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RICK WAKEMAN

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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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...
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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)

4.08 | 794 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
1973
3.57 | 477 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
1975
2.55 | 122 ratings
Lisztomania (OST)
1975
3.73 | 228 ratings
No Earthly Connection
1976
3.25 | 137 ratings
White Rock
1977
3.76 | 245 ratings
Criminal Record
1977
2.49 | 122 ratings
Rhapsodies
1979
3.36 | 135 ratings
1984
1981
2.60 | 38 ratings
The Burning (OST)
1981
1.42 | 43 ratings
Rock N' Roll Prophet
1982
2.57 | 41 ratings
G'Olé ! (OST)
1983
2.59 | 47 ratings
Cost Of Living
1983
2.51 | 29 ratings
Crimes Of Passion (OST)
1984
3.02 | 21 ratings
Rick Wakeman, Jeff Wayne & Kevin Peek: Beyond The Planets
1984
2.33 | 38 ratings
Silent Nights
1985
3.23 | 37 ratings
Country Airs - Piano Solos
1986
3.20 | 27 ratings
The Gospels
1987
1.68 | 21 ratings
The Family Album
1987
3.33 | 43 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Ramon Remedios: A Suite Of Gods
1988
2.15 | 31 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Tony Fernandez: Zodiaque
1988
2.58 | 37 ratings
Time Machine
1988
3.50 | 26 ratings
Sea Airs
1989
2.68 | 34 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV
1989
3.15 | 24 ratings
Night Airs
1990
2.11 | 17 ratings
In The Beginning
1990
2.51 | 18 ratings
Phantom Power (OST)
1990
2.45 | 19 ratings
Aspirant Sunrise
1990
2.51 | 21 ratings
African Bach
1990
2.80 | 5 ratings
A World Of Wisdom
1991
1.90 | 25 ratings
Aspirant Sunset
1991
3.28 | 18 ratings
Aspirant Sunshadows
1991
3.21 | 28 ratings
Softsword
1991
2.40 | 32 ratings
2000 A.D. Into The Future
1991
3.00 | 16 ratings
The Classical Connection 2
1991
3.37 | 19 ratings
The Classical Connection
1991
3.48 | 24 ratings
Country Airs (1992)
1992
2.83 | 31 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.69 | 14 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman [Aka: Lure Of The Wild]
1993
2.57 | 18 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: No Expense Spared
1993
2.89 | 18 ratings
Heritage Suite
1993
3.65 | 17 ratings
Prayers
1993
3.63 | 23 ratings
Wakeman With Wakeman: Romance Of The Victorian Age
1994
3.08 | 24 ratings
Cirque Surreal
1995
3.22 | 31 ratings
The Seven Wonders Of The World
1995
2.28 | 13 ratings
Visions [Aka: Visions Of Paradise]
1995
2.93 | 19 ratings
Fields Of Green
1996
1.29 | 10 ratings
The Word And Music
1996
2.79 | 10 ratings
Orisons
1996
3.46 | 18 ratings
Can You Hear Me ?
1996
3.09 | 17 ratings
The New Gospels
1996
2.09 | 11 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Vignettes
1996
3.17 | 12 ratings
Rick & Adam Wakeman: Tapestries
1996
3.14 | 14 ratings
The Natural World Trilogy
1997
2.68 | 25 ratings
Tribute To The Beatles
1997
3.35 | 17 ratings
Themes
1998
3.52 | 153 ratings
Return To The Centre Of The Earth
1999
3.66 | 29 ratings
Rick Wakeman & Mario Fasciano: Stella Bianca Alla Corte Di Re Ferdinando
1999
2.85 | 11 ratings
Art In Music Trilogy
1999
2.29 | 22 ratings
White Rock II
1999
3.84 | 21 ratings
Preludes To A Century
2000
3.67 | 15 ratings
Chronicles Of Man
2000
3.29 | 15 ratings
Christmas Variations
2000
3.09 | 13 ratings
Morning Has Broken
2000
3.32 | 12 ratings
Classical Variations
2001
3.62 | 47 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes
2001
3.21 | 14 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 1 - The Real Lisztomania
2002
3.67 | 30 ratings
Two Sides Of Yes, Volume II
2002
2.62 | 18 ratings
Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird
2002
3.65 | 17 ratings
The Wizard And The Forest Of All Dreams
2002
3.82 | 104 ratings
Out There
2003
3.06 | 51 ratings
Retro
2006
3.25 | 27 ratings
Retro 2
2007
3.02 | 21 ratings
Always With You
2010
3.67 | 93 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
2012
3.78 | 45 ratings
The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
2016
2.00 | 3 ratings
The Rainbow Suite
2016
2.00 | 6 ratings
The Phantom Of The Opera (OST)
2017
3.36 | 25 ratings
Piano Portraits
2017
3.00 | 5 ratings
Piano Odyssey
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Red Planet
2020

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

3.73 | 348 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
1974
4.20 | 20 ratings
"The King Arthur" Concert
1976
3.52 | 30 ratings
Live At Hammersmith
1985
2.78 | 9 ratings
Unleashing the Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour
1994
2.63 | 8 ratings
Live on the Test (1976)
1994
3.08 | 7 ratings
Wakeman with Wakeman Live
1994
3.93 | 17 ratings
Rick Wakeman In Concert KBFH
1995
2.14 | 3 ratings
Almost Live in Europe
1995
3.94 | 12 ratings
The Piano Album - Live
1995
4.00 | 3 ratings
Rock & Pop Legends
1995
4.10 | 10 ratings
Simply Acoustic - The Music
1997
2.80 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Rick Wakeman (original live recordings/ 1998 Wise Buy)
1998
3.71 | 6 ratings
Live in Buenos Aires. Official Live Bootleg
1999
3.77 | 13 ratings
The Legend - Live in Concert 2000
2000
4.47 | 23 ratings
Out Of The Blue
2001
3.97 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 2 - The Oscar Concert
2002
2.50 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 3 - The Missing Half
2002
4.09 | 11 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 4 - Almost Classical
2002
3.14 | 7 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 5 - The Mixture
2002
3.88 | 8 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 6 - Medium Rare
2002
3.60 | 10 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 7 - Journey to the Centre of the Earth +
2002
2.17 | 6 ratings
Treasure Chest Volume 8 - Stories
2002
4.00 | 5 ratings
Banda Sinfonica Jovem Do Estado De São Paulo
2004
3.84 | 13 ratings
Rick Wakeman At Lincoln Cathedral
2005
3.89 | 10 ratings
Live At The BBC
2007
4.20 | 53 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace
2009
4.25 | 15 ratings
In The Nick of Time - Live In 2003
2012
4.04 | 4 ratings
Access All Areas
2015

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

4.04 | 4 ratings
Simply Acoustic (VHS)
1996
3.66 | 13 ratings
The Legend Live In Concert 2000 (aka An Evening With Rick Wakeman) (DVD)
2000
3.96 | 19 ratings
Rick Wakeman And The English Rock Ensemble: Live in Buenos Aires (DVD)
2001
3.17 | 4 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
3.46 | 29 ratings
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (DVD)
2002
3.00 | 15 ratings
Out There (DVD)
2004
3.98 | 12 ratings
Made In Cuba (DVD)
2005
3.23 | 5 ratings
Amazing Grace
2007
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Otherside of Rick Wakeman
2007
4.34 | 7 ratings
Swedish Television Special 1980
2008
3.06 | 8 ratings
Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show
2008
3.84 | 57 ratings
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD)
2009
5.00 | 4 ratings
Classical Wakeman Volume 1 - Live In Lugano
2010

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

2.20 | 33 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
3.32 | 10 ratings
The Classic Tracks
1993
2.09 | 17 ratings
Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits
1994
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Stage Collection
1994
3.00 | 4 ratings
The Private Collection
1995
4.35 | 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
3.06 | 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
2.63 | 35 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
 White Rock by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.25 | 137 ratings

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White Rock
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Agnenrecords

4 stars A family skiing holiday to La Plagne in France got me thinking about prog and snow, and apart from South Side of the Sky which relates the story of the perils of blizzard conditions, there's only one album in my record collection that really covers snow-themed activities, and that's Rick Wakeman's soundtrack to the official film of the 1976 Innsbruck winter Olympics, White Rock.

I consider this as something of a return to form for Wakeman, much better than predecessors No Earthly Connection, The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth - my problem with what is indisputably classic Wakeman is his lyric writing and use of sub- standard vocalists. The Six Wives of Henry VIII stood out because it was a fully instrumental interpretation of historic figures, with some good, wordless vocalisation from female session musicians and individual tracks which formed sonically distinct vignettes of the different wives.

Journey has a more restricted keyboard palette, though the orchestra adds appropriate colour and there are recurrent motifs throughout the whole piece that hold the concept together. However, it's the singing that lets the album down. The poor quality vocals are addressed on the 2012 studio release of Journey but the lyrics still don't stand up to scrutiny. Then there's the new Quaternary Man section, which (forgive me for saying this) I think sounds like something that could have been written for a Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. The lyrics and the singing were the main reason I didn't own a recording of Journey until the early 1990s.

I did own a copy of Myths and Legends, bought when it was released, which I thought was better than Journey. The singing was improved but the lyrics were still rather poor and, when I listened to it fairly recently, I wasn't convinced that it withstood the test of time; I wasn't really sure that it was prog. The presence of Wakeman's usual co-conspirators meant that I also didn't buy No Earthly Connection until 2017, though I jumped at the chance to see him live at Leeds University, where my brother was a student, in 1976. I remember that this gig was really enjoyable, with dry ice spilling over the stage into the audience sitting attentively on the floor and Wakeman playing some very, very low notes on his Moog that hit the resonance frequency of my internal organs. It goes without saying that the instrumental pieces were obviously the best!

White Rock wasn't Wakeman's first venture into film soundtracks. On Ken Russell's 1975 film Lisztomania he was credited with 'producer' and 'arranger' of the music and though he appears on two instrumental tracks, he has since asked that his name be removed from the credits. However, White Rock was one of the first sports films that featured rock music rather than classical music.

My favourite White Rock track provides the music to a collage of sports at the beginning of the film after James Coburn's bobsleigh run and piece to camera. This is Lax'x, which is the opener on side 2 of the original vinyl and more experimental than my next favourite, the definitive prog track Ice Run, which plays to a succession of clips of two- and four-man bobsleigh runs. The sequence of songs in the film doesn't match those on record but it doesn't matter and there are a number of snippets of music used in the film that form a sonic link between the different Olympic disciplines that don't appear on album tracks, some of which are very Yes-sounding. The title track, a 12 bar blues work-out played on Moog hardly features in the film (to clips of the Women's Slalom) and Searching for Gold is only played over the closing credits. Wakeman's sense of humour is evident, giving one track the title Montezuma's Revenge. Before seeing the film, many years after its release on late-night TV, I had no idea why a euphemism for violent food poisoning was the name of a track on an album about the winter Olympics, but the piece accompanies an explosive piece of Russian paired ice skating.

The instrumentation, keyboards and percussion (with some choral backing), maintain a narrative that works well in both cinema and audio formats. Tony Fernandez' percussion is really fitting and effectively conjures mental images of speeding blades over ice. There's a melodic keyboard motif, the 'searching for gold' riff that links the pieces together and helps to give the album a feeling of a conceptual whole but it's the full use of the range of analogue keyboards that make the album stand out from its immediate predecessors; there's a much broader range of tonality, even though there's no guitar or bass guitar.

The good form lasted for one more album, Criminal Record, recorded in Switzerland at the same time as Yes' Going for the One. This also had similarities with Six Wives, comprising six tracks loosely connected by the theme of crime and punishment and featuring his band mates Chris Squire and Alan White though it wasn't entirely instrumental, with a comic vocal provided by British comedian and ornithologist Bill Oddie on The Breathalyser. Sadly, record company interference would adversely affect Wakeman's next album, Rhapsodies, his last for the A&M label.

I know it's a soundtrack but I really enjoy White Rock so I'm giving it 4 stars

 Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Live, 1974
3.73 | 348 ratings

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Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by Mark-P

4 stars Journey to the Centre of the Earth is a live recording album by Rick Wakeman, musicalizing Jules Verne's science fiction novel of the same title. It was recorded in 1974 where he worked with his band, the London Symphony Orchestra and English Chamber Choir.

This album consists of two long tracks (21 and 18 minutes respectively) and to me is one of Rick Wakeman's finest works: passionate (and energetic ? he was 24 at that time) and wonderful compositions. The chemistry of band, orchestra and choir is excellent.

Journey / Recollection is the first track. The "overture" (if I may say) presents a very firm and glorious theme, followed by a softer tune as it introduces the characters and brings us into the story. The band did a great work in this part. Mike Egan's solo guitar really goes well with the composition. I think the band's work should be well appreciated considering their portion is somehow a bit limited in this recording (i.e. not to be compared to 1969 Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra, where the band played more equal roles to the orchestra).

The Battle / The Forest is the second track. It has higher intensity and more dominant choir. The musical adaptation of The Battle is very explicit (it musicalizes part of novel when 2 creatures from Jurassic era engaged in a battle). The Forest nicely adapts a piece of Edvard Grieg's In the Hall of Mountain King before its ending.

Overall it is a 4-star album to me. With such a strong musical composition (and presuming that most of listeners know at least a bit of this particular Jules Verne's novel) I wonder if the narration is really necessary. It could be a concept album with only musical and lyrical adaptation and let the listeners build their own imagination as the music goes.

 The Classic Tracks  by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1993
3.32 | 10 ratings

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The Classic Tracks
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by iluvmarillion

4 stars I forget when I picked up this album. It was a long time ago. While it only features three songs it has in my opinion the best recording of Journey To The Center Of The Earth, which is a little abbreviated from the originally two part work, but still runs over thirty minutes. More importantly it doesn't have the orchestra in the background to interfere with Rick's wonderful Synths. Michael Franklin's vocals are a wonderful contribution as well. To complete the album comes the best song from Six Wives Of Henry VIII, Catherine Howard and Merlin The Magician. Recommended.
 Lisztomania (OST) by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.55 | 122 ratings

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Lisztomania (OST)
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Review Nº 294

"Lisztomania" is the fourth solo studio album of Rick Wakeman and was released in 1975. It was composed to be the soundtrack of a film with the same name and that would be released by the English film director Ken Russell. It was made, supposedly, to be a filmed biography of the Hungarian classical composer, pianist, conductor and teacher Franz Liszt. However, the album was later upgraded by Wakeman as, "The Real Lisztomania". Why he did it? Because, he himself became very dissatisfied, disappointed and frustrated with the original release of the album, indeed.

As many of we know, almost of all Ken Russell's works are marked by imaginative and provocative films, almost all dedicated to the music of the great classical composers. In between, there is the rock opera "Tommy", released in 1975, with the soundtrack of the charismatic band The Who and also starring Roger Daltrey, the famous singer of the group, besides other famous artists such as Elton John, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton and even Jack Nicholson. To adapt the rock opera for the screen, Ken Russell had the famous composer and guitarist of The Who, Pete Townshend. "Tommy" has become a cult film and a favourite for critics and fans, especially in the time when it was released and directed.

Building on the success of the opera rock "Tommy", Russell joined the cast of the film and held "Lisztomania", also in the year of 1975. In short, "Lisztomania" is a musical fantasy about the life of Liszt, shown on the film as a pop star and with the role also performed by Daltrey. The soundtrack was produced and performed by Wakeman, who appears on the film acting as Thor, the god of the thunder, and there's even a cameo appearance of Ringo Starr, on the film, in the role of Pope. However, mainly due to the abuse of situations and grotesque caricatures, the film hasn't been great and was considered too outlandish, even for some Russell's fans. So, it was never able to reach the status of "Tommy".

The line up on the album is Rick Wakeman (keyboards and synthesizers), David Wilde (Liszt piano music), Roger Daltrey (vocals), Linda Lewis (vocals) and Paul Nicholas (vocals). The album had also the musical contributions from The English Rock Ensemble and from The National Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Lisztomania" is a very short album with about thirty minutes and twelve tracks. So, "Lisztomania" is a soundtrack of a Ken Russell's film featuring the music of Liszt and Wagner adapted to symphonic rock. Wakeman composed a short piece of music and added lyrics to another one. Most of the songs are sung by Daltrey and Wakeman plays Moogs, very well as ever. However, Wakeman always said that he didn't like this album, but perhaps, it will please for some of those who liked his first albums. Despite I'm not an expert on Liszt or Wagner, I only know that most of the soundtrack is based upon Wakeman's rather liberal reinvention of extracts from both composers' works. But expert or not, there is hardly even a single, even the tiniest reason on Earth, to make somebody want to go out and buy this collection of rag-taggy "musical pieces". All the actual pieces can be divided in two major groups: Wakeman fiddling around on piano solo, occasionally with a very light touch of orchestration, or Wakeman making some bombastic arrangement or other, hopping on top of a synthesizer or two and making the formerly classical composition "rock out". Group number one is more tolerable in general, but more pointless, because, like I said, I don't see any use in hearing Wakeman playing Liszt. Perhaps he would have done a better job if he just, well you know, had recorded an entire album of "Wakeman Plays Liszt". This would just look like a normal thing. And it would liberate us of the necessity to hear group number two, synthesizer-treated and at times rock-band-treated reinterpretations of Liszt and Wagner. In their banality and ugliness, these passages have nothing to do with Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Pictures At An Exhibition". The latter displayed some true creativity, innovation, improvisation and a great band playing. In short, "Pictures At An Exhibition" remains a great album, but in here, everything is a waste of time. Even Wakeman said, about this album, "It stinks".

Conclusion: "Lisztomania" is a very different album from what Wakeman made until that moment, "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". The songs aren't properly progressive and they range different styles, from classical music, ballads, pop and electronic music. I never was a big fan of film soundtracks, especially made by progressive rock bands. So, when I knew that Wakeman accepted a commission from the controversial and megalomaniac film director Russell, to produce a soundtrack for a film, I didn't expect anything good of it. All in all, "Lisztomania" isn't a bad album but isn't a good album either. It has some good musical moments but this is very short for a Wakeman's work, especially at the peak of his career. It isn't a coherent, cohesive, balanced and well constructed work. It's like more a punch of songs put together in the same bag. Even the vocal tracks, mostly sung by the living legend Daltrey, aren't always sung very well. I think it was a mistake Wakeman has accepted this lunatic commission. Anyway, he has already still recognized it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Six Wives Of Henry VIII by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.08 | 794 ratings

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The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Yes is a truly great band, and by definition, much of its greatness is a product not of the talents of its individual members, but of the synergy among them. Not surprisingly, there are only a few gems among the dozens of solo albums by Yes members, and these standouts usually include more than one member of the group; Steve Howe's Turbulence and Chris Squire's Fish out of Water are the prime examples.

Keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman is no exception; despite the participation of Howe and Squire on one track and Yes drummers Bill Bruford and Alan White across the LP, The Six Wives of Henry VII is somewhat one-dimensional when compared to contemporary Yes music. Of course it's a keyboard-driven album, but that's not the problem. The problem is that Wakeman is trying to create an album that will appeal to Yes fans without directional or compositional input from the rest of the band; furthermore he produced the album himself, whereas the recent Yes albums had been produced by in conjunction with Eddie Offord. Add to this the fact that from its first seconds, Six Wives invites comparisons to the guitar-based work of Yes, and it's clear Wakeman had a tall order to fill.

Nonetheless the album was a commercial success, making the top 10 in the UK and earning a gold certification in the US. Artistically, it was superior to Yes's own 1973 album, Tales from Topographic Oceans - - indeed Six Wives is rated higher than Tales even on progarchives.com - - but it was not an artistic triumph.

It was, however, a decent album, and the best of the Wakeman solo albums I've heard (which admittedly account for under 10% of his 90+ albums). The strengths of Six Wives are in the performances and in the overall sound of the album, both of which are fabulous. The weakness is the compositions; Six Wives reminds me of a Def Leppard album insofar as there are three or four great motifs, presented over the first five minutes, which are then reduced, reused, and recycled to comprise the rest of the record. Sufficiently clever recycling - - say, in inventive rearrangement or recapitulation - - can lend cohesion and consistency to an album. Unfortunately, that's not the kind of recycling I'm talking about here. Wakeman doesn't blatantly reuse melodies or chord sequences, but he employs a very limited palette of transitions and themes. Perhaps that's because of similarities inherent in his subject matter - - the titular Six Wives. Whatever the reason, a monotony sets in far too soon for my taste.

It might be observed that it would've been pointless for Wakeman to produce a Yes album on his own, and I fully agree. In fact, I admire Wakeman's drive and resourcefulness in producing a solo album this early in his career,* and judged on its own merits, Six Wives is a pretty good debut. I do wish, though, that he had held on to his key motifs for a few months and submitted them to the other members of Yes when the group was composing Tales from Topographic Oceans.

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*He had recorded one previous album, Piano Vibrations, as a soloist, but arguably it wasn't a "solo album."

 The Theme From Lytton's Diary by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1985
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Theme From Lytton's Diary
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Database

The Theme From Lytton's Diary is a double A-sided 7" single released in 1985 containing two non-album tracks that Rick Wakeman recorded for the TV programme Lytton's Diary. I have never seen the series, but it ran for two seasons in the mid-1980's. To my knowledge these rare tracks have never been released on CD, but both of them can be listened to on YouTube.

The first track, The Theme From Lytton's Diary, is an up-tempo instrumental in Wakeman's characteristic style. The other track, Database, also an instrumental, slows things down a little bit, but is of equally high standard. Both tracks compare very favourably to the music that appeared on Wakeman's full-length albums from around the same time. It is unclear which other musicians were involved in the recordings, but there are drums and bass backing up Wakeman's keyboards. My guess is that Tony Fernandez was involved.

For fans of Wakeman, these tracks are well worth seeking out.

 G'Olé ! (OST) by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.57 | 41 ratings

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G'Olé ! (OST)
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm going to start off this review by stating that it will not be a very long one and that has only to do with the musical content of this album. I choose to regard this review as merely a way to put forth a slice of cold facts and not much more. I think that's fair.

Secondly, I adore Rick Wakeman. He possesses a keyboardistic flare that is largely unchallenged. He is, in fact, The keeper of the keys. Also, he's been extremely productive throughout his career. The man has dipped his toes into everything from complex, challenging progressive (as in Yes), produced some of the most brilliant concept albums of all time (Journey to the centre of the Earth, for example), written scores and soundtracks for movies and made (all too many) new age and easy listening albums (if you ask me). So, in the bewildering jungle of music made by this man, where does "G'Ol'" fit in?

Just to make things clear: you will not, I repeat NOT, find any challenging progressive rock on this album. No, it is not the sequel to "Close to the edge", nor is it "The six wives of Henry II, pt. II" either. You have to remember that this is a soundtrack for the film about the 1982 world cup. The problem with soundtracks, or maybe I should say a plausible problem, is that soundtracks most of the time works perfectly in its setting, where the footage is enhanced by scary music or majestic pomp. Thusly realized you are stuck with an album that outside its pictorial empire falls rather flat or at least fails to reach the heights of so many other albums by monsigneur Wakeman. It lacks a certain something, like a pizza without the dough or a steamboat without an engine.

Now, that is not to say that this is a bad album. It's not. It holds many a trademark by the master. His keyboard wizardry is ther to be found and some tracks (Shadows, Frustration and G'Ol') are great little numbers, slightly progressive in flavor but colored by the time in which it was written. I have not seen the movie but I suppose the images goes splendidly together with the music.

So, an odd but entertaining album suited for days of doing nothing special. Put it on and I bet you'll feel amusement and pleasure. You will not, however, be shipped off to the galaxy of interstellar prog where the complexity and musical density transforms your soul. That will not happen.

 After The Ball - The Collection by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
5.00 | 1 ratings

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After The Ball - The Collection
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

— First review of this album —
5 stars "THE ULTIMATE VINTAGE KEYBOARD EXTRAVAGANZA!"

For me the colouring with vintage keyboards is an essential part of the Classic Prog era: Mike Pinder's Mellotron in The Moody Blues, the soaring Hammond organ in Procol Harum their sound, early King Crimson with legendary use of the Mellotron, Rick Wright and his Farfisa organ in the psychedelic Pink Floyd era, Keith Emerson with his sensational Moog modular synthesizer sound, Tony Banks and his ARP Pro Solist synthesizer flights in 73-77 Genesis. And, last but not least, Rick Wakeman , he epitomizes the ultimate vintage keyboard sound in the Seventies, from the Moog, Mellotron and Hammond to the Hohner clavinet, Steinway Grand piano and Fender Rhodes electric piano, it's on his awesome list! I am a huge fan of his work with Yes in the Seventies (except the boring TFTO) and his early solo work, layered with varied vintage keyboards and showcasing his jawdropping skills. I consider this this comprehensive compilation CD as an excellent start to discover the exciting world of Rick Wakeman solo in the Seventies.

It spans the era from his outstanding and highly acclaimed first studio-album The Six Wives Of Henry VIII (1973) until his seventh effort, the disappointing Rhapsodies (1979). On this CD compilation Rick Wakeman not only shines with his keyboard wizardy, but also as a composer: he writes very melodic and harmonic music with flowing shifting moods, embellished with his wide range of keyboards. The one moment dreamy atmospheres with tender Grand piano or soaring Mellotron (wonderful interlude with violins section in Catherine Howard). The other moment swinging rhythms with Hammond and clavinet or sumptuous eruptions with sensational work on the Minimoog (in Anna Boleyn). A strong element is the contrast between the sparkling Grand piano runs and the fat Minimoog synthesizer flights (in Catherine Of Aragon), emphasizing the happy marriage between classical and symphonic rock in his music.

We can also enjoy work from his legendary and commercially very succesful album Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, featuring two live tracks.

Medley: The Journey / Recollection : the atmospheres are between bombastic with a choir and dreamy with warm vocals, the spectacular Minimoog sound is omnipresent).

The Battle : this song delivers a swinging rhythm, a choir singing "crocodile teeth, lizard head", duo-vocals and the distinctive Hohner clavinet, a captivating blend of classic and symphonic rock. To be honest, I miss the rest of the album, it's an 'incomplete musical experience' to listen to only a part of that exciting concept album.

A 'trademark Rick Wakeman Seventies solo album composition' is Arthur: an orchestra with a strong brass sound, a propulsive and fluent rhythm-section and strong interplay between the orchestra, a choir and Wakeman (with spectacular work on the Minimoog).

In Merlin The Magician our Caped Crusader delivers his most fat sounding Minimoog flights I have ever heard, how exciting, in a swinging rhythm and duelling with the cheerful honky-tonk piano. The climate ranges from dreamy with a female choir to bombastic, this is top notch Rick Wakeman solo!

One of the few songs with vocals is the alternating Prisoner, wonderfully coloured with Mellotron flute and violins, electric harpsichord and a church organ, the slightly raw vocals match good with the varied music.

One of my favourite Rick Wakeman solo tracks is the swinging White Rock featuring dazzling Minimoog runs, I love the bombastic atmosphere and Wakeman his virtuosic and sensational Minimoog play.

Between all the bombastic and swinging tracks After The Ball is an oasis of silence, with its romantic climate: tender classical piano, soft Minimoog flights and soaring Mellotron violins, wonderful!

Remarkable in the three tracks from his masterpiece Criminal Record (1977) is the awesome rhythm-section, this is the duo Chris Squire and Alan White (in that time Wakeman had rejoined Yes and everybody was happy and enthusiastic about the triumphant return with GFTO). We can enjoy Emersonian Grand piano runs and great work on the Moog and Hammond in Statue Of Justice, a captivating tension between the tender Grand piano and bombastic Hammond and Moog in the varied Crimes Of Passion and sensational Minimoog flights in Chamber Of Horrors.

The final track on this compilation is a beauty, the dreamy The Palais featuring a solo piece on the Grand piano, from tender to sparkling, Rick Wakeman in his full splendor as a classically trained musician!

This is the best you can get if you like Old School keyboard driven prog, "no fillers, all killers!"

 The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.57 | 477 ratings

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The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 160

'The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table' is the second studio album of Rick Wakeman and was released in 1975. As his previous studio album 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII', this is also another very ambitious and risky conceptual album, but this time it's based on the legends of King Arthur and The Round Table. Once more he chooses the history of his country England, but if in the first time the characters were real persons who lived in the sixteenth century, this time the characters were mythical and supposedly lived in the twelfth century. Many of the characters that existed in the Arthurian legendary myth are present on the album, such as King Arthur, Lady Of The Lake, Guinevere, Sir Lancelot, The Black Knight, Merlin The Magician, Sir Galahad and of course Excalibur, the famous and legendary sword of King Arthur, the king of the knights of the round table, the mythical king of England.

The most interesting and curious fact about this work, is that much of this album was written while Wakeman, at 25 years old, was recovering from his first of three minor heart attacks at Wexham Park Hospital. Imagine that even after a cardiologist advised him to stop playing and retire to rest, he ignored it and wrote the final musical piece of the album 'The Last Battle', on the same night. Now, it's interesting to think that thankfully he didn't fulfil that order of his doctor.

'The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table' has seven tracks and all the songs were written by Wakeman. The first track 'Arthur' is a solid opener for the album. This is probably the most consensual and accessible song on the album and is also probably the most known too. It's a very beautiful melodic song where the music flows perfectly well with excellent combination of keyboards, orchestration and choral section. This is one of my favourite songs on the album. The second track 'Lady Of The Lake' is a very brief but at the same time pretty choral piece of music with a nice piano melody which is a kind of an introduction to the next song. The third track 'Guinevere' is another very accessible song with a strong and pretty melody, good acoustic guitar rhythm, good keyboard work and an excellent choral work too. However and despite be a very good song this is my less favourite track on the album. The fourth track 'Sir Lancelot And The Black Knight' is, in my humble opinion and without any doubt, one of the highest moments on the album. This is a very powerful and energetic song that creates within us a kind of an imaginary world. It's a song full of variations with a fantastic keyboard work and contains one of the best solos ever written by Wakeman. This is also a song with great orchestral arrangements followed by fantastic and energetic choirs and also has a great rhythm section on the background. It's an incredible song that reminds me, very strongly, the ambience of the great rock operas. This represents Wakeman at his best. The fifth track 'Merlin The Magician' is also a song full of musical changes. This is an instrumental track, another highlight, and is also one of my favourite songs. It begins with the reprise from the second track 'Lady Of The Lake' and continues with a great and beautiful keyboard work, pretty piano melodies and a nice bass line. This is the song most diverse on the album with some transition musical pieces with several musical styles. This is a song with everything on it. It's at the same time beautiful, insane and genial. Once more we have Wakeman at his best with one of his best compositions ever. The sixth track 'Sir Galahad' is another very good song that also begins with the reprise of 'Lady Of The Lake' and that combines nice melody, beautiful choirs, good vocals, great keyboard work and an excellent orchestral arrangement, as is always usual on the all album. This song makes a kind of a link to the next track. Despite be another great track it isn't as good as the two previous ones. The seventh and last track 'The Last Battle' is clearly an epic track and where we can hear themes from the other songs of the album. We can consider that this track summarizes the music on the all album incorporating excerpts of the other previous tracks. This is also a great song and a perfect and logical way to finish this very special album.

Conclusion: I've no doubt in saying this is another very controversial album. We may be able to consider that this is a kind of 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' of Wakeman. This is very interesting and curious because he was the only member of Yes who criticized 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' as a bombastic and megalomaniac musical project, and that fact produced his first departure from the band. However, I've no problem with bombastic and megalomaniac musical projects, if they're great, which is the case of 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' one of my favourite albums of Yes. But, 'The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table' isn't a masterpiece as 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' or 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII', but nevertheless, is an excellent album. It isn't as uniform, cohesive and balanced as they are, but it has some tracks like 'Sir Lancelot And The Black Night' and 'Merlin The Magician' that are authentic musical pearls and that represent some of the best musical compositions of Wakeman.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Two Sides Of Yes by WAKEMAN, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.62 | 47 ratings

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Two Sides Of Yes
Rick Wakeman Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Originally released as two separate volumes in 2001 and 2002, 2016 saw a reissue of both sets as a double CD set (missing only a 'bonus' video which was originally on Volume 1). The reason it is indicated as 'Two Sides' is not for the number of discs, but rather there are two totally different approaches to the music contained within. Some of the interpretations feature just Rick on piano, while others feature Alan Thomson on bass and long-time collaborator Tony Fernandez on drums. Now, I have been a fan of both Wakeman and Yes for well over forty years and have managed to see both in concert twice, although unfortunately not on the same stage at the same time. To me this is a lost opportunity, in that the band versions don't always add a great deal to the original, and sometimes are less. The first time I played Rick's version of 'Going For The One' I straight afterwards went to the original and played them back to back, with Rick's sadly lacking in comparison.

But, they are pleasant enough even if they're not essential, but the piano pieces are a revelation. Here classic numbers have been stripped, and then provided with totally new arrangements yet still staying true to the original. These are superb, and if these two discs were comprised solely of Rick providing piano variations of classic Yes numbers that this would be essential. As it stands, it is interesting to those like me who have followed both careers with interest for longer than they would really like to admit, but not as important as it could be.

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

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