As far back as the late 70's, Wright was challenging audiences with pioneering instrumentation and cutting-edge keyboard technology. He has been a longtime collaborator and creative influence to fellow artists ranging from his contemporaries George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Mick Jones (of Foreigner) and Joe Cocker — to 90's “rap” artists Third Base, Ton Loc, and Busta Rhymes, as well as, Eminem, Salt-N-Pepa, Joan Osborne, Anastacia, and Mya.
It was in 1967, after earning a degree in psychology and then touring Germany as a singer/songwriter, that Wright met Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and moved to London where he formed the rock group, “Spooky Tooth.” That year Island released the group's first record, “It's All About,” which immediately won critical acclaim and launched the group on a successful career that included sellout U.S. tours with rock legends Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones and culminated in the band's classic second album, “Spooky Two.”
In the early 1970's Wright took a brief hiatus from Spooky Tooth to produce records for Traffic and Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller's production company. He quickly became a part of London's elite session musicians, playing keyboards on George Harrison's classic “All Things Must Pass,” which also featured Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Phil Collins and other greats. Thus began a continuing musical relationship with Harrison that embraced playing keyboards, as well as, co-writing several songs on George's subsequent albums.
Together with Harrison, Wright visited India in 1974 as a guest of Ravi Shankar. That visit fostered the development of a long term relationship with Shankar, as well as, some of India's other leading classical artists which ultimately blossomed in his award-winning 1988 album, “Who I Am,” on Cypress Records, that used an all-star cast of musicians including a South Indian percussion section and performances by classical Indian masters Lakshmi Shankar and L. Subramanian.
After two critically praised albums on A & M Records, “Extraction” and “Footprint” and three more with a revived Spooky Tooth including Mick Jones (later of Foreigner), Gary signed a solo deal with Warner Bros. Records in 1974. His ground-breaking 1975 release “The Dream Weaver” streatched the pop music envelope by featuring the first-ever all keyboard/synthesizer band, and by pioneering technologies in cut down versions of synthesizers and drum machines that revolutionized the musical instrument business and changed the sound of pop, rock and r&b forever.
In 1976 the song “Dream Weaver” hit #1 in the charts and it's follow-up release “Love is Alive” climbed to #2. In all, “The Dream Weaver” resulted in sales of over 2 million albums and 2 million singles. In a business where even the biggest success is often written in the wind, the popular appeal of Wright's songwriting genius has endured. In 1991, Warner Bros. Records asked Gary to remake “Dream Weaver” for the “Wayne's World” movie soundtrack — which went on to become Billboard's #1 soundtrack album, selling over 2 million copies, “Dream Weaver” was also featured in the Golden Globe winner “The people vs Larry Flynt.”
The year 2001 brought 2 new versions of “Love is Alive” — one by Anastacia, whose International sales topped 3.5 million — the other by Joan Osborne whose version became the first single for the Michael Douglas/Matt Dylan film, “One Night at McCools.” In addition, “Dream Weaver” and “Love is Alive” were featured in the films “Daddy Day Care” and “Coyote Ugly” respectively. Eminem recorded one of Gary's songs and re-titled it “Spend some Time” on his “Encore” album, and DJ Armand Van Helden sampled “Comin' Apary” from “The Right Place” album and renamed it “mymymy.” The track became a huge hit in Europe and Asia selling over 4 million copies.
Gary Wright's creative output has also extended to film scoring, with music for the Alan Rudolph thriller “Endangered Species,” the Sylvester Stallone-directed “Stayin' Alive,” the Oscar-winning German film “Fire and Ice” and the 2000 Imax release “Ski to the Max” — both directed by Willie Bogner. It has included Gary's 1995 world music album, “First Signs of Life,” which incorporated music and percussion from Brazil and Nigeria, and featured guest appearances by George Harrison and Terry Bozzio. It continues with his current solo effort “Human Love,” a studio album on which Gary is joined by guest artists Jeff Lynne, L. Shankar and Steve Farris.
The year 2007 marked the 40th anniversary of Spooky Tooth and ushered in the release of Nomad Poets live DVD featuring Gary and original members Mike Harrison and Mike Kellie. The band followed it up with sold out European tours in 2008 and 2009. During this stretch, Spooky Tooth was invited by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Island, by performing at a concert in London in May 2009 along such artists as U2, Grace Jones, Amy Winehouse, Keane, Sly and Robbie and Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens).
In 2008, Gary became the newest touring member of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band before releasing an instrumental album of ambient music called Waiting To Catch the Light and an EP called The Light of a Million Suns that featured a duet with his son, Dorian, on a re-record of his hit song “Love is Alive.”
As Gary Wright begins another new decade as a musical pioneer, this one was immediately highlighted by the June 8, 2010 release of Connected, his first pop-rock album in over twenty years and a brillian culmination of Wright's vast life experiences, songwriting ability and production know-how. Connected also continues a life-long tradition of embracing esteemed musical camaradarie as the album's first single “Satisfied” which includes performances by Ringo Starr on drums, along with Joe Walsh and Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter on guitar.
In addition to shows throughout 2010 with his own band to support his new album, Gary once again traversed the U.S. during that summer, touring as a member of Ringo's band, as well as, doing a European and South American tour in 2011 with Ringo. “Dream Weaver” was also prominently featured in Disney's Toy Story 3 movie, as well as, in an episode of “Glee” and the series of “Once Upon a Time.”
Gary also appeared in Martin Scorcese's highly-anticipated George Harrison biopic “Living in the Material World,” and Jay Z and Kanye West recently used a sample from Gary's first release with Spooky Toothy, “Sunshine Help Me” on their latest album. The track, “No Church in the Wild also appears in the new Denzyl Washington film “Safe House” as well as in “The Great Gatsby.” Gary is currently writing a new book titled “The Dream Weaver” which is his autobiography. The book contains stories of the years he spent with George Harrison and their spiritual journey together. It will also be released as an E book with rare photos and unreleased music.