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Best Richard Wright Performances: 10 Songs That Define His Legacy
List & Guides

Best Richard Wright Performances: 10 Songs That Define His Legacy

From Pink Floyd to solo work, the best Richard Wright performances prove how masterfully the keyboardist pushed prog rock into new territories.

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Richard Wright, the exceptionally talented keyboardist and one of the founding members of the legendary Pink Floyd, has left an unforgettable imprint on the history of rock music. By helping to shape the band’s sound and fix their place among the most influential musicians of all time, Wright defined the brain-bending potential of progressive-rock music and, to this day, his inimitable style of piano playing and his innate musical genius continue to ignite inspiration in countless music fans across the world. Here, we delve into the best Richard Wright performances, highlighting ten songs that truly define his remarkable legacy…

Listen to the best of Pink Floyd here, and check out the best Richard Wright performances, below.

10: Paint Box (Apples And Oranges B-side, 1967)

A kaleidoscope of vibrant colours and sonic textures, Richard Wright’s keyboard wizardry breathes life into Pink Floyd’s psychedelic pop B-side Paint Box. Issued as the flipside of the group’s 1967 single Apples and Oranges, the song sees Wright conjure a palette of tinny sounds on a tack piano, while his hallucinatory solo finds him at his most playful. Wright’s bright and sparkling tones on Paint Box, coupled with his novel use of a chord progression rooted in Em(add 9), perfectly evoke the trippiness of the psychedelic era, lending an unsettling aura of ghostliness to an otherwise nostalgic and joyful melody. Easily one of the best Richard Wright performances, Paint Box is a hidden gem worth seeking out.

9: See-Saw (from ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’, 1968)

Written in the same spirit of childlike wonder that characterised the work of the group’s co-founder Syd Barrett, the whimsical psych-pop ballad See-Saw, from Pink Floyd’s 1968 album, A Saucerful Of Secrets, is playfully enchanting. Wright’s nimble fingers dance across the keys like grasshoppers among the reeds, adding vivacious energy to an otherwise laidback tune with precise and intricate piano fills. From lively organ tones to touches of youthful exuberance, Wright’s playing on See-Saw is a perfect display of technical mastery under the illusory guise of spontaneity, highlighting his exceptional musicianship and his ability to bring life and vitality to Pink Floyd’s early repertoire.

8: Summer ’68 (from ‘Atom Heart Mother’, 1970)

Richard Wright’s profound understanding of the piano truly shines throughout this sunny and vibrant Beach Boys-esque composition. Over a peppy groove, the song’s sepia-toned melody sways like sunflowers gently blowing in a warm breeze, all set to nostalgic lyrics penned about meeting a groupie back in 1968. A memorable highlight from Pink Floyd’s 1970 album, Atom Heart Mother, Summer ’68’s sprightly Hammond organ tones and meticulously nuanced piano embellishments prove how the best Richard Wright performances are born of agility and dexterity. The keyboardist’s memorable work on Summer ’68 proves his exceptional artistry as Pink Floyd set about honing their sound.

7: Wearing The Inside Out (from ‘The Division Bell’, 1994)

On this introspective ballad from Pink Floyd’s 1994 album, The Division Bell, Richard Wright weaves a tapestry of melancholic beauty, using each note to convey a delicate vulnerability. The only song on the album not to be credited to David Gilmour, Wearing The Inside Out is a latter-day career triumph for Richard Wright, adorned as it is with tender piano melodies and gentle flourishes which communicate a moment of pure emotional catharsis. Through his evocative use of subtle synth textures, Wright enhances the song’s introspective lyrics, and his playing serves as the emotional anchor that guides listeners through the depths of human frailty. A profound entry among the best Richard Wright performances, Wearing The Inside Out shows proves how his awe-inspiring keyboard work could touch the deepest recesses of the human soul.

6: Mediterranean C (from ‘Wet Dreams’, 1978)

As the opening track on Richard Wright’s 1978 solo debut album, Wet Dreams, Mediterranean C remains a breathtaking showcase of the keyboardist’s talents. A captivating piano composition, it sees Wright’s playing take centre-stage, transporting listeners to the sun-soaked shores of the Mediterranean coastline. With a delicate touch and masterful command, Wright’s sound exudes a sense of warmth and serenity, painting vivid images of gentle waves and golden beaches. As his fingers gracefully glide across the keys, an overspill of gorgeous synth melodies evoke a sense of tranquillity and wanderlust. With fluid harmonies creating a Pink Floyd-esque soundscape that envelops the listener in blissful reverie, Mediterranean C is a vivid and immersive journey that stands as one of the best Richard Wright performances.

5: Remember A Day (from ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’, 1968)

Not for nothing was Remember A Day, from A Saucerful of Secrets, played by David Gilmour in Richard Wright’s memory, following they keyboardist’s death, in 2008. In fact, among the best Richard Wright performances, Remember A Day is arguably his defining moment. With a profound sense of nostalgia, Wright’s keyboard passages transport listeners to a bygone era, weaving a tapestry of wistful melodies to complement lyrics that evoke a sense of longing and reflection (“Why can’t we play today?/Why can’t we stay that way?”). With each dreamlike note, Wright effortlessly explores the depths of emotion through shimmering organ chords and sparkling piano trills. A highlight among Pink Floyd’s early work, Remember A Day remains one of Wright’s most touching and poignant moments on record.

4: Us And Them (from ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’, 1973)

As with most of his work on Pink Floyd’s timeless 1973 album, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Richard Wright’s musical prowess is on full display on Us And Them. Originally called The Violent Sequence and written for Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1970 film, Zabriskie Point, the song was later reworked and given a fresh set of suitably existential lyrics. With an air of melancholic beauty, Wright’s soul-stirring piano melodies intertwine with Dick Parry’s eerie saxophone, effortlessly navigating an array of intricate chord progressions with elegance and sophistication. Showcasing his exceptional ability to smuggle a weight of emotion into his melodies, Us And Them easily ranks among the best Richard Wright performances.

3: Shine On You Crazy Diamond (from ‘Wish You Were Here’, 1975)

In the pantheon of Richard Wright’s most awe-inspiring musical moments, his contribution to Pink Floyd’s tribute to Syd Barrett, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, from their 1975 album, Wish You Were Here, is exemplary. With an exquisite blend of sensitivity and virtuosity, Wright’s keyboard mastery brings an otherworldly dimension to the song, using hauntingly beautiful chords, delicate arpeggios and ethereal synthesiser textures to transport listeners to a realm of profound introspection. Wright’s playing seamlessly intertwines with David Gilmour’s iconic guitar melodies and Roger Waters’ divine bass work, meshing into a sound that is simultaneously melancholic and transcendent. The keyboardist’s intricate improvisations and sublime phrasing elicit a profound sense of longing and nostalgia, echoing the themes of loss and tribute that permeate the song. Showcasing his musical brilliance and firmly establishing itself as one the best Richard Wright performances, Shine On You Crazy Diamond is still a treasure to behold.

2: Echoes (from ‘Meddle’, 1971)

As a testament to Richard Wright’s unrivalled talent, Pink Floyd’s 23-minute epic Echoes, from their 1971 album, Meddle, is nothing short of masterful. As its opening notes unfold with breathtaking beauty into an immersive soundscape, Wright’s keyboard work forms the bedrock of the composition, with atmospheric synth textures, intricate melodic passages and an innovative use of sound effects seamlessly integrating with the band’s collective genius. With each note, Wright conjures a sense of boundless exploration and cosmic wonder, guiding listeners through a transformative odyssey like no other. Proving his invaluable contribution to Pink Floyd, Echoes still stands as one of the group’s best songs and showcases Wright at his most daring and exceptional.

1: The Great Gig In The Sky (from ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’, 1973)

At the pinnacle of Richard Wright’s musical legacy lies Pink Floyd’s mesmerising masterpiece The Great Gig In The Sky. In this composition from The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wright’s playing transcends earthly boundaries to reach sublime heights. With an evocative piano introduction setting the stage, Wright’s use of haunting organ chords and cascading arpeggios intensifies the emotional impact of the music, culminating in a breathtaking climax as the incomparable Clare Torry launches into an astonishing vocal performance that has since become legendary. With Torry’s performance elevating The Great Gig In The Sky to the heavens, Wright’s keyboard accompaniment serves as a dynamic and empathetic partner, amplifying the song’s message of spiritual transcendence. Cementing his legacy as a true musical visionary, The Great Gig In The Sky is an awe-inspiring musical experience, and that’s why it tops our list of the best Richard Wright performances.

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