Rick Wright’s Top 10 Albums Of All Time

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press

In 1996 a journalist from Record Collector magazine caught up with Pink Floyd‘s Rick Wright. While Wright could at this point be considered to be semi-retired from Pink Floyd, he had just completed work on solo album Broken China. While the keyboardist confessed that at 51 didn’t listen to as much music as he used to, he and his interviewer dug through his extensive collection of records to find 10 of his all-time favorites. Having selected his top 10 this is what Rick had to say.

The Band, Music From Big Pink (1969)

I remember seeing The Band at the Albert Hall in the late sixties,” Wright recalled. “I can virtually hear them singing ‘The Weight’ at that gig even now. The way
the song is sung is so emotional I really can hardly describe it… The Band were the best thing happening at that time.”

Jeff Beck, Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop With Terry Bozzio And Tony Hymas (1989)

As far as rock guitarists go he’s got to be my all-time hero,” Rick shared of the British guitarist often celebrated British guitarist. “He started as
a blues guitarist just like Eric Clapton, but he’s investigated the possibilities of the instrument much more. You probably won’t know this, but when Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd we actually asked Jeff Beck to join.”

Aaron Copeland,  Appalachian Spring: Bernstein Conducts Copland (1962)

Aaron Copland is an American classical composer,” Rick Wright explained, “and this is his most famous work. I discovered him back in the late sixties after hearing something on the radio. Like all of my favorite music, there’s something in his material that touches me; I think it’s the chordal progression and the melodic lines just above them that do it for me here – and the fact that it’s very peaceful. When I listen to a lot of the stuff that I’ve played over the years I feel I’ve been heavily influenced by Copland, albeit subconsciously.”

Miles Davis, Porgy And Bess (1959)

I could quite happily give you 10 Miles Davis records as my ten favorite records of all time,” the keyboardist joked. “Porgy And Bess is a brilliant record – the nearest thing to hearing a trumpet being made to sound like the human voice… If I was forced to pick an all-time favorite record, this would probably be it.

Brian Eno & David Byrne, My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (1981)

I’ve often eulogized Eno’s musical abilities,” Rick enthuses, “but alongside his talent, he’s also a very nice guy. [My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts] knocked me sideways when I first heard it – full of drum loops, samples, and soundscapes, stuff that we really take for granted now, but which was unheard of in all but the most progressive musical circles at the time… And as if that wasn’t enough there was also David Byrne’s voice, which in itself is almost worth buying any album for.”

Peter Gabriel, Passion (1989)

I admire just about everything Peter Gabriel has ever done,” Wright stated of the former Genesis frontman, “From progressive to world music to pop, he’s a great man with great ideas. Oh, and he’s a great musician.

Steely Dan, The Royal Scam (1976)

Another wonderful band,” he continued, “There’s something about the title track that insists I listen to it immediately. I might not have heard it for six or seven years, but it’s been implanted in my brain and that’s what I think makes favorite records, things that you can’t get out of your head.”

Talking Heads, Remain In Light (1980)

Remain In Light really knocked me out with all the cross-rhythms,” Rick Wright shares of his second Byrne and Eno affiliated choice. “The bass never seems to come in where you’d expect it. If you want to hear some incredible rhythmic things that are really working then the title track’s the place to be. Of course, I didn’t analyze it when I first heard it, but I just knew that there was something different going on. Eno does it all the time as well, which is probably why he and David Byrne get on so well.”

Henryk Górecki, Symphony Number 3 (1992)

Although Górecki is a classical composer,” Rick Wright closed off, “I think of this music as being in the same space as Gabriel or Eno, peaceful and ethereal. The voice on it is incredible too; it’s used just like another instrument, so the whole feel is almost ambient. I admit the word suggests a lot of terrible music, but it’s still the best way of describing the floaty sort of feel to it.

Talk Talk, The Colour Of Spring (1986)

The simplicity of the songs and Mark Hollis’s voice make this album just incredible,” Rick shared of the now-departed Talk Talk vocalist. “The first tune, ‘Happiness Is Easy’, says it all – nothing but a bass, a snare, and a weird chord… Pink Floyd have never done anything that straightforward, except maybe ‘Wish You Were Here‘… Why does it touch me? Hard to say, but it’s got the feelgood factor, which all my favorite records have. I wouldn’t choose anything that didn’t make me feel happy.”

In Other News


Feature Reads