Happy Birthday Richard Wright: Teaming With David Gilmour For ‘The Barn Jams’

'The Barn Jams' are among Wright's final works.

By Nate Todd Jul 28, 2021 12:41 pm PDT

Pink Floyd founding keyboardist Richard Wright was born on this day in 1943 in Hatch End, Middlesex, England. Sadly, Richard died on September 15, 2008 from lung cancer. He was 65 years old.

A multi-talented musician, singer, composer and arranger, Wright’s keyboard playing lent the jazz-tinged dreamy textures that were a pillar of Pink Floyd’s sound. He was skilled at taking compostions by bassist Roger Waters and guitarist David Gilmour and adding exactly what the song needed. He also composed a number of tunes himself including Dark Side Of The Moon favorites like “Great Gig In The Sky” and “Us and Them.” His synthesizer work on “Any Colour You Like” is masterful. Additionally, Wright sang on a number of iconic Floyd tunes like the chorus to “Time” as well as alongside Gilmour on “Echoes” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”

Shortly after Gilmour joined the band in 1968 and following founding guitarist Syd Barrett’s departure, Wright and Gilmour worked on Syd’s 1970 sophomore solo album, Barrett. Both Wright and Gilmour were friends with their former bandmate, but Richard and Syd were particularly close. Wright and Gilmour co-produced Barrett together with Richard also adding bass and keyboards. The collaboration would be one of the earliest instances Wright and Gilmour found common ground outside of Pink Floyd.

A decade later, Wright and Waters would have a falling out and the former would leave Pink Floyd during The Wall era. Waters himself would depart in 1985 and Wright returned to contribute to the band in the Gilmour-led period of the 1980s and ‘90s. Shortly after Pink Floyd’s final appearance with all four members at the Live 8 concert in 2005, Wright joined Gilmour’s band to tour the guitarist’s solo album, On An Island.

Members of that band, including Guy Pratt on bass and Steve DiStanislao on drums, would convene in early 2007 to record the aptly named The Barn Jams in a barn on Gilmour’s property in Sussex. The collaboration featured a series of instrumental pieces written by Gilmour titled “Barn Jam 166,” “Barn Jam 192″ and “Barn Jam 121.” The sessions — which boast the kind of chemistry between Richard and David that only comes from decades of collaboration — were filmed and are among Wright’s final works.

In honor of Richard Wright’s birthday, watch the keyboardist perform with David Gilmour and more for The Barn Jams below:

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