Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

RICK WAKEMAN

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Rick Wakeman picture
Rick Wakeman biography
Richard Christopher Wakeman - Born May 18, 1949 (Perivale, Middlesex, UK)

Rick WAKEMAN is one of the best known progressive musicians and a pioneer in the use of electronic keyboards in rock music. He's also been extremely prolific: in addition to his work as a member of The STRAWBS * (folk-rock band), YES * (post-psychedelic hard rock band), and YES offshoot ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE*, he has a huge number of session credits, including work with David Bowie, Elton John, BLACK SABBATH, Al Stewart, and Lou Reed. And he's released more solo albums than anyone this side of FRANK ZAPPA. The list below includes 100 titles, including a best-of anthology, a CD EP, and six albums Rick did in collaboration with his son Adam (WwW)*. He also remained associated with YES into the '90s.


YES*: - Fragile, 1972 (expanded and remastered, 2003) / Close to the Edge, 1972 / Yessongs, 1973 / Tales from Topographic Oceans, 1973 / Yesterdays, 1974 / Going for the One, 1977 / Tormato, 1978 / Yesshows, 1980 / Classic Yes, 1981 / Union, 1991 / YesYears, 1991 / Yesstory, 1992 / Highlights - The Very Best of Yes, 1993 / Keys to Ascension, 1996 / Keys to Ascension 2, 1997 / Keys to Ascension Volume 1 & 2, 1997 / Keystudio, 2001 / In a Word: Yes (1969 - ...), 2002
(ABWH)* Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe: - (ABWH) Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, 1989 / (ABWH) An Evening of Yes Music Plus, 1993
The STRAWBS*: - Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios, 1970 / From the Witchwood, 1971 / 30 Years in Rock, 2001 / Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird, 2002
(WwW)* Wakeman with Wakeman: - Wakeman with Wakeman, 1993 / No Expense Shared, 1993 / Wakeman with Wakeman Live, The Official Bootleg, 1994 / Romance of the Victorian Age, 1994 / Tapestries, 1995 / Vignettes, 1996 / Yes, Friends and Relatives, 1998

"THE BEST" & "THE NEXT BEST" (12 CDs):
Reaction to WAKEMAN's music is mixed: his catalog represents the best and worst aspects of progressive rock, but there's no denying that more than a few gems exist in his massive catalog. And, of course, everything is just in y humble opinion - yours may differ.

"THE BEST" : His earliest recordings are generally regarded his best, both commercially and artistically.
1- The Six Wives of Henry VIII - 1973
During the making of "Clo...
read more

RICK WAKEMAN forum topics / tours, shows & news


RICK WAKEMAN forum topics Create a topic now
RICK WAKEMAN tours, shows & news Post an entries now

RICK WAKEMAN Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all RICK WAKEMAN videos (4) | Search and add more videos to RICK WAKEMAN

Buy RICK WAKEMAN Music



More places to buy RICK WAKEMAN music online

RICK WAKEMAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RICK WAKEMAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 839 ratings
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
1973
3.58 | 502 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
1975
2.56 | 133 ratings
Lisztomania (OST)
1975
3.74 | 252 ratings
No Earthly Connection
1976
3.24 | 148 ratings
White Rock
1977
3.75 | 264 ratings
Criminal Record
1977
2.51 | 132 ratings
Rhapsodies
1979
3.38 | 146 ratings
1984
1981
2.56 | 42 ratings
The Burning (OST)
1981
1.45 | 49 ratings
Rock N' Roll Prophet
1982
2.58 | 47 ratings
G'Olé ! (OST)
1983
2.58 | 53 ratings
Cost Of Living
1983
2.51 | 33 ratings
Crimes Of Passion (OST)
1984
2.88 | 28 ratings
Rick Wakeman, Jeff Wayne & Kevin Peek: Beyond the Planets
1984
2.35 | 43 ratings
Silent Nights
1985
3.22 | 44 ratings
Country Airs - Piano Solos
1986
3.17 | 30 ratings
The Gospels
1987
1.67 | 24 ratings
The Family Album
1987
3.30 | 46 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Ramon Remedios: A Suite Of Gods
1988
2.15 | 36 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Tony Fernandez: Zodiaque
1988
2.58 | 42 ratings
Time Machine
1988
3.40 | 30 ratings
Sea Airs
1989
2.65 | 37 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV
1989
3.11 | 29 ratings
Night Airs
1990
2.13 | 21 ratings
In The Beginning
1990
2.54 | 22 ratings
Phantom Power (OST)
1990
2.52 | 25 ratings
Aspirant Sunrise
1990
2.52 | 24 ratings
African Bach
1990
2.50 | 8 ratings
A World Of Wisdom
1991
1.98 | 30 ratings
Aspirant Sunset
1991
3.21 | 24 ratings
Aspirant Sunshadows
1991
3.23 | 34 ratings
Softsword
1991
2.41 | 35 ratings
2000 A.D. Into The Future
1991
3.01 | 21 ratings
The Classical Connection 2
1991
3.33 | 24 ratings
The Classical Connection
1991
3.45 | 29 ratings
Country Airs (1992)
1992
2.87 | 37 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.70 | 19 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.62 | 24 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: No Expense Spared
1993
2.89 | 23 ratings
Heritage Suite
1993
3.69 | 20 ratings
Prayers
1993
3.47 | 25 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: Romance Of The Victorian Age
1994
3.04 | 27 ratings
Cirque Surreal
1995
3.23 | 37 ratings
The Seven Wonders Of The World
1995
2.20 | 16 ratings
Visions [Aka: Visions Of Paradise]
1995
2.99 | 26 ratings
Fields Of Green
1996
1.27 | 13 ratings
The Word And Music
1996
2.59 | 13 ratings
Orisons
1996
3.44 | 22 ratings
Can You Hear Me ?
1996
3.06 | 21 ratings
The New Gospels
1996
2.29 | 14 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Vignettes
1996
3.00 | 17 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Tapestries
1996
2.94 | 17 ratings
The Natural World Trilogy
1997
2.69 | 29 ratings
Tribute To The Beatles
1997
3.20 | 20 ratings
Themes
1998
3.54 | 163 ratings
Return To The Centre Of The Earth
1999
3.65 | 34 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Stella Bianca Alla Corte Di Re Ferdinando
1999
2.79 | 15 ratings
Art in Music Trilogy
1999
2.30 | 28 ratings
White Rock II
1999
3.77 | 25 ratings
Preludes To A Century
2000
3.35 | 17 ratings
Chronicles Of Man
2000
3.26 | 19 ratings
Christmas Variations
2000
2.96 | 16 ratings
Morning Has Broken
2000
3.21 | 15 ratings
Classical Variations
2001
3.63 | 52 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes
2001
3.11 | 16 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 1 - The Real Lisztomania
2002
3.59 | 34 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes, Volume II
2002
2.60 | 21 ratings
Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird
2002
3.66 | 20 ratings
The Wizard And The Forest Of All Dreams
2002
3.83 | 114 ratings
Out There
2003
3.07 | 59 ratings
Retro
2006
3.27 | 34 ratings
Retro 2
2007
2.96 | 24 ratings
Always With You
2010
3.68 | 100 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
2012
3.77 | 52 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
2016
1.80 | 5 ratings
The Rainbow Suite
2016
2.36 | 11 ratings
The Phantom Of The Opera (OST)
2017
3.39 | 31 ratings
Piano Portraits
2017
3.31 | 13 ratings
Piano Odyssey
2018
3.87 | 173 ratings
The Red Planet
2020

RICK WAKEMAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.74 | 370 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
1974
4.09 | 23 ratings
"The King Arthur" Concert
1976
3.50 | 32 ratings
Live At Hammersmith
1985
2.67 | 12 ratings
Unleashing the Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour
1994
2.64 | 11 ratings
Live on the Test (1976)
1994
3.07 | 11 ratings
Wakeman with Wakeman Live
1994
3.88 | 20 ratings
Rick Wakeman In Concert KBFH
1995
2.16 | 6 ratings
Almost Live in Europe
1995
3.89 | 15 ratings
The Piano Album - Live
1995
3.88 | 5 ratings
Rock & Pop Legends
1995
3.67 | 12 ratings
Simply Acoustic - The Music
1997
2.57 | 7 ratings
The Best Of Rick Wakeman (original live recordings/ 1998 Wise Buy)
1998
3.64 | 8 ratings
Live in Buenos Aires. Official Live Bootleg
1999
3.67 | 15 ratings
The Legend - Live in Concert 2000
2000
4.41 | 28 ratings
Out Of The Blue
2001
3.89 | 9 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 2 - The Oscar Concert
2002
2.44 | 9 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 3 - The Missing Half
2002
3.73 | 11 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 4 - Almost Classical
2002
2.57 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 5 - The Mixture
2002
3.38 | 8 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 6 - Medium Rare
2002
3.20 | 10 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 7 - Journey to the Centre of the Earth +
2002
1.43 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 8 - Stories
2002
3.50 | 6 ratings
Banda Sinfonica Jovem Do Estado De São Paulo
2004
3.76 | 15 ratings
Rick Wakeman At Lincoln Cathedral
2005
3.75 | 11 ratings
Live At The BBC
2007
4.17 | 55 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace
2009
4.21 | 16 ratings
In The Nick of Time - Live In 2003
2012
3.92 | 6 ratings
Access All Areas
2015

RICK WAKEMAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.04 | 4 ratings
Simply Acoustic (VHS)
1996
3.69 | 13 ratings
The Legend Live in Concert 2000 [Aka: An Evening with Rick Wakeman] (DVD)
2000
3.96 | 21 ratings
Rick Wakeman And The English Rock Ensemble: Live in Buenos Aires (DVD)
2001
3.17 | 5 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
3.46 | 29 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (DVD)
2002
3.00 | 16 ratings
Out There (DVD)
2004
4.02 | 14 ratings
Made In Cuba (DVD)
2005
3.21 | 5 ratings
Amazing Grace
2007
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Otherside of Rick Wakeman
2007
4.32 | 9 ratings
Swedish Television Special 1980
2008
3.06 | 8 ratings
Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show
2008
3.85 | 59 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD)
2009
4.75 | 4 ratings
Classical Wakeman Volume 1 - Live In Lugano
2010

RICK WAKEMAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.18 | 34 ratings
Piano Vibrations
1971
5.00 | 4 ratings
20th Anniversary Limited Edition
1989
1.09 | 4 ratings
Chronicles - The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman
1992
2.50 | 3 ratings
Best Works Collection
1992
3.35 | 11 ratings
The Classic Tracks
1993
2.11 | 18 ratings
Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits
1994
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Stage Collection
1994
3.00 | 4 ratings
The Private Collection
1995
4.37 | 11 ratings
Voyage: The Very Best of Rick Wakeman
1996
3.33 | 4 ratings
Master Series
1998
2.59 | 6 ratings
The Masters
1999
3.78 | 9 ratings
Recollections: The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman
2000
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Caped Collection
2000
3.03 | 12 ratings
Tales Of Future And Past
2001
3.09 | 3 ratings
My Inspiration
2001
2.03 | 11 ratings
Frost In Space
2001
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Definitive Music of Rick Wakeman
2001
2.61 | 34 ratings
Songs of Middle Earth
2002
2.78 | 14 ratings
Revisited
2004
4.00 | 6 ratings
Journey To The Center Of The Earth (2CD compilation)
2005
5.00 | 1 ratings
After The Ball - The Collection
2015
4.08 | 13 ratings
Starship Trooper
2016

RICK WAKEMAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Catherine
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Love's Dream (with Roger Daltrey)
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
After The Ball
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Animal Showdown
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Birdman Of Alcatraz
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Swan Lager
1979
1.46 | 11 ratings
I'm So Straight I'm A Weirdo
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Spider
1980
5.00 | 1 ratings
Julia
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Glory Boys
1984
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Theme From Lytton's Diary
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Waterfalls
1986
2.16 | 7 ratings
Custers Last Stand / Ocean City
1988
5.00 | 6 ratings
Don't Fly Away/After Prayers
1991
4.00 | 2 ratings
Special Sampler
1991
3.00 | 4 ratings
Light Up The Sky
1994
5.00 | 3 ratings
Welcome a Star
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fields of Green
1997
4.50 | 2 ratings
Buried Alive feat. Ozzy Osbourne
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
Amazing Grace
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Welcome A Star
2015
2.40 | 6 ratings
Life on Mars
2016
0.00 | 0 ratings
Morning Has Broken
2017

RICK WAKEMAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 173 ratings

BUY
The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I have lost count of how many Wakeman albums I actually own, but including live works it must be approaching 100, so it is safe to say I am a fan. But if someone twisted my arm behind my back and ask what the last truly essential studio album he had released; I would probably point to 2003's 'Out There'. That album was, and is, a tour de force with everything gelling together and Damian Wilson's vocals fitting in perfectly with the over-the-top proggy mastery. That Wilson left abruptly shorty after release and before the subsequent tour is a real shame, as I would have loved to have heard more from that combination, but The English Rock Ensemble is back, and on hearing this one can see why Rick has brought that title alive again.

Bassist Lee Pomeroy is still there, as he has been for very many years, but these days the other two slots are filled by drummer Ash Soan, and guitarist Dave Colquhoun. I always find it strange when Rick uses a drummer outside Tony Fernandez, but the latter is now full-time with The Strawbs which I guess makes it difficult for timetables to coincide. However, all these musicians have also been playing with Rick for some time, and together they provide the support for Rick to go right back to the beginning of his solo career. There are times when this is incredibly reminiscent of both 'Journey' and 'Six Wives', although this has no vocalists. This is Rick dusting off his favourite analogue keyboards and combining those sounds with his latest keyboards, and Lee often playing the melodic foil. Here we have a master not pandering to anything around him, but instead going back to his roots and consequently providing an album which many will say is his finest for years, and rightly so. It is not as rock-based as 'Out There', yet both have similar space themes, and he has taken that concept and added sounds and touches to this album which really does make one believe they are visiting Mars.

Rick released his multi-million selling debut solo album back in 1973, and in 2020 has released something that in many ways feels like a logical "progression" from that. Indispensable for progheads everywhere.

 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 173 ratings

BUY
The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Progressive rock's self proclaimed "Grumpy old rock star" in 2020 appears to be revisiting his roots.

"Mission To Mars" draws on the the stylings of Wakeman's earliest solo album "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII" and delivers a pleasing concept piece.

Using traditional classical influences as his base, he and The English Rock Ensemble (Dave Colquhoun, Lee Pomeroy and Ash Soan) have delivered one of his best albums that I've heard in some time (admittedly, I've only heard a few dozen of his 100,000 or so releases).

While not as bombastic as most of his high-rated albums, it is a very pleasing and cohesive collection.

The concept is an homage to the many exploratory missions to Mars, with each track taking the name of a particular location studied by various unmanned spacecraft and landers. The CD booklet is filled with photos and information about the Mars missions.

The highlights: "Tharsis Tholus": This piece is primarily a moody, and mostly low-key prog piece, broken up with some startling off- time interludes that gives the song some exhilaration.

"The North Plain": I suspect this track is a bit of a tribute to Keith Emerson. Wakeman does a decent job of imitating Keith's Hammond organ abuse (I presume electronically, as I cannot imagine Rick throwing knives into his keyboard, or tossing a heavy organ around studio). If it's not a tribute, it still is a damn fine song.

"Valles Marineris": You would think that the obligatory not to Gustav Holst's "Mars - The Bringer of War" has been done too many time over the years, and I agree. But Wakeman and his band have created their own bolero rhythm that just barely sounds like the classical piece. I particularly like Pomeroy's solo within the rhythm near the opening of the track.

I love this album, and it became one of my soundtracks for getting through the hideous year 2020.

 No Earthly Connection by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 252 ratings

BUY
No Earthly Connection
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 397

As we all know, among many music fans, Rick Wakeman is a polarizing and polemic figure. Some love his work and others despise it. For those in the former camp, his keyboard playing, composing and arranging show a deft, assured and endlessly creative master. Both, as a highly in demand sessioner, on David Bowie's "Changes", Cat Stevens' "Morning Has Broken" and Black Sabbath's "Sabbra Cadabra" (to name but three of countless contributions he's made) and as a member of Strawbs and Yes, his work is often exciting. But to his detractors, he's the visible symbol of everything that was wrong and excessive with rock in the 70's. In any case he is an inescapable figure of those times.

"No Earthly Connection" is the fourth studio album of Rick Wakeman and was released in 1976. "No Earthly Connection" was a return to a more "normal" format, although there is supposed to be some a sort of concept to the album. It isn't as popular as the first three Wakeman's releases. Still, "No Earthly Connection" rates right up there, if for no other reason than this was an exceptionally creative period in the keyboardist's career. So, somehow, "No Earthly Connection" is certainly a lost gem for the ages and represents for many people the last great album of Rick Wakeman.

His breakout solo album, 1973's "The Six Wives Of King Henry VIII" established him as a potent force, and his follow up album "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table" was also quite good, though it didn't quite scale the heights of his debut. By 1976, Wakeman had settled into recording with a steady band he called the English Rock Ensemble. Still interested in conceptual and thematic works, "No Earthly Connection" concerns itself with big ideas. The music remains keyboard heavy, as we could expect, but his band is prominently featured as well.

Somehow and despite the differences, "No Earthly Connection" represents more or less a kind of a return to the same formula of "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", where he employed members of Yes and other rock musicians, but choose not to use the orchestras of "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" and "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Roundtable". Curiously, "No Earthly Connection" was recorded in France, supposedly for tax reasons.

The line up on the album is Rick Wakeman (Mander pipe organ, Hammond organ, Steinway grand piano, RMI Electra piano, Hohner clavinet, Moog synthesizer, Baldwin electric harpsichord, honky-tonk piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Mellotron, Godwin organ and Systech pedals), Ashley Holt (vocals), Roger Newell (vocals, bass guitar and bass pedals), John Dunsterville (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars and mandolin), Tony Fernandes (drums and percussion), Martyn Shields (vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn and French horn) and Reg Brooks (vocals, trombone and bass trombone).

"No Earthly Connection" has three parts. The first part is the suite "Music Reincarnate" and is divided into five chapters: "The Warning", "The Maker", "The Spaceman", "The Realization" and "The Reaper". The second part is "The Prisoner" and the third part is "The Lost Cycle". The first part opens with the startling Moog ascending arpeggio of the "Music Reincarnate" suite. It has plenty of string sounds, lots of Clavinet and some nice bass playing of Newell. The music sounds like a cross between Alan Parsons and Gentle Giant. The former is recalled through the album's ambitious yet catchy arrangement, while the latter comes to my mind via the tricky time signature changes and complex vocal arrangements. It features some great vocal snippets while Wakeman provides an atmospheric musical bed. Sometimes it's a bit pompous and silly, to be sure, but fun nonetheless. And the analogue synthesizers' solos are predictably tasty. The second part "The Prisoner" is led by Newell's bass. Wakeman comes in on harpsichord and duel ensues. This is more or less a read on the trials of the spaceman. It's a tune that requires complete attention to the lyrics and a deep love for progressive stuff. The third part "The Lost Cycle" ends the album, pulling out all the stops as Wakeman plays a flurry of keys. The lyrics describe the spaceman's full journey. But the song is less about the story and is more about Wakeman's superlative arranging and playing. It indicates how Wakeman is taken with his technique.

Conclusion: If you like pianos, organs, Mellotrons, Moogs and all sort of other keyboard instruments, you'll find plenty to like on "No Earthly Connection". But, it's overall a more mainstream album than Wakeman's earlier works. "No Earthly Connection" is deeply layered stuff even without Wakeman's reliance of an orchestra. The lyrics may come off as a bit trite, the story is nothing more than weak sci-fi, but the musicianship of The English Rock Ensemble and vocals of Ashley Holt make this album certainly worthy of inclusion on a list of classic lost albums. Somehow, "No Earthly Connection" is, comparatively, a streamlined album by Wakeman. It's not as elaborate and ambitious as its immediate predecessors, "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII", "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" and "The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table". Anyway, it still remains for me, an impressive work, one of his best.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 173 ratings

BUY
The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Rick Wakeman does not need an introduction, but since The Six Wives of Henry VIII from 1973 and The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table 1975 which are amazing pieces of music and being that he had released so many studio recordings I've lost track of his work.

The Red Planet since 2020 represents his return to the styles of Seventies peak and it's his best work since then. Pianos, Moogs and synths of the classic Seventies era make this a real prog delight and being that it's delivered by the great Wakemman just makes this album more interesting.

A sense of drama, medieval feel, all delivered in this really great release. Bombastic keyboards and fantastic musicianship from the entire band gives layers of sounds that at one moment are haunting and later on they build up the tempo. Truly a fantastic album that takes you to the journey of flying across the Martian scenery.

 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 173 ratings

BUY
The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by frareinif

2 stars Long time since my last purchase of a RW album... his 70s albums were among those forming my musical taste as a teen in spades. He was the first among the members of the then prog supergroups I noticed as a solo musician when listening to the "Six Wifes". But "Criminal record" was his last release getting hold of me and which I still listen to.

Since "The Red Planet" got so many excited reviews, I purchased it unchecked... I should have done it. Sorry, Rick, for being so straightforward. But comparing TRP to what means to me "Rick Wakeman" based on your early albums I have to say they are worlds apart.

While listening through the whole album, there was no moment I felt those reviews are right. Most of the time it is simply boring: always straightforward 4/4, simple harmonies and chord changes. I did not find any melodic line catching me immediately, to be honest not even after having heard it the second time. No compositional depth, no enthralling transitions. The whole thing feels like a patchwork of uninspired pieces lacking completely what made RW that outstanding musician at the dawn of his career. I remember an interview with him where he said regarding TRP something like "the best album of my career". I can't believe he meant it. If he did, my simple reply is "No, it is not".

 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 173 ratings

BUY
The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by BlazingProg

5 stars My favorite album this year so far, Rick is back and he still plays great. But let's not forget about how great the drumming and guitar playing are on this album. This album is the perfect Rick Wakeman album that you've been waiting for. I have heard this album many times and it still surprises me. Not one song on this album is weak or boring. After hearing this, I really wish Yes would reunite to create another album. Because if Rick played on that album like he played on this incredible album it would really be great. Overall this album is a must listen for anyone who likes symphonic prog, keyboards, Rick Wakeman or Yes.
 Rick Wakeman, Jeff Wayne & Kevin Peek: Beyond the Planets by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.88 | 28 ratings

BUY
Rick Wakeman, Jeff Wayne & Kevin Peek: Beyond the Planets
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

2 stars Since the first listen I gave to this album, I couldn't avoid to get a feel of weakness, not so much concerning the adaptation of the classical partiture, but rather the disturbing vacuum sensation generated by the inacceptable absence of a decent sounding rock band backing the pretty much likable efforts of Rick and Mr. Schulz in keyboards.

That absence constitutes a good part of the sideral (pun intended) difference that separates this record from the other one released immediately after its 2020 re-issue, "The Red Planet", where one can effectively hear the muscle and brain of Rick's own band, making the alien soundscape really vibrate and pulsate. Making also that scape in fact inviting and tempting for us, unrepentant prog fans.

And that's why I pass The Planets, except for The Red one (OK, enough silly puns, I promise)

 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 173 ratings

BUY
The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by hegelec

3 stars Rick hasn't picked up many new tricks in some 50 odd years: without question, he's a phenomenal musician, and yet much of his solo career defines what I like to call "regressive rock". But with "The Red Planet" Wakeman is reaching back into his familiar bag of tricks and pulling out a few from the most creative part of his career (the early 70's). The instrumentation and arrangements here are sure to please fans of 70's prog -- though not giving us anything we haven't heard before. In fairness to Rick, though, he seems to be pushing himself in the composition department. There are some really surprising chord progressions here and there, breaking out of the predictable diatonicism his style is known for. And in Tharsis Tholus and Olympus Mos, there's a few really surprising rhythmic shifts and even polyrhythms, without ever sounding "put on" or complex for its own sake. Nicely done.

The record's pretty darn good.

 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 173 ratings

BUY
The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

4 stars Sheesh! I agree with the masses here in saying that this is the best thing that Rick Wakeman has done in decades. He uses a nice arsenal of keyboards here, often invoking the synth sounds of the seventies. (Try saying that 3 times real fast...)

These songs are all rather cool and appropriately spacey, almost laid back at times. But always interesting. Pomeroy's bass is a really nice addition - sort of how Squire added a nice dimension to Wakeman's "A Criminal Record" back in the day. The band that eventually became BRAND X produced an album called "Marscape" back in the mid-70's, and there are very close similitudes here to that great album.

I know that Mr. Wakeman has many musical styles that he likes to record in, but this is a real nice treat for we lovers of his prog side. Thank you for taking care of us here! ;-)

 The Red Planet by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 173 ratings

BUY
The Red Planet
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by rdenney

5 stars TL;DR summary: it seems to me impossible to have a full understanding of symphonic prog over the decades without knowing at least some of the work of Rick Wakeman, and it's now impossible to have a full picture of Wakeman's instrumental prog breadth and depth without hearing Red Planet, several times at least. In my mind that makes it essential listening quite apart from whether I do or don't like the music. (But I do like the music.) Those who want extended, haunting melodies may not find them here, but the sounds and textures are an essential statement of what symphonic prog is to me.

The CD and LP include a lot of goofy and fun packaging theater, and outside of the music nobody can accuse Rick Wakeman of taking himself too seriously. But I for one am really glad to see a pure instrumental album--it has always seemed to me that Wakeman expresses his profundity in music far more effectively than in lyrics.

Track 1, Ascraeus Mons: The church organ opens with four bars of descending chords, in a driving 4, with drums coming in to intensify the drive, and a slow melody acting almost like a drone. This builds to a trumpet fanfare climax, and then starts over--a process that repeats several times. The point of it is a grand buildup, culminating in a final solid rock electric guitar solo. This is a good opener, but not why one should buy the album.

Track 2, Tharsis Tholus, follows the plan of many tracks, by opening with a short, simple melody in the flute effect repeated many times in different chords, and the feel is indeed reminiscent of No Earthly Connection as pointed out in another review. The extended chord progression is as important to what's happening as the melody. The music breaks into an interlude in 10/8 (maybe 11/8 or 13/8 or 17/8?I could not count it!), which reminds me of great pieces from the Yes repertoire in its ability to surprise the listener with sudden transitions that still somehow advance the plot. After the second of these, the music jumps to a driving 12/8 meter that builds in layers of keyboards to a soaring mini-moog solo that as clearly as anything on the album says "Rick Wakeman is here!" Noodling? Not hardly. Complexity increases, but it's not mere decoration, and each passing bar raises my heart rate. One Internet reviewer said the album lacked emotion. I beg to differ--it lacks an excess of sentimentality--but it's chock full of emotional power, befitting a mature musician playing for grown-up listeners. Another break, and the music jumps back to the mellower flute-sound opening. The piece ends with another break, this time transitioning to just the reverberation fading into the empty room. This piece is the one that sticks with me days later, and if this was the only good track on the album (it isn't), I would not feel cheated.

Track 3, Arsia Mons: An introduction spends a little over a minute sending a two-bar melody on a tour of chord changes like following a circle of fifths over a driving rock beat. Then it opens out into mellowed-out space music backing acoustic guitar. Then, it starts over, ending in an extended acoustic guitar solo that floats beautifully over a Fender Rhodes-sound piano counter-melody. The piece returns to the space-music backing, this time in front, enhanced by phase shifting and channel panning to transport us back to, oh, about 1975. And what a pleasant trip that is. But Arsia Mons is less about melody than feel.

Track 4, Olympus Mons, opens with a big drum break and the longest melody so far--two bars. This tune has changes--on the second theme we get a short Hammond solo, then back to the top. What gets into my brain in this recapitulation of the opening theme is the guitar, adding a stunning texture effect that I've never heard before, with enough stage separation in the mix to highlight it. A big Hammond-led third theme follows the recap, this time in a triple meter. It's all the way to the fourth variation, in a driving rock beat in four that we get the next classic Wakeman Mini-Moog solo, this time extending nearly two full minutes.

Track 5, The North Plain, starts misterioso with classic vintage space music and a loose, spare melody on piano (along with other effects) for a minute and a half until the drums, bass, guitar, and Hammond organ bring us back to hard-driving 70's rock. About three minutes in, we hear the Mini-Moog and the Mellotron, followed by space music with a funny 60's b-movie aliens-from-outer-space vibrato-filled organ interlude. But then the Hammond returns with force and seriousness of purpose. These Hammond sounds have the dry intensity of Rick's most percussive style--think the organ solo in Roundabout. No paint roller or Jon Lord flat-handed portamento here--more like Emerson. This is rock organ as percussion instrument with hard, driving articulations. Bring your acoustic suspension speakers! Is it space music or driving hard rock? In this one, the hard rock wins gloriously.

Track 6, Pavonis Mons, is about classic synthesizer sounds. The Moog leads the opening melody with answering melodies by a wooden flute sound pointing the way to more exploration of vintage synthesizer sounds. Piano makes an entrance here, and the Mellotron (strings and chorus sounds at least?maybe more) is distinctive in the orchestral tutti, as is the organ. And the bass drives consistently throughout and is never buried. But the synthesizers own this track more than most.

Track 7, the South Pole, starts on a much mellower and more cinematic note. The melody trades again between synthesizer and flute sounds, with a chorus backing, plus the ever-present bass and guitar. But the flute sound comes out on top. Then, the texture fades and we get an exquisitely extended (but still not long enough), gentle and tasteful piano solo. Flute sounds dominate the final repeat, but the track ends simply on a fading synth summary of the melody's essential elements.

Track 8, Valles Marineris, as has been said elsewhere, reminds us of Ravel's Bolero, which isn't about a dance, but about a theme that repeats many times with increasing orchestral texture and power until a surprise ending. But Valles doesn't build steadily from one end to the other, but rather in three sections. The time signature defies reverse engineering; large odd numbers are involved. At 50 seconds, drums enter with great complexity. A few seconds later, Lee Pomeroy's now-celebrated bass groove goes where no bass groove has gone before. At two minutes, the build culminates in an ascending scale in the guitars, ending the first build. The second build includes an amazing section where the Mellotron and drums set up a whole edifice of mood, ultimately leading to the piano restating the melody in pounding octaves. The piece takes a third trip through the build with still more texture, but the flute sounds are what stick with me this time.

While completely listenable the first time through, I think it took about ten times through before I could get a real sense of the music. But I did not tire of it in that time. This is, to me, a hallmark of great Symphonic prog--it holds up to repeated listenings just as well as, say, Shostakovich or Bach. Wakeman's best albums have that staying power, but perhaps the previous album of his that I can put on repeat and never be annoyed when it starts over is Criminal Record. This album isn't as aurally diverse as Criminal Record, but it's just as rewarding to listen to it often enough to commit it to memory. And in both cases, it takes a lot of repeats to get this in your head. It's worth the effort.

If I was trying to explain Rick Wakeman (or, indeed, instrumental symphonic prog) to some benighted soul who had never heard of him, and could demonstrate with just one album, Red Planet, among few others, would serve the purpose. It is indeed a masterpiece, though not perfect. Still, Five stars, because four just isn't enough.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.