Not everyone could count George Harrison in their friend group, but singer, keyboardist and songwriter Gary Wright was among the elite.
How Klaus Voormann Introduced Gary Wright and George Harrison
In the spring of 1970, Wright had just left Spooky Tooth and was in the beginning stages of launching a solo career. That’s when he got a call from friend Klaus Voormann, who had played bass on Wright’s debut solo album, Extraction. Voormann, a longtime Beatles collaborator, asked if Wright would be able to come to Abbey Road Studios where he, Harrison and Phil Spector were working on Harrison’s new album.
Thirty minutes later Wright was being introduced to Harrison, one of his all-time heroes. Still, there was a sense of tranquility in the room, as he later recalled. “I had really never met anyone quite like George before. He didn’t seem to be on some huge ego trip like other artists I had met over the years,” Wright wrote in his 2014 book Dream Weaver: A Memoir; Music, Meditation and My Friendship With George Harrison. “His aura was calm, and his being exuded a subtle spiritual magnetism. Yet, at the same time, he was someone who was very focused in the here and now.”
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Wright wound up contributing piano and organ to Harrison’s landmark album All Things Must Passbut it wasn’t the end of their working relationship. He went on to play on six more Harrison albums: Living in the Material World (1973), Dark Horse (1974), Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975), Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976), George Harrison (1979) and Cloud Nine (1987).
Somewhere along the way, Harrison gifted Wright a copy of Autobiography of a Yogithe 1946 book written by Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda. It referenced Yogananda’s poem “God! God! God!,” which included the line: “When my mind weaves dreams.” Harrison told Wright that he’d also given a copy to President Gerald Ford during a visit to the White House.
“I marveled at both his courage and his role as an ambassador of peace and was so happy to have a real friend who spread the message of truth everywhere he went,” Wright recalled.
Watch Gary Wright Perform ‘Dream Weaver’ Live in 1975
John Lennon’s ‘Dream Weaver’ Contribution
As if this wasn’t enough inspiration, Wright also remembered a line John Lennon had used in his 1970 song “God,” from the classic John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: “I was the Dreamweaver.”
These helped form the basis of Wright’s best-known song “Dream Weaver,” which was released as a single from his 1975 album, The Dream Weaver. Wright brought in David Foster to play electric piano and drummer Jim Keltner, another frequent Harrison collaborator.
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Wright was on tour with Peter Frampton when he found out “Dream Weaver” had reached the top of the charts. It effectively changed his life. “When did I feel like I first made it?” he told Rock Cellar in 2017. “I guess when ‘Dream Weaver’ went to No. 1.”
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