RIP: Gary Wright

Gary Wright, the singer/songwriter best known for his hits Dreamweaver and Love is Alive, died yesterday at the age of 80.  Mr. Wright had dealt with Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia for several years.

Gary Wright was a child actor.  He was just seven when appeared on the tv show  Captain Video and His Video Rangers.  As a child he appeared in radio and television commercials.  He appeared in the Broadway production of the musical Fanny with Florence Henderson.  The two also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show to promote the play.

Gary Wright also had a love of music and began playing with local rock bands while in high school.  He continued to play in bands while working on a medical degree in college.  Mr. Wright decided to quite college and focus on music.  He joined a band called Spooky Tooth which put out three albums.

In 1970, Gary Wright decided to quit the band and focus on a solo career.  When he was invited to play piano on former Beatle, George Harrison’s first album, Mr. Wright accepted.  Gary Wright would go on to play on all of George Harrison’s albums in the 1970s.  Mr. Wright also played on Ringo Starr’s hits  “It Don’t Come Easy” and “Back Off Boogaloo”.  As Gary Wright worked on his solo career he was often requested to play with other recording stars such as Harry Nilsson, BB King and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Gary Wright hit it big in 1978 with the one-two punch of Dream Weaver and Love is Alive.  Dream Weaver sold over 1 million copies, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold.  Love is Alive from the same album also hit #2 helping to drive the album to double platinum status.

In the early 1980s, Gary Wright also began making music for feature films. Some of the films featuring Gary Wright’s music include: Endangered Species; Staying Alive; Cobra; Wayne’s World; The People vs Larry Flynt; Coyote Ugly; Daddy Day Care; Toy Story 3; Safehouse and The Great Gatsby.

Gary Wright would continue to write, play, record and tour for the rest of his career.

I was surprised that Dream Weaver wasn’t a number one hit.  It played all the time and everyone loved it.  Dream Weaver was the song that made Gary Wright a world wide celebrity even though professional musicians knew who he was and often requested his services.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gary Wright’s family, friends and fans.