‘Not just a collection of pop songs’: Rick Wright remembers Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon

In a newly unearthed talk, Pink Floyd co-founder Rick Wright offers fresh insights on Dark Side of the Moon during its 40th anniversary, and on the tangled relationships that eventually tore the group apart.

The groundbreaking album, released in March of 1973, would sell some 50 million copies, and remained on the Billboard album charts for more than 740 weeks — all the way through to 1988.

With songs like “Time” “The Great Gig in the Sky” and “Any Colour You Like,” Dark Side of the Moon is also one of four Pink Floyd albums — along with 1971′s Meddle, 1975′s Wish You Were Here and 1994′s The Division Bell — that included significant compositional contributions from Wright.

Between Wish You Were Here and Division Bell? Well, that was a different story.

By 1979′s The Wall, Wright was but a bit player in Rogers Waters’ magnum opus, and he did not appear at all on Waters’ finale with Pink Floyd, 1983′s The Final Cut. He returned for the David Gilmour-led edition of Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987, but only as a sideman — as legal wrangling over Wright’s original ouster continued.

It wasn’t until 1994 that he would record again as a member in full. And Wright, who died of cancer in 2008, would only perform with Waters once thereafter, during a celebrated 2005 appearance at Live8.

So, it’s perhaps little surprise that Dark Side is best remembered by Wright for its collaborative spirit, something that would soon evaporate as Waters went into creative ascendancy.

“I do have good memories of recording the album, it was a very creative time for the band,” Wright told Radio.com Brian Ives, in a never-before-released interview from 1997. “Roger, myself and Dave were all co-writing the whole thing … Yes, it was the height of the band as a democracy. Although Wish You Were Here had a lot of co-written material, from (1977′s) Animals onward, it tended to be material written by individuals.”

That individual, of course, being Waters — who would ultimately fire Wright during the sessions for 1979′s The Wall. “Dark Side was written in the studio all together,” Wright added.

As part of the tour in support of The Division Bell four years before, Gilmour, Wright and founding drummer Nick Mason had revisited Dark Side, and that gave Wright fresh insights into its lasting intrigue in 1997.

“One thing that struck me was how fresh it sounded,” Wright said. “It struck a nerve … people want to listen to the whole thing and have that experience. It’s not just a collection of pop songs. In the technical sense, the way we recorded it, the quality of the instruments and the voices, it’s outstanding. That’s not boasting. I’m very proud of it.”

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  • Sadia

    Great article! I actually had a good time studying it, keep doing all the hard work.