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Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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Rick Wakeman Songs of Middle Earth album cover
2.63 | 38 ratings | 5 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Shire (9:39)
2. The Old Forest (6:30)
3. Rivendell (2:40)
4. The Great River (5:11)
5. Lothlorien (4:57)
6. The Misty Mountains (6:25)
7. Helms Deep (5:34)
8. Rohan (5:03)
9. Minas Truth (11:13)
10. The Grey Havens (4:06)

Total Time 61:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Rick Wakeman / keyboards

Releases information

CD Collectables

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy RICK WAKEMAN Songs of Middle Earth Music

RICK WAKEMAN Songs of Middle Earth ratings distribution

(38 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (21%)
Poor. Only for completionists (13%)

RICK WAKEMAN Songs of Middle Earth reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Zitro
3 stars A complete rip-off!!!

Music inspired by Lord of The Rings? Don't make me laugh! All the piano songs are from 'heritage suite' and the new age tracks from 'seven wonders'. He just chaged the names of the songs, and somehow, they really fit with the new titles.

Well, the music is good. As long as you don't have any of those two albums, and are interested in Wakeman's elegant playing, you might like this a lot.

My Grade : C+

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Aonther good album by this keyboard wizard, this album was released in 2002 and it supposes to be an album with music inspired in The Lord of the Rings, all the songs have titles reminiscent to the books (The Shire, Helms Deep, Rohan , etc).

All the music here is instrumental, in fact all the music was done by Wakeman because it only has loots of keyboards, synthesizers and pianos. This album is a mix of new age music and classical music, which make it very symphonic in some ways. I read a review of Zitro, he said that the music here are pretty similar to songs from "Heritage Suite" and "Seven Wonders", it could be true, but we know that Rick has made lots of albums, and each one has his own style and sound, i m agreed in some way because with lots of album in a solo career, is obvious that some songs are similar, but not the same, and i think this album has his own style which mixes great atmospheric synths with a strong sound in some songs, but with a soft sound in others, and specially when you feel that another keyboard solo is coming, he changed that for a beautiful piano work it has some poppish sound in songs like Helms Deep for example, but your mind will replace that with great songs like the opening track " The Shire" it is great, with good changes and a powerful sound. This is not at the same style of the "Aspirant Trilogy", that is completely new age, this havs some new ages and ambient passages too, but here we can listen to great keyboard solos and a strong symphonic influence.

I have seen ultimately that Rick`s music and keyboard playing has caused controversial points of view, i dont have nothing to say , only repeat my love for this moster of progressive rock, and recommend this album, because i like it and i think it is good.

After all, i think 3 stars is the best grade here.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Don't blame Rick, but this is a sham

We need to approach this album from two completely different angles; the actions of the record company, and the music of Rick Wakeman.

Let's get the record company out of the way first. The statement on the front cover of this album that these tracks were "Inspired by the (book) The Lord of the Rings" is, to put it bluntly, false. How do we know this? Well because they tell us so themselves. If you look carefully at the small print on the reverse, you will see a notation stating that "The titles on this CD have been selected from, and previously released on "The seven wonders of the world" and "Heritage suite" by Rick Wakeman".

If you check Wakeman's official website, you will not find this album listed anywhere in his discography. You will however find a notation in the FAQs section explaining that "(This) is simply a licensed reissue of tracks .. which were renamed by the issuing company". Clearly, the record company felt that they would sell more copies of the album if they associated it with the Tolkien books which at the time were enjoying significant success through the blockbuster films based upon them.

Such slight of hand is surely sufficient to warrant proceeding no further, but out of respect for Rick, I shall continue to review the music contained herein, without any further reference to Tolkien's books (other than the titles allocated by the record company).

There are two distinct types of sound here. The assorted synth and keyboards used by Wakeman during the 90's on many of his one man albums, and the solo grand piano he used throughout a handful of releases. The four tracks which contain the latter are thus those selected from "Heritage suite". They are reflective, classically orientated pieces which offer a relaxed atmosphere while never challenging the listener. These tracks account for about a quarter of this compilation.

All the tracks from "Seven wonders" are here with the exception of "Colossus of Rhodes". Garfield Morgan's narratives are also omitted, as these of course would not make sense in this context! The pairings between the original titles and those used on this album can be easily identified through the track lengths. The tracks retain the same order, "Pharos of Alexandria" thus becoming "The shire" etc.

The "Seven wonders" compositions are reasonably strong in New Age terms, although the sounds are entirely predictable if you have heard any of Wakeman's new age releases from around this time.

In view of the deceit used in marketing this album, I am reluctant to recommend it at all. If the music interests you, it would be far more appropriate to go for the two albums which originally contained it.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Songs of Middle Management - Inspired by the Money Being Made by The Lord of the Rings

This cynical collection, as others here have noted, is not an album of new songs, inspired by "The Lord of the Rings", but a cheap attempt by BMG (one of the most unimaginative of the record label conglomerates since the seventies) to cash in on the popularity of a famous movie series. They took a bunch of songs from a couple of Wakeman's lesser known albums, retitled the pieces, and issued it as this.

The songs are obviously Wakeman, and his solos are not bad (nowhere near his best, however). The compositions rarely and barely rise above the level of simple new age.

The best thing about the album is that it can be found in cutout bins for $1.99.

Not totally worthless, but don't pay much more than I did for it.

Latest members reviews

3 stars It sounds like Rick pulled out his 08's sound from his bucket o' styles on this one but he keeps it normal enough to listen to. If you like LotR you'll agree with his poirtrayal and if you like electronic Rick give it a shot. 3.5 Stars ... (read more)

Report this review (#34344) | Posted by soccerbum | Wednesday, May 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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