‘Dream Weaver’ Singer Gary Wright Passed Away, Aged 80

Dream Weaver Gary Wright
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Dream Weaver Gary Wright
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Photo Credit: Dharma Bumstead / CC by 4.0

Musician Gary Wright, best known for his hit single “Dream Weaver,” has passed away at age 80.

Musician and New Jersey native Gary Wright, best known for his hit singles “Dream Weaver” and “Love is Alive,” has died at age 80. His sons Dorian and Justin confirmed that he passed away on Monday morning in his home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family and loved ones. His sons also confirmed he had had Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia for the past six years.

Wright was a founding member of the UK-based Spooky Tooth and was a sought-after session player beginning in the late ’60s. He played on all of George Harrison’s solo albums, Ringo Starr’s early singles and his later work with Starr’s All-Starr Band, and songs by B.B. King, Harry Nilsson, and Tim Rose.

Growing up in New Jersey, Gary Wright was a child actor from an early age who appeared on Broadway in a version of “Fanny.” In his adult life, he decided to pursue medicine and traveled to Berlin to study to become a doctor, but he continued playing with bands.

While on a 1967 tour in Europe with a group called the New York Times, Wright met Chris Blackwell, founder of the group Traffic’s record label, Island Records, who convinced him to come to London. There, he formed the band Spooky Tooth with pianist Mike Harrison and drummer Mike Kellie, with Wright as keyboardist/organist and singer.

Although Spooky Tooth’s first two albums didn’t chart well, their work was well-received among musicians, and the band’s members were all recruited for session work. Their songs were covered by artists including Three Dog Night (“I’ve Got Enough Heartache”), The Move (“Sunshine Help Me”), and Judas Priest (“Better By You, Better Than Me”). Wright officially parted ways with the band after their third album in 1970.

After a solid solo career that saw him brought into the Beatles’ orbit, Wright reformed Spooky Tooth in 1972 and released two albums while continuing his work primarily with George Harrison, with whom he traveled to India in 1974.

Spooky Tooth would again disband, and Wright moved to New York and signed with Warner Bros. Records. There, he released “The Dream Weaver,” his first album under the label — with a title track inspired by his trip to India — in 1975. That song became a major hit the following year.

In the ’80s, Wright began focusing on instrumental and soundtrack work and continued to do so until 2010. In 2004, he reformed Spooky Tooth again and toured frequently, sometimes with Ringo’s All-Starr Band.