, Wright retained his significance, but the burgeoning egos of Waters and Gilmour began to cast a shadow over his involvement.

Despite being credited with the songwriting of only ten out of Pink Floyd’s 217 released songs, Wright was an indispensable force behind numerous memorable moments across the band’s four-decade recording history. Striking parallels between Wright’s role in Pink Floyd and George Harrison’s in The Beatles easily come to light.

In the early 1970s, Pink Floyd entered its zenith, epitomized by the 1973 masterpiece “The Dark Side of the Moon.” Wright played a crucial role in crafting some of the album’s standout moments, such as ‘The Great Gig in the Sky,’ ‘Us and Them,’ and ‘Time.’ While these contributions undoubtedly shone for the artist, his proudest moment unfolded on the 1971 album “Meddle.”

“Meddle” served as a tapestry of intriguing directions, often regarded as Pink Floyd’s transition from esoteric psychedelia to expansive prog-rock conquest. At the heart of this evolution was the epic on side two, ‘Echoes.’ The song’s ethereal, protracted composition foreshadowed future successes, and despite minor reservations voiced by Waters, Gilmour, and Nick Mason over the years, it remained a favorite of Wright’s.

While Waters penned the lyrics for ‘Echoes,’ the musical creation was a collaborative effort. Wright and Gilmour played particularly active roles in refining the composition. In an interview with Mojo, Wright expressed his dismay at the song being perceived as having very little to do with him, stating, “The whole piano thing at the beginning and the chord structure is mine, so I had a large part in writing that. But it’s credited to other people, of course. Roger obviously wrote the lyrics.”

Upon Wright’s passing in 2008, Gilmour decided to retire ‘Echoes’ from future setlists as a tribute to Wright’s irreplaceable role in its creation. Gilmour explained to Rolling Stone in 2016, “There’s something that’s specifically so individual about the way that Rick and I play in that, that you can’t get someone to learn it and do it just like that.”

Watch Pink Floyd perform ‘Echoes’ in Pompeii below.


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