Deeper Digs in Rock: Gary Wright

In this new series from The Rock n Roll Archaeology Project, host Christian Swain goes behind the scenes, on the road and further explores subjects surrounding the culture, technology and music that make Rock n Roll the magic that it is!

In this special episode of Deeper Digs in Rock, Christian had the privilege of chatting with the one and only Gary Wright of  the classic rock hits “Dream Weaver” and “Love Is Alive.” Gary sits down and we get behind-the-scenes latest album released on July 29, 2016 - a lost treasure from 1972 -'Ring of Changes'.

The Album Features Wonderwheel,his band with future Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones, including a guest appearance by George Harrison on slide guitar.

Keyboardist Gary Wright is the New Jersey-born psychology student who landed in London at the height of the rock revolution in 1967, where he founded Spooky Tooth and had a successful solo career producing the classic hits “Dream Weaver” and “Love Is Alive.” Wright recorded Ring of Changes in 1972 with Wonderwheel, a band featuring Mick Jones, who would go on to found Foreigner, Lindisfarne bassist Tom Duffey and John Bonham-influenced drummer Bryson Graham, with Jones and Graham later joining him and Mike Harrison in a reunited Spooky Tooth. The planned follow-up to Wright’s two previous solo albums for A&M Records, 1970’s Extraction and 1971’s Footprint, the finished record was released for the first time to digital retailers through UMe and as a CD by Cherry Red internationally on July 29.

“I hadn’t listened to it in 40 years, but when I put it on, I thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe this was never released,’” says Wright. “It was more of a rock album than what I had done, but I think it stands up alongside anything that you might hear being played on Classic Rock radio around the world. I hope that people will be surprised by the material. I’m proud of it and I’m glad it’s finally coming out so everyone can hear what we did all those years ago.”

Produced by Wright and one of the first albums to be recorded at the newly opened Apple Studios on Saville Row, Ring of Changes is remarkably eclectic in style, ranging from the funky blues of “Goodbye Sunday,” with lyrics by Gary’s sister Lorna Lee, featuring a George Harrison slide guitar solo that sounds like an outtake from All Things Must Pass (which Wright famously played on) to the Crosby, Stills & Nash folk-rock harmonies and Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” feel of the album’s epic closer, “Creation.” 

Wright, who was originally introduced to George Harrison by his Hamburg mate Klaus Voormann, who played bass on Gary’s first two solo albums, explains how the Beatle ended up playing slide guitar on “Goodbye Sunday,” which was not the first time either. Harrison had previously played on Footprint under the pseudonym George O’Hara.

“We were in the studio and I was showing him the song,” explains Wright. “He just started playing slide guitar and came up with that line, which I think really worked.”

Wright was an American student in Germany when he formed the band the New York Tymes, who were the openers for Traffic’s very first gig in Oslo, Norway, where he was introduced by his New Jersey buddy, producer Jimmy Miller, to Island chief Chris Blackwell, who put Gary with members of a band called Art to form Spooky Tooth.

Ring of Changes offers proof that some things never change, even after 44 years—like the appeal of great rock music.

Please purchase or stream this album wherever you listen to great music!

The complete album track list for Ring of Changes:

1.   Lovetaker
2.   Wild Bird
3.   Something for Us All
4.   Set on You
5.   Ring of Changes
6.   Goodbye Sunday
7.   For a Woman
8.   Workin’ on a River
9.   Creation
10. I Know (bonus track)
11. What Can We Do (bonus track)
12. Somebody (bonus track)