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Meet Gary Wright [PHOTOS, VIDEOS]

Gary Wright vinyl & digital.
New Jersey’s Gary Wright, through the 1970s. (Craig Allen photo)

Gary Wright. Child Actor, Solo Artist, New Jersey native! On A “Proud To Be New Jersey Weekend!”

Gary Malcolm Wright was born in Cresskill New Jersey, on April 26th 1943.  He grew up in Cresskill, and is a graduate of Tenafly High School.

Wright was bitten by the showbiz bug early in life. He started out as a child actor, appearing on Broadway! He was the original “Acolyte” in the 1954 long-running production of “Fanny.” Later, he played the part of Fanny’s son, “Cesario.”

QUICK! Who’s-Who Pop Quiz! Who played the part of Fanny? A young Florence Henderson, who would achieve stardom in the 1970s as the mom on “The Brady Bunch!”

Gary Wright began his recording career in 1959, recording as part of the duo “Gary & Billy.” The songs “Working After School” and “Lisa” were released on the “20th Century Fox” records label.

In the 1960s, Wright went to Europe to study psychology. Yes, he has a degree!

In 1967, Gary toured Germany as a singer/songwriter. After meeting Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, Wright moved to London, and founded the band “Spooky Tooth.” He was a singer and keyboardist in the band.

spooky tooth
“Gary Wright’s Old Band” (amazon.com photo)

Gary Wright also worked as a record producer. He met George Harrison around 1970, and as one of London’s elite session musicians, he played piano on the former-Beatle’s “All Things Must Pass” album.

After “Spooky Tooth” split in 1974, Gary Wright concentrated on a solo career. His signing a deal with Warner Brothers Records would lead to two of “Jersey’s Favorite Hits!”

“Dream Weaver” (#2, 1976)…

(BTW: In 1991, Wright would re-make Dream Weaver for the “Wayne’s World” soundtrack, introducing the song to a new generation of fans.)

http://youtu.be/wCc7XJRDD74

…and “Love Is Alive” (#2, 1976).

The Dream Weaver Album featured the first-ever all keyboard/synthesizer band! Its use of the synthesizer, and drum machines, impacts pop music to this day.

 

dream weaver cd
Dream Weaver on CD (Craig Allen photo)

The Dream Weaver album would rack up album sales of two million…and sell two million singles as well! Heady stuff!

Then, Gary Wright hit somewhat of a dry spell when it came to radio hits. Certainly BIG radio hits, like the two above that hit #2!

phantom writer
Phantom Writer on SIDE A. (Craig Allen photo)

One of the most interesting singles that didn’t get much attention is “Phantom Writer.”

The song “bubbled under” the “Top 40,” landing at #43 in early 1977. If you listen closely to the words, the song touches on spirituality and self-awareness, as  by understood by Mr. Wright. I’ve really enjoyed this song since re-discovering it, a few months ago…

Incidentally, Gary Wright has professed a great interest in Indian culture and philosophy, since being introduced to it in 1972, by George Harrison.

really want to know you
This album contain’s Gary Wright’s last chart hit. (amazon.com photo)

In 1981, Gary Wright returned to the “Hot 100″ charts with “Really Want To Know You.”  The song landed at #16.

Another under-appreciated song (in my opinion), this was Wright’s last chart hit.

essentials
(amazon.com photo)

Several “Best Of” compilations have been released since the 1990s.

Gary Wright continues to record (new) albums to this day!

Connected
Connected (Gary Wright Official Site photo)

His 2010 album “Connected” features guest appearances from Ringo Starr & Joe Walsh (talk about connections!).

In 2008 and 2010, Wright toured with “Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band,” along with fellow “Jersey’s Favorite Hits” artists: Rick Derringer (“Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo”) and Edgar Winter (“Frankenstein” & “Free Ride”). Check out Wright’s “live” comments, and the concert video!

Gary Wright lives in Palos Verdes Estates, California.  He is married to Rose, and has two grown sons named Dorian and Justin. Coincidentally, Dorian gets a recording credit on his father’s 2008 re-recorded version of “Love Is Alive.”

What is Gary Wright up to NOW? Click here to check out his official site!

Long live New Jersey’s own Gary Wright, on a “Proud To Be New Jersey Weekend!”

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