Richard William Wright was born on 28th July, 1943, in Hatch End, London. His parents, Bridie and Cedric Wright had two other children, Selina and Guinevere. He quickly developed an interest in jazz and classical piano.
Studying architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic in London, he met and formed a band with Roger Waters on bass, Nick Mason on drums, Bob Klose on guitar, Syd Barrett on guitars and vocals and Rick himself on keys. Initially they played R&B, but changed style when Bob Klose left. They became one of the premier art-rock bands in London, becoming synonymous with the underground scene in the city. They took the name Pink Floyd after bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. On their debut album, The Piper of The Gates At Dawn, Barrett was the clear leader but Wright managed to sing lead on one song, Matilda Mother and sang harmony on Astronomy Domine.
By 1968 Barrett's mind was an acid casualty, so David Gilmour was brought in to replace him. Initially the group operated democratically, with Wright, Gilmour, Mason, and Waters all writing their own compositions. Wright's trademark was playing his piano through a Leslie speaker, which, coupled with Gilmour's guitar playing, became the musical foundation for the band. On several occasions, Wright would sing with Gilmour on the same song, providing tonal variety and balance to the vocals.
Unfortunately, by 1977 Waters became power hungry, and he saw Wright (as well as David Gilmour) as a rival for creative control of the band. After the 1977 Animals tour, Wright retreated to southern France and recorded a solo album, 1978's Wet Dream (right before bandmate David Gilmour began recording his own solo debut at the sane studio). However, he was initially not happy with the end result and did little to promote it. Waters fired Wright in 1979, during the final recording sessions for The Wall.
When the ambitious tour for The Wall came underway, Waters temporarily rehired Wright as a sideman. Wright agreed, as he had two children to support.
Wright teamed with Dave Harris from Fashion to form a duo called Zee. Their one album, Identity (1984), was a critical and commercial failure.
In 1987, he rejoined Pink Floyd, now minus Roger Waters towards the end of the recording of the A Momentary Lapse of Reason album. He was again, a salaried employee. Richard would be reinstated as a band member in 1992. For Pink Floyd's final studio album, 1994's Division Bell, he co wrote five songs. He also sang lead vocals on a Pink Floyd record for the first time in over 20 years. He followed that with another studio album, the ambient Broken China (1996).
In 2005, he performed alongside Gilmour, Mason and Waters when Pink Floyd reunited for Live 8.
In 2002, he made a cameo at David Gilmour's semi-acoustic shows in London, later going on to perform and sing on Gilmour's solo album "On An Island". When Gilmour toured the album in 2006, he was part of the band, alongside his son-in-law Guy Pratt. Invited by his one-time nemesis Waters to perform at one of his London shows in 2006, he declined, saying he was working on a solo album.
Richard died on 15 September, 2008 from cancer at the age of 65.