Gary Wright, the musician finest recognized for his hit singles “Dream Weaver” and “Love Is Alive,” has died. He was 80. Wright’s son Dorian confirmed the information to Selection; no explanation for loss of life was introduced.
He was a founding member of the U.Ok.-based Spooky Tooth and was a member from 1967 to 1970, and was an in-demand session participant from the late ’60s on, taking part in on most of George Harrison’s solo albums — together with his epochal 1970 debut, “All Issues Should Go” — and on Ringo Starr’s early singles and, a lot later, with Starr’s All-Starr Band. But he can be finest remembered for the mid-Seventies hits talked about above, which had been a part of a vaguely mystical, synthesizer-driven fashion of hit single of the period — Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle” is one other instance — and which noticed him showing on many music reveals, sporting satin gear and rocking a keytar.
A local of New Jersey, Wright was a toddler actor who appeared on Broadway in a model of “Fanny.” He later determined to turn into a physician and traveled to Berlin to check drugs, however continued taking part in with bands, together with one referred to as the New York Instances. Whereas that group was on a 1967 tour of Europe with Visitors, Wright met Chris Blackwell, founding father of Visitors’s label, Island Information — the 2 additionally had a mutual pal in Visitors/Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller — who was impressed with the younger musician’s expertise and satisfied him to return to London. There, Blackwell teamed him up with pianist Mike Harrison and drummer Mike Kellie and, with Wright as singer and organist, Spooky Tooth was fashioned.
The band’s first two albums, “It’s All About” and 1969’s “Spooky Two,” ‘”Spooky Two,” each of which had been produced by Miller and featured Wright cowriting each tune, weren’t chart successes, created a serious buzz in musicians’ circles. The members had been all recruited for session work and their songs had been coated by many British bands, with the Transfer taking part in “Sunshine Assist Me” frequently and Judas Priest overlaying “Higher by You, Higher Than Me.” Nonetheless, the group’s third album, “Ceremony,” was a artistic misstep and Wright left the band in 1970.
He signed with A&M Information and launched a powerful solo album, “Extraction,” in 1970, and two gamers on that albums — drummer Alan White and bassist Klaus Voorman — introduced Wright into the Beatles’ orbit. Whereas Harrison was recording “All Issues Should Go” with producer Phil Spector, the latter characteristically referred to as for extra musicians. Voorman steered Wright, who occurred to be taking part in a unique session throughout city — upon getting the decision, he canceled that session and dashed over to EMI’s storied Abbey Highway studios, the place he started a friendship with Harrison that was to endure for the remainder of their lives. He performed on all of Harrison’s solo albums and a number of associated tasks, together with Ringo Starr’s early singles “It Don’t Come Straightforward” and “Again Off Boogaloo”; Harrison even backed Wright throughout an look on American TV’s “Dick Cavett Present” in 1971.
The next yr he reformed Spooky Tooth and launched two albums whereas persevering with to work with Harrison, with whom he shared an curiosity in Jap religions; the 2 traveled to India collectively in 1974.
After the reformed group break up once more, Wright relocated to New York and united with energy supervisor Dee Anthony (who managed Humble Pie and soon-to-be celebrity Peter Frampton) and signed with Warner Bros. Information. His first album for the label, “The Dream Weaver” — with a title monitor impressed by his journey to India with Harrison — was launched in 1975, and whereas the one was a gradual builder, by the next spring it was a serious hit and Wright had turn into a serious star. Nonetheless, it was practically two years earlier than he adopted with “The Mild of Smiles,” and his subsequent efforts didn’t method his earlier success. His final charting single was 1981’s “Actually Wanna Know You.”
Within the following years, Wright specialised in instrumental and soundtrack work — though he made a shock look within the 1992 movie “Wayne’s World,” singing a re-recorded model of “Dream Weaver” — however he returned to extra standard rock music and issued a sequence of albums, with the final one, “Related,” being launched in 2010. He reformed Spooky Tooth once more in 2004, and toured regularly, as a solo act and with Ringo’s All-Starr Band.
His songs have continued to be coated — Chaka Khan recorded a blazing model of “Love Is Alive” for her 1984 smash album “I Really feel for You” — and sampled by artists starting from Jay-Z to Tone-Loc.
Extra reporting by Michaela Zee.