The keyboardist Richard Wright helped to form Pink Floyd in 1965 alongside Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Syd Barrett. He remained a member of the group until 1979 when he was fired or forced out of the band by Roger Waters during the recording of “The Wall”. He still toured with the band in 1980 and 1981 as a hired musician, only recording with them again in 1987 on “Momentary Lapse of Reason”, the group’s first album without Waters. But he only became an official member of the band again afterwards and “The Division Bell”, released in 1994, was the first album of the band he was credited as a member again.
Although it has famous tracks and it was praised by fans and critics, Wright wasn’t entirely happy with “The Division Bell”.
Why Richard Wright wasn’t happy with Pink Floyd’s “The Division Bell”
One of the main things that bothered fans and critics on “Momentary Lapse of Reason” (1987) was that it had so many songwriters and session musicians that it didn’t sound like Pink Floyd. Although “The Division Bell” also had other session musicians, Mason and Wright were more present. The keyboardist co-wrote some tracks and even was the lead vocalist in “Wearing Inside Out”. But as he told Mark Blake in 1996, he believed it could have been a better album. Especially if it was more “thematic” like the classic Pink Floyd albums.
“I think we could have gone further towards making a Floyd album as we used to. More thematic, with all the music having a logical link. That’s something I think a lot of the band’s fans like. It was something I wanted to achieve with my own record.”
“There are a lot of other aspects of the record that I was very happy about, such as being able to contribute to the writing. My influence can be heard on tracks like ‘Marooned’ and ‘Cluster One’. Those were the kind of things that I gave to Floyd in the past. It was good that they were now getting used again,” Richard Wright said. The “Division Bell” was produced by Bob Ezrin and David Gilmour peaked at number one on the charts in more than 10 countries.
Wright said it was frustrating to make “The Division Bell”
Although he was happy to once again be a full member of Pink Floyd and would make a new album with them, Wright also said it was frustrating to make “The Division Bell”. He also recalled that making the album inspired him to do his second solo album “Broken China”, released in 1996.
“It was while we were recording the last Floyd Album, ‘The Division’ Bell. The idea for this record was inspired, sadly, by my personal experiences with a close friend who was suffering from depression. I wanted to express my feelings about what I was seeing. It wasn’t a healing process, as such, as I wasn’t the person suffering. But it made me come to terms with my own feelings about what I was witnessing.”
“When we made ‘The Division Bell’, I was part of the whole creative process again. Because I was writing again rather than just playing on the material. But I felt that it wasn’t going in the right direction all the time. I like the record, but it was also frustrating. As a writer you can always end up disagreeing with the people you’re working with about certain things. I felt that it was time I did something for myself.”
“I very much enjoyed playing live on The Division Bell tour. So when I came home, the last thing I wanted to do was sit around and do nothing. As I had been gathering ideas for my own album. I made arrangements to go into my studio and start writing,” Richard Wright said.
Although “The Division Bell” was the final album Pink Floyd really made together, the band released in 2014 “Endless River”, an album of mainly instrumental tracks released six years after Wright’s death. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 65, a victim of lung cancer.