Synthesiser pioneer and singer of the hit song Dream Weaver Gary Wright has died aged 80, his sons have said.
Wright, who played the keyboard on George Harrison’s 1970 album All Things Must Pass, had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia, reports TMZ. He had been living with Parkinson’s for between five and six years his sons said.
Justin Wright told the US outlet that his dad’s Parkinson’s progressed rapidly over the past year, leading him to struggle with moving about and talking. He is said to have died at home in Palos Verdes Estates, California surrounded by his loved ones on Monday, September 4.
Wright was best known for his songs Dream Weaver and Love is Alive, which both peaked at No 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Samples of his tracks had been used from a host of musicians ranging from Jay-Z to Eminem, with Chaka Khan’s version of Love is Alive being a hit, reports the Guardian.
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Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop paid tribute to Wright on X. He wrote: “Gary’s vibrant personality and exceptional talent made every moment together truly enjoyable. His legacy will live on for many years to come.
“I will always cherish the warmth and kindness shown to me by Gary and his wife Rose, and I will forever hold dear the stories he shared with me about days gone by.”
Born in New Jersey, Wright was a child actor before carving out a music career. But it was his decision to learn the piano and organ that changed his direction in life.
His album The Dream Weaver was one of the first rock albums to be produced purely using a synth. He was also one of the first to perform on stage with a portable keyboard.
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Wright credited his musical influences as Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Beatles, along with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and James Brown.
He released 11 albums as a solo artist. In 2014 Wright released a memoir entitled Dream Weaver: A Memoir; Music, Meditation, and My Friendship with George Harrison.
He was survived by his wife of 38 years, Rose, and their two children Justin and Dorian.
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