Gary Wright, ‘The Dream Weaver’, Dead At 80

Synthesist and songwriter Gary Wright, who helped pioneer the use of synthesizer in rock and pop with 70s hits like Dream Weaver & Love Is Alive, is dead at the age of 80.

News of Wright’s death was shared by songwriter Stephen Bishop, who said that “Gary’s vibrant personality and exceptional talent made every moment together truly enjoyable. His legacy will live on for many years to come.”

Gary Wright (1943 – 2023) helped establish the synthesizer in popular music with his album The Dream Weaver (1975), which was arranged almost entirely for keyboards, vocals and drums. While some bands of the time were proclaiming that no synthesizers were used in making their albums, Wright embraced synths and keyboards completely, playing Hammond organ, Clavinet, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Minimoog and ARP String Ensemble.

Wright’s The Dream Weaver sounded nothing like the music of his contemporaries. When his lushly arranged, synth-heavy tracks were topping the charts, they were playing alongside Johnnie Taylor’s Disco Lady, the Bellamy Brothers Let your Love Flow and Bowie’s Golden Years.

Here’s Wright’s Love Is Alive, with video from the Midnight Special, showcasing his fantastic arrangement for synths, drums and vocals:

Wright’s career included more than a dozen solo albums, leading the band Spooky Tooth, being George Harrison’s ‘go-to keyboard player’, new age albums, soundtracks and more. But on the merits of his album The Dream Weaver alone, he had already earned a place in the pantheon of the synth gods.

10 thoughts on “Gary Wright, ‘The Dream Weaver’, Dead At 80

  1. I hope he is floating among those Moon Clouds! I always admired this tune in particular, The background Electric piano counterpoint riffs, and those spacey drones and pads… It was a was something I always associated with dreamy late night FM radio.

  2. ‘I Really Wanna Know You’ -Gary Wright ,was just a Really(without being somewhat redundant) great{understatedlyunderrated}song by the fantastic: Gary Malcom Wright (RIP) [for if it weren’t for whom i wouldn’t ofever play’d keyboards or synths & also inspiring the where withall tooo take up the pursuit even, thanx forevermore¡!] folks¡

  3. I was lucky enough to meet Gary Wright at a recording studio back in the 90s. Very lovely person. I believe it was around that time he was working with George Harrison and others to seek out artists whose music was positive and making the world a better place. That conversation stuck with me.

  4. Interesting, that second clip features a very young Steve Porcaro on synths (still a talented teenager in ’76). Didn’t know he was involved with Gary Wright..

  5. I hadnt thought about Dream Weaver for decades. Last night I played it note for note at rehearsal. Some things just get burned permanently into a teenager’s mind. Like that bowel loosening bass. Hope you’re making bell bottoms flap on a celestial plane Gary.

  6. Lotta stuff in that giant (heavy) rig Mr. Gary Wright. Except no damper pedal for the piano? How did you play the intro to Dream Weaver?

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