Singer-songwriter Gary Wright, best known for his groundbreaking album “The Dream Weaver,” has died. He was 80.
Wright died Monday at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, a suburb of Los Angeles, his sons Justin and Dorian confirmed to ABC News and Variety, respectively.
Wright’s son Justin told ABC News that his father had been battling Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia for the last six years.
Born in April 1943 in New Jersey, Wright found some success as the keyboardist for the British hard rock band Spooky Tooth. After the group disbanded, Wright devoted his efforts to his solo music career, releasing the albums “Extraction” and “Footprint” in 1970 and 1971, respectively.
Wright also lent his musical talents to his peers. The singer played keyboards on Beatle George Harrison’s 1970 album “All Things Must Pass.”
Wright’s 1975 album “The Dream Weaver” became his breakthrough hit, with a pair of No. 2 singles in 1976: “Dream Weaver” and “Love is Alive.” The soft rock album was also recognized as one of the first rock albums to feature only synthesizers.
“It was a big deal creatively because I had been working with basically a guitar-oriented band, which was Spooky Tooth,” Wright told The Daytona Beach News-Journal, part of the USA TODAY network, in 2011. “I had never consciously sat down and said, ‘I’m going to do an all-keyboard album.’ It just fell into place as I was writing the songs for the album.”
The album went on to sell 2 million copies, and its title track, “Dream Weaver,” has been featured in films such as “Wayne’s World, “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Toy Story 3.”