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Steve Wright of the Greg Kihn Band Dies

Photo credit: gregkihn.com
Photo credit: gregkihn.com

Steve Wright, who played bass with the Greg Kihn Band and co-wrote their biggest hits, has died. He passed away on Monday (Jan. 16) following a heart attack in Sacramento, Calif.

Kihn broke the news on his website, praising him as “a natural born songwriter and a creative spark through thick and thin.” He also called him “the driving force behind the band,” adding that Wright “called the members of the band and told them about that rehearsal Thursday night. He would show up at any hour of the day or night with a new song.”

Wright and Kihn co-founded the Greg Kihn Band in 1975, only a year after Kihn moved from his hometown of Baltimore to San Francisco. Although much of the material on Kihn’s albums were penned entirely by the frontman, his three most successful singles — 1981’s “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em),” 1983’s “Jeopardy” and 1985’s “Lucky” — were collaborations with Wright. Kihn recalled how “Jeopardy,” which peaked at No. 2, came to be written.

“I’ll always remember the day in 1983 when he dropped by my house to show his new toy, a new-fangled battery powered Casio keyboard with a built-in drum machine,” he wrote. “It had a cheesy clavinet sound and Steve played me a riff he just wrote. I heard the now infamous riff from “Jeopardy.” What happened next was magic. I spontaneously started singing “our love’s in jeopardy, baby, whoo-who-hoo.” That song wrote itself in about 15 minutes. It was as if the song was floating around in the air and we just snatched it up.”

Wright remained with Kihn until 1996, the last of the quintet that made their seminal records to depart. He suffered a stroke in 2007, which devastated Kihn so much that he considered retiring from music. Five years later, Kihn, Wright, guitarist Greg Douglass and original drummer Larry Lynch reunited at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, Calif., where they played regularly in their youth, to celebrate the release of a box set. As a result of the stroke, Wright’s contributions were limited to playing keyboards with one hand and singing background vocals.

Rockers We’ve Lost in 2016

Next: Our 2011 Interview With Greg Kihn

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